Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has set a 90-day time limit for making a decision on how to move forward with climate change, and L.V. Rogers students are planning a 24-hour sit-in to “create youth voice on the subject.”
“We’re in support of the Leap Manifesto, which came out in September and was released by environmental experts like Naomi Klein and David Suzuki,” Star columnist and student Gillian Wiley told principal Tim Huttemann during a Wednesday afternoon meeting.
“We’re the future voters of Canada, so we need to get our word in.”
Students plan to sit in the hallways from 12 p.m. on February 29 to 12 a.m. on March 1. Wiley called it “an auspicious day,” since they’re going to be talking about the Leap Manifesto on a leap day.
“We’re going to get in touch with other schools like Mount Sentinel,” Quinn Barron said. “We’re going to see if they’re willing to sit down in their own halls to show solidarity.”
And Sage Cowan added they’re also looking for support from parents, teachers and the community.
“If they want to join us for the sit-in, or even just express support on social media, that would be great,” she said.
They’re planning appearances from speakers, workshops and events intended to educate the school population.
“We want it to be more than one day of demonstration. We want to build on this to create more sustainability in our school and to create more green initiatives. Overall the value is we’re going to be educating ourselves, the other kids, and there’s nothing more important than that,” said Wiley.
Huttemann was enthusiastic about the idea. His first question: “We can help by?”
“Media attention is wanted but that’s not our main focus,” said Wiley. “We want to educate ourselves and the people around us.”
Cowan said many youth aren’t “educated enough on this issue, even though this is the most important issue of our time.”
“I think this is an amazing idea because kids are showing leadership,” Huttemann said, after approving the plan. “It will present challenges, like we’ll need to tell our custodians there will be students in the halls for 24 hours, but we already told them we’d support them in creating a logo and getting some t-shirts made.”
Similar initiatives are developing across the Kootenay Lake school district, including at Mount Sentinel.
“Everyone’s been talking about the new government and how exciting it is,” Huttemann said. “Now it’s time to hold them accountable, and these students are going to be holding the government’s feet to the fire — which I think is so cool.”