The video above is the last of 24 hourly videos made by the organizers of Project Beginning, which staged a 24-hour sit-in at LVR on Monday. The event was in support of climate action and the LEAP Manifesto, a national declaration that lays out a vision for transforming away from fossil fuels.
The hourly videos, each only a few minutes long, show the organizers — Gillian Wiley, Quinn Barron, Sage Cowan, and others — answering a specific question each hour of the sit-in. Examples: What is your vision of the Canada you want for your children? How did you first react to learning about climate change? Do your parents support you being involved with this event? If you could implement any climate policy, what would it be? How does climate change make you feel? Who is your climate inspiration?
Sage Cowan, Quinn Barron and Gillian Wiley (all photos by Bill Metcalfe)
All of the videos can be found on YouTube and on the Project Beginning Facebook page.
The sit-in included conversations, workshops, and speakers, and had the blessing of the school administration. It echoes a fictional sit-in for climate action in LVR hallways portrayed in The Change Agents, a feature film produced by LVR teacher Robyn Sheppard’s theatre classes several years ago.
The Nelson Star visited LVR on Monday afternoon and talked to Gillian, Sage, and Quinn. They were excited about a phone conversation they’d just had with a former LVR student.
Gillian: We were just on a phone call with Zoe Caron. She’s graduate of LVR and she is an environmental advisor to Justin Trudeau and she is currently in meetings with him and the premiers in Vancouver to talk about climate change. She took the time out her busy day to talk to us about the sit-in and what we are doing and it was really cool.
Sage: She was really supportive and she said it was so amazing that we had this going, and that when she was in high school no one even knew about climate change and we have 70 or 80 students sitting down with you in solidarity.
Gillian: We asked her what can we do, and she said do little things in your school, and old fashioned letter writing…
Quinn: And meet with your MP but also don’t wait on the slow processes of government. Take your own initiative and make a difference in your community and your school and that will make all the difference.
Nelson Star: How many people stayed overnight?
Gillian: We had about fifty people.
Nelson Star: How many did you expect?
Sage: We expected about 20. We were very surprised and so touched that so many people wanted to sit with us.
Nelson Star: What was it like, overnight?
Gillian: Overnight we had all these lamps so it was very chilled out and everyone was getting to know each other.
Quinn: And I stayed up all night because we are doing a video every hour. So it was a long night but a great night for personal reflection.
Sage: It was very rewarding.
Gillian: We got here at about ten o’clock and were setting up and then at midnight we were all standing and milling around and when the clock struck midnight we all sat down and reflected for two minutes on why we were here. And I think that’s the most important part: we started on the leap day, an extra day, and we we are going to sit and think about what we are doing here.
Nelson Star: How engaged in the issue are most of the students?
Quinn: I think all the people who were here overnight were really engaged.
Sage: Some of the people coming and going today are less engaged, but they are learning from the kids who are more engaged.
Gillian: We are asking them questions, like why are you here, what do you think is the most important part of the Leap Manifesto, and things like that. We are asking ourselves and we are asking them.
Nelson Star: Did you get much scepticism?
Quinn: We have been getting a little, but today it has been quite positive, but have in the past and when we have been planning events.
Sage: But for the most part everyone has been incredibly supportive.
Gillian: The students are supportive, the administration are supportive, the people in the community have been supportive, we have people bringing us food, we have speakers from the community who will be speaking this afternoon.
Quinn: The students have been supportive by coming to our event and committing.
Nelson Star: Did you sleep?
Gillian: A little. Quinn didn’t sleep.
Nelson Star: You guys don’t seem tired at all, in fact you seem quite lively, but maybe it’s adrenalin.
Gillian: Yes, we are in a surreal state right now.
Nelson Star: Is there anything you want to add?
Gillian: This is an issue that can make you feel like the future is futile, it can make you feel like everything is hopeless, but when I look around and see that I am inheriting the earth with these people who are sitting here, it makes me so hopeful. That is what I take away from this event.
Sage: Me too.
Quinn: It makes me see it as an opportunity more than anything else, to change our world for the better in so many ways, not just in fixing the climate but making our society better.