The impacts of the climate crisis are everywhere.
Smoke and wildfires in B.C., the burning of the Amazon and African rainforests, record ice melt in Greenland, heat spikes in Nunavut and the hottest and driest average global temperatures recorded in history in July.
These are just some of the events that have motivated students to mobilize around the world. Inspired by 16-year old Greta Thunberg from Sweden, millions of youth are urging the world to wake up.
On Sept. 20, starting at 10:30 a.m., Fridays For Future: Nelson is hosting the largest general strike for the climate in the city’s history. This strike is to kick off the world’s first week-long Global General Climate Strike. Taking place in over 171 countries from Sept. 20 to 27, youth are calling on adults and the working force of this planet to join them in demanding legitimate climate action.
“We are not equipped or prepared for the unpredictable implications of this crisis, but together we are more than capable of adjusting course and mitigating and managing what is to come,” said youth striker Jade Osecki, 16, an L.V. Rogers Secondary School student.
Local youth are asking the community to take action by joining them at the strike, which begins at 10:30 a.m. at Nelson City Hall.
A march down Baker Street to gather attention and momentum by those not in attendance will take place at noon. People are encouraged to bring colourful signs. When everyone gets back from the march, there will be an open mic, educational workshops and live music.
“We will be collaborating with a number of organizations from around the area to educate, inform and direct the energy and efforts of those in attendance. To maximize our chances of ensuring a future, we need you to join us,” said Michael Penner, 15, from Mount Sentinel Secondary School.
To end the day off everyone is invited to join in at a family friendly dance party starting at 7 p.m.
“I am most excited about the dance party,” said Alyssa Taburiaux, a student at Selkirk College. “Imagine the incredible future and vibrant, cohesive, healthy community we can build if we all focused our energy together. Imagine how powerful it will be to have all these different businesses, organizations, youth and Nelson residents join together for one cause. What we can accomplish is limitless.”
The strike also marks the start of several activities over a week. Those include:
Sept. 21: Climate Action for Peace is the theme of this year’s International Day of Peace event, at 1 p.m. in the Nelson Rotary Shelter in Lakeside Park, hosted by KAIROS, an interfaith group that works for environmental justice in Canada and the world, and KRUNA (Kootenay Region United Nations Association). The event has a focus on education and opportunities for action, and includes speakers, music, and dance.
Sept. 22: Climate vigil, hosted by Nelson Interfaith Climate Action Collaborative, Nelson United Church (602 Silica St.), 7 p.m. All are welcome.
Sept. 24: Shifting to Solutions: How to have meaningful conversations about climate change. Do you find it difficult to talk about the climate crisis with friends and family? At this event, hosted by Citizens’ Climate Lobby, you will be introduced to communication techniques that help connect and engage on this urgent, but sometimes overwhelming topic. You will also be presented with a few ways to delve deeper. St. Saviour’s Anglican Church (701 Ward St.) 7 to 8:30 p.m. Free or by donation.
Sept. 25: Federal all candidates reverse forum (Kootenay-Columbia riding) is hosted by Nelson at its Best, 7 to 9 p.m., Nelson United Church (Lower Hall), 602 Silica St. This forum is “reverse” because the public is given a chance to speak while candidates listen around key federal-related social issues affecting our community, including the climate crisis. Other topics include strengthening health care, poverty and inequality, First Nations/Truth and Reconciliation, and economic development and technological disruption.
Sept. 28: Grief, Grit and Gratitude – Developing Climate Change Resilience is a workshop that offers an opportunity for expressing and normalizing the many emotions which can arise from the climate crisis: grief, shock, anger, guilt, etc. This will be a focused time within a safe space to anchor our connection with what deeply matters within ourselves and with the world we care about. Taghum Hall, 1 to 4 p.m. Pre-registration required: http://bit.ly/grief-grit-gratitude. Suggested donation: $10 to $25 (students free).