In a long line beside the highway in front of Nelson City Hall, kids chanted and waved signs at passing vehicles.
“If you don’t start acting like adults, we will!”
“We only have one Earth so don’t mess it up!”
From just behind that exuberant line, their parents watched, protective but standing back.
Jen Arrowsmith is the mother of a 10 year old holding a sign.
“I am here in tears,” she told the Star, “about what may or may not be our children’s future. It is very powerful for me to see them here. It’s so important for the sake of their future that their voices be heard.”
Nicole Charlwood is the mother of an 11 year old, also waving a sign.
“I have not put any pressure on these kids,” she said. “This is a self-motivated event for them, and to just be able to show up in support of them, that is very moving for me.”
Members of the Nelson Police Department and the event’s organizers estimated 1,000 people of all ages gathered in front of city hall Friday for the youth-organized climate strike, mirroring similar events around the world.
There were very few speeches, lots of creative signs, live music, intense conversations, some climate chanting and singing, then a march down Vernon Street and back up Baker Street.
Jade Osecki, 16, one of the organizers of the climate strike, was impressed by the inter-generational nature of the crowd.
“The organizers have been the teenagers and students,” she said, “but there are younger kids here and they are just as interested. And there are all these adults and seniors, people from every demographic.”
She said it was an emotional day.
“Emotions are running high for a lot of people here today, feeling relief that something is happening and frustration from wanting more. People are feeling hope they have not had in a long time. People having all these feelings brings the community together, talking about it, and all these people talking about it will push out into the rest of the community in the future weeks.
“So often, people think they can’t do anything because they are alone. But in events like this, they are not alone.”
All photos below by Bill Metcalfe