Letter: youth climate strikers want their future protected

Local youth picketed city hall on Friday May 3

We are involved in planning the area’s next school climate strike, which will be held on Friday from 12 to 2:30 in front of Nelson City Hall. The school strike is inspired by Greta Thunberg and the Fridays for Future movement. Millions of students all over the world are striking as a way to demand climate action. The first Nelson strike on March 4 had a turnout of around 300 students, and we are expecting even more this time.

The reasons for striking are clear; we want elected leaders to listen to the science and take real action towards creating a sustainable future.

We students are asking that everything necessary is done at all levels of government so that we can keep global warming below 1.5 degrees by 2040. Current targets do not reflect the urgency of this crisis, and little progress is being made to even meet those weak targets.

Transportation is the biggest source of our community’s emissions. We want more funding invested in the public transportation system, as a way to minimize the number of vehicles on the road.

We have noticed a significant lack of awareness of the climate crisis in our schools and communities. By striking, we aim to create awareness about the urgency of climate change.

We also ask for better community education so we can work together to rapidly reduce our emissions.

After the last strike, some people responded that this was an excuse for students to skip school. We are not striking to cause trouble, and we are not striking simply to skip class. In reality, we are doing this to protect our future and the future of everyone on the planet.

The current trajectory is catastrophic, and we are all at risk if no action is taken. Why study for the future when you don’t know if it will exist? Students are not climate scientists, and we don’t have all the answers, but we do know that climate change needs to be addressed yesterday.

As Greta says, “We live in a strange world where children must sacrifice their own education in order to protest against the destruction of their future.”

Michael Penner, Jade Osecki, Daniel Reilly, Alyssa Taburiaux, Daniela Sirois, Wa-ya Aeon

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