Many scientists have warned that the human race has just 12 years left to clean up its act in regards to climate change or face global catastrophe, so a youth group from the Cowichan Valley is grabbing the issue by the horns.
The Cowichan Valley chapter of Earth Guardians, a youth-lead international organization working to help preserve and protect the planet and its inhabitants, will lead a Youth Climate Strike for Action on May 17 in Duncan City Square.
Organizer Sierra Robinson, 16, said the plan is for local youth, students, families, and adult supporters to march and strike for action on climate change at the event, which will run from noon to 1:30 p.m.
“We get some backlash by people who say we’re too young to be dealing with these issues, but we’ve come to the conclusion that the older generations are not doing enough,” she said.
“It’s our future that’s at stake and we should be included in discussions and decisions on climate change. It’s a scary issue and we want people of all ages to step up everywhere and be heard. We want to see a switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy and also want the voting age lowered to 16.”
Robinson said there was a worldwide youth climate strike held in many countries around the globe on May 3, including in Victoria, but it was Pro-D day in the Cowichan Valley’s schools so the Valley’s Earth Guardians decided to host the strike on May 17 here.
The strikes were inspired by the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who started the School Strike for Climate in August, 2018.
“We can’t strike if there’s no school,” she said.
“Walking out of class is part of the message. Why should students study for a future that’s not going to be healthy and secure? However, we want the event to be intergenerational and we’re hoping to get out as many people out as we can.”
Robinson said there will be music, a sign-making table, art, and youth speakers at the event, and hopes are high that some local politicians will also participate.
“It will be a light-hearted and fun event, but its purpose is to highlight the very scary issue of climate change,” she said.