I am very inspired by Greta Thunberg. She’s the 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist who sat, alone, on the cobblestones of the Swedish parliament one Friday last August, demanding action on climate change. She’s sat there almost every Friday since — in rain, sun, ice and snow — inspiring a worldwide movement of student action.
Last December saw the first such student action here in Vancouver. We’re about to see more. This coming Friday, March 15, is the Global Student Strike for Climate. This will be an international event with students around the world and their supporters striking from school and taking action to demand that governments address the crisis of climate change. Students in Victoria, Vancouver and even Whistler are joining the action.
March 15, Sustainabiliteens Vancouver is hosting the local action at Jack Poole Plaza starting at 12 Noon. Victoria’s rally also starts at Noon at the Legislative Buildings. At Whistler, meet at 9:30 a.m. at Olympic Plaza, then march to municipal hall. (Connect with #schoolstrike4climate, #ClimateStrike, #FridaysForFuture or the Wilderness Committee for more info.)
It’s so inspiring to witness young people taking action. Scientists from the 195 member-countries on the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently issued a dire warning telling us the clock is ticking: We only have 12 years left to take very dramatic steps to reduce greenhouse gases if we are to keep global temperature rise to 1.5–2 degrees C. The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, an international research institute, along with its allies issued a report two weeks ago concluding that if we are to keep to the 1.5-degree target of the Paris Agreement, people in developed countries like ours will have to reduce their individual carbon emissions by 80-90 percent!
This means tinkering at the edges won’t do. Even the province of BC’s new Clean BC plan, with targets of a 40 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 2007 levels by 2030, and bigger cuts by 2040 and 2050, is woefully inadequate. I was therefore quite disappointed to witness Andrew Weaver’s Green Party giving it such strong support.
Let’s hope that with young people leading the way, the rest of society will follow and immediately recognize the dire crisis we are facing and take very significant steps now to avert what looks like a pending disaster. I hope to see you on the streets on Friday!
Student Strike for Climate statement for adult allies: “How can you help us?”