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Local students to stage second school walkout to raise climate change awareness

In just over 10 days, students from local schools are staging a second school strike to raise awareness over climate change. — Submitted photo

Local students are once again stepping up to the climate change plate by hosting its second school strike in two months Friday, May 3rd from noon to 2:30 p.m. in front of Nelson City Hall.

On March 4, more than 200 students attended the first school strike inspired by Swedish student Greta Thunberg and the Fridays for Future movement.

“The reasons for striking are clear,” said Jade Osecki, a Grade 10 students at L.V. Rogers High School in Nelson. “We want elected leaders at all levels of government to listen to the science and take real action towards creating a sustainable future.”

Daniela Sirois Ennis, a Grade 10 student at WE Graham, said students are urging governments to listen to the cause so that the world population can keep global warming below 1.5 degrees.

“This means we have to cut carbon pollution by 45% by 2030,” said Sirois Ennis. “We need leaders to set valiant goals that will be put into action immediately.”

The March event was organized by Sirois Ennis and Selkirk College student Alyssa Taburiaux, who wanted the opportunity for local youth to inform the establishment youth are upset with leaders’ inaction on climate change.

“Locally, transportation is our biggest source of emissions,” said Taburiaux, who is involved in a task force to assess public transit. “More funding invested in the public transportation system is a way to minimize the number of vehicles on the road.”

The other main focus of the strike is to create awareness about the urgency of climate change.

“Currently, there is a lack of public education about climate change -- in schools and communities,” said Michael Penner, a Grade 9 student at Mount Sentinel Secondary.

Students were criticized, before and after, the March event for skipping school by some people on social media. Sirois Ennis said school is a priority and she is not attending school strikes to skip class.

“I am going because we youth need our voices to be heard, and we need our leaders to feel the sense of urgency we feel in regard to our future,” she said. 

Greta Thunberg said we live in a strange world where children must sacrifice their own education in order to protest against the destruction of their future. The local youth organizers agree.

“Why study for the future when you don't know if it will exist,” said Penner.

“Students are not climate scientists, and we don’t have all the answers,” adds Osecki. “But we do know that climate change needs to be addressed yesterday.”

Adult supporters are welcome to attend, but this is a youth-focused event. An open mic for youth will be available after a march. Creative and colourful signs are encouraged.