Students took their message to the streets on Friday.
They were conducting a peaceful demonstration supporting an initiative known as “Fridays for Future,” which was started by teen climate activist Greta Thunberg of Sweden. This initiative is meant to shed light on the issue of climate change, and how it is affecting the world.
“All our teachers have been really positive,” said Grace MacLean, a North Nova Education student who participated in the event which was held on East River Road. MacLean and her yoga class made signs and spent their class time that day protesting and bringing awareness to climate issues.
Although a culture of environmental activism is not a big part of their school life, MacLean added that she is hoping that this will change and more people will start discussing it. Along with the protest, classrooms in the school also spent an hour with the lights off Friday afternoon to promote conservation and support the anti-climate change movement.
In Pictou, about 50 people gathered on the waterfront where they signed a petition calling for government to take action on environmental issues that they then took to Pictou West MLA Karla MacFarlane’s office.
Speaking on behalf of the Pictou County Fridays for Future, Keeley Shipley said, “We are a youth organized group that demands that governments recognize the climate crisis we’re currently in and that adults use their voting power to do something about it.” The Grade 10 Northumberland Regional High School student said in the past couple of years “there has been a lot of climate change and we really want government to start recognizing that.”
West Pictou Consolidated School’s Hannah Fleury, Grade 4, had no problem addressing the crowd and offered wise words from a young mind.
“Reduce, reuse and recycle are important but we also need to refuse. Refuse to buy new clothes, single-use plastic … and simply eat all the food you buy, stop wasting! Be an example for adults. We need to change the way we think about how things cost, not how much money but how much carbon.”
She became interested in conservation last summer after going to marine biology camp. It was here, she said, where she was awakened to the fact that the ocean is in real danger. “And if the ocean is in danger the world is in danger.”
The 10-year-old cautioned, “We have 10 years to cut CO2 by 50 per cent or it will cause a chain reaction that will lead to the end of the world as we know it. Ten years is not a long time and we are wasting time every day with our inaction.”
Fleury said the prime minister needs to declare a National Climate Emergency and jump into action.
“We need to keep the climate crisis on the front page so it cannot be ignored any longer.”
North Nova Education Centre students on East River Road in New Glasgow. (Brimicombe photo)
Students gathered on the Pictou waterfront to sign a petition calling for government to act on climate change. Among those signing are, from the left: Hannah Fleury, Anna Hewey, Lilah Ross, Ocean Allan (back), Keeley Shipley, Rory Thompson, Yula Irons and Sara Dedekhani. (Jardine photo)