Students, supporters gather at the B.C. Legislature on Friday, March 15 for Student Strike 4 Climate. (Keri Coles/News Staff)

Vancouver Island youth strike for their future as part of global movement

Group calls on governments to divest from fossil fuels

Following the lead of Swedish youth climate activist Greta Thunberg, hundreds of students skipped school Friday to hold a climate strike in Victoria.

The mobilization is part of a sustained campaign by youth to put pressure on adults, governments and corporations to divest from fossil fuels and invest in post-carbon, renewable energy infrastructure.

“If we do not take bold action, within 10 years we will witness catastrophic changes to the planet’s weather patterns, cataclysmic damage to biodiversity and life-sustaining ecosystems, more frequent and intense hurricanes, wildfires, coastal flooding, droughts, leading to mass human displacement, droughts and starvation,” said strike organizer Antonia Paquin.

RELATED: Victoria youth skip school for climate strike

The group is calling for the Canadian and B.C. governments to halt the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, Canada LNG and all other new fossil fuel projects. They also want to see government legislate “an immediate ban on industrial logging of the last ancient temperate rain forests on Vancouver Island.”

The strike – co-sponsored by Youth For Climate, the Social and Environmental Alliance, Our Earth, our Future and Rise and Resist – was held at the B.C. legislature with local and international speakers and a musical performance from recording artist Luke Wallis.

The Greater Victoria Teachers Association officially endorsed the global student climate strike and released a teacher from each of the seven local high schools from work to participate, as well as a number of members of the executive committee.

RELATED: School students to strike with walkout starting at the legislature

“We must meet the scientific timelines of the recent 2018 report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as well as the agreements made in Paris in 2015,” said event organizers.

The report by the IPCC, released in October, outlines the drastic measures needed to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 C – the rate that will substantially reduce the risks and effects of climate change.

The report said meeting the ambitious goal “would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.”

Paquin added, “all of the scientific reports indicate that we may not have a future. We are panicking and we would like for you to start panicking too.”


 

keri.coles@blackpress.ca

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Students, supporters gather at the B.C. Legislature on Friday, March 15 for Student Strike 4 Climate. (Keri Coles/News Staff)

Students, supporters gather at the B.C. Legislature on Friday, March 15 for Student Strike 4 Climate. (Keri Coles/News Staff)

Students, supporters gather at the B.C. Legislature on Friday, March 15 for Student Strike 4 Climate. (Keri Coles/News Staff)

Students, supporters gather at the B.C. Legislature on Friday, March 15 for Student Strike 4 Climate. (Keri Coles/News Staff)

Students, supporters gather at the B.C. Legislature on Friday, March 15 for Student Strike 4 Climate. (Keri Coles/News Staff)

Students, supporters gather at the B.C. Legislature on Friday, March 15 for Student Strike 4 Climate. (Keri Coles/News Staff)

Students, supporters gather at the B.C. Legislature on Friday, March 15 for Student Strike 4 Climate. (Keri Coles/News Staff)

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