Revelstoke’s third rally for climate change, a part of the Fridays for Future movement, boasted the largest turn out yet. Students from multiple schools made the trip down in their lunch break. Community leaders, from several city councillors to the districts superintendent of schools Mike Hooker, as well as various adults, were there to lend their voice and support to the students.
“I feel like we need to take responsibility for what is happening,” says grade 10 student Sarah Sovina. “A lot of people will post climate change images to their instagram, which is great for awareness, but they aren’t actually doing anything to make a change. This is a good chance for us to start doing something about it.”
Her friends Samantha, Jay, Isabelle, Arianna and Grace agree. “It’s our world, we have to live in, so it seems like we are taking it more seriously than the adults,” says Samantha Veninsky.
City councillor Steven Cross was outside city hall with the students. “I’m excited to see all these students out here, and I would be even more excited if all the parents of all these kids wrote letters to their MPs and demanded some political action that was greater than lip service,” he says.
As for individual action, Cross says he is making changes in his own home in an effort to combat climate change, and encourages others to do the same. “I recognize not everyone can do everything and we can’t change things overnight, but we could do a lot of things right away, even in our own homes,” he says.
Cross is aware that other councillors not present at the event still support the students movement, noting that the time of day of the rally makes it difficult for most of council to attend. Cross closed his own store so he could come by the event.
The students and Cross agree that Canadians have a bit of a blind spot when it comes to climate change, as we live nestled in beautiful scenery with clear air and clean water. “That doesn’t mean our contribution doesn’t help make a difference, it all matters,” he says.
The rally culminated with the students on the steps of city hall, sharing with the crowd the reasons changes. Several offered ideas of how to make a difference, including using their consumer dollars carefully. “Companies make what we buy,” one high school student noted. “If we buy less plastic, we can change the world by forcing companies to create more sustainable products.”
“Honestly, I don’t think that complex what we need to do, we need to stop climate change and we need to stop it now,” said another. “There is no fine print. We need to stop it now, it is going to ruin our planet and it going to be hell for the younger generations.”
“Palm oil production is at an all time high,” spoke another. “If we stop buying nutella and other products with palm oil in it, we will successfully take down companies that are creating up to 18% of carbon emissions. That is more than the Canadian oil field companies.”
“This week in Vancouver the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released a 2030 plan for education,” says school superintendent Hooker to the students. “It puts students squarely in the middle of that compass, because the adults currently inhabiting the planet have not figured out how to fix it. The OECD clearly recognizing that our future really is in their hands, and that we are really not helping enough yet to get you in the right place to get you to protect the planet. So it is fabulous to see you all here. You are the ones who are going to make a difference. the OECD has over 40 countries involved in that plan, and they said students need to be the ones in charge and we need to help them do it.”