Nearly two dozens students from Canmore Collegiate High School walked out of class to join hundreds of thousands of other students around the world to demand climate change action on Friday (March 15).
The students marched to the Civic Centre holding placards and met with Mayor John Borrow and other councillors to deliver a petition to encourage the town to implement its Climate Action Plan as quickly as possible.
“On behalf of the CCHS Green Club, we as students would like to applaud the Town of Canmore on its new Climate Action Plan, it’s a great step in the right direction and we as youth are excited that we’re making a positive change towards sustainability for our future,” said Ali Gourley, a Grade 12 student.
Borrowman thanked the students for caring about the environment and reiterated the Town’s commitment to its Climate Action Plan, which aims to cut the Town’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent below 2015 levels by 2050.
“Thanks so much for doing what you’re doing at the school and within the community,” said Borrowman, upon acceptance of the petition, which included more than 70 signatures.
He said the Town is committed to its Climate Action Plan, but it will take the entire community to make it happen.
“If the community is not involved in what we’re doing, then the work we do won’t bear as much fruit, so keep doing what you’re doing and care about the environment.”
To do its part, Gourley told the mayor her club also has implemented a few of its own initiatives including a composting program. It also has plans to introduce a plastics recycling program, make its cafeteria more sustainable and is fundraising to add more solar panels to the school’s roof.
Philip Kimbley-Nicolai, a Grade 11 student with the Green Club, said he is extremely concerned about the impacts of climate change, but remained hopeful for the future.
“It pains me to see the way things are going in the world and that we’re deciding to push it aside,” said Kimbley-Nicolai, following the meeting. “Obviously consensus is not an easy thing to do, but if we can get the majority of people to understand that we can still do something and that it is in our power, I really think there is still hope in this situation, but we need to act now.”
The students were joined by tens of thousands of other students across Canada who also walked out of class to demand climate action.
According to media reports, climate strikes were held in more than 100 countries around the world, which were inspired by a 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg who began holding solitary demonstrations outside the Swedish parliament last year. She has since been nominated for a Noble Peace Prize for climate activism.