Lauryn Lee / Staff reporter
Areas in downtown Vancouver will once more have thousands of protestors as a third climate strike happens today.
The strike was chosen to coincide with Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days for retailers, but Climate Strike Canada warned consumers on their Instagram page that “futures are not for sale, don’t buy into it.” The date for the strike was chosen to combat consumerism and put a focus on “the danger of corporate greed and [its] contributions to the earth’s destruction,” they added.
Climate strikes were initiated by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who created the “Fridays for Future” movement in August 2018 in response to the world’s rapidly changing climate.
As a result of her movement, the largest global climate strike happened on September 27 where over 100,000 people attended in Vancouver.
“I attended the climate strike in September,” said Annie Yin, grade 11, “I got there two hours late, so I thought everyone would be gone and off the bridge, but there were still so many people marching, so I was surprised by how many people were there. It was a lot larger than I thought it would be and I’m really happy people take their time to go out and march.”
“Standing up for positive change is important because otherwise, no one will want to change,” said vice-principal Michael Chan. “If someone is making lots of money but is damaging the environment and no one cares about that, nothing will change.”
A post-election climate strike on October 25, 2019, was attended by Thunberg, who spoke to the crowd. Vancouver police estimate between 12,000 to 15,000 people was present at the strike and gathered at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
“As much as climate strikes are important in terms of providing a lot of media coverage, I think there are alternative ways to get the message across for students,” said Chan. “I hope that students don’t get pigeon-holed to think that they only need to do a climate strike. Writing your local politicians a newsletter, email, or campaign would be just as effective if you can articulate your concerns. It’s easy for someone to turn off the T.V., but it’s difficult to turn down thousands of emails,” added Chan.
Taking small steps to reduce one’s carbon footprint makes a large impact in the long run.
“I recycle and compost at home, I take public transit, and I bring my own utensils to school. That’s the smallest I can do,” said Yin.
These small steps can later transform into taking bigger strides, positively impacting not only oneself but the entire community.
“I’ve done projects in the past where I’ve encouraged people to ride bicycles,” said Krista Bogen, English and COAST teacher. “I created the first bicycle map for students getting to UBC in Vancouver. I spent a whole year working on that,” she added.
Already, climate change is impacting special programs and students at Gleneagle.
“For the [COAST] kids, the winters are becoming colder. Over the years, it may have been -5, -10 when we went on our winter trip, but we’re hitting down to -20 now in February. Februaries are becoming quite harsh, so the significance of that is causing us to make bigger decisions. Last year, when we were canoeing Bowen lakes, we were covered in smoke from a fire and that’s never happened. The health of the students has to take a priority, so whether we continued or not was an issue,” said Bogen.