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Students departed from Saugeen District Senior School and proceeded down Gustavus Street on their way to Coulter Parkette in downtown Port Elgin as part of a Climate Strike September 26.

Hub Staff

A group of enthusiastic secondary school students marched from Saugeen District Senior School (SDSS) to Coulter Parkette in downtown Port Elgin Thursday afternoon, September 26, to participate in a Climate Strike.

Holding a banner that read, "Saugeen Shores Climate Strike" and individual placards with sentiments such as, "It's Time to Act!", "System Change! Not Climate Change", and "There is No Planet B", over 80 students participated in a call and response declaration as they marched.

What do we want?
Climate action!
When do we want it?
Now!

Receiving many honks and gestures of support along the route, the group made their way to the downtown core where they were met with a near equal number of councillors, community members, and business people, who were there to join the demonstration and show their support for the striking students.

One of the organizers of Thursday's strike, Cydney Morris, believes the youth's role is to raise awareness and to demand change. "I think a lot of people think it's over our heads and a lot of people think it's just a trend that we're jumping on but it's so much more than that," said Morris.

When Grade 11 student Ruby May was asked why they were participating in Thursday's Climate Strike, their answer was simple. "It's our future and we should care and if the government's not going to care what we're doing for our future, I think we should because our kids will grow up without knowing what trees are or what a healthy environment is."

Once at Coulter Parkette, attendees sang, chanted and spoke passionately about the environment, their demands for change and their hopes for the future.

Throughout the event there was much reference to 16 year old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who sat outside Swedish parliament by herself in August of 2018, with a sign that read, "Skolstrejk för Klimatet," which in English translates to School Strike for Climate.

Now, a little over a year later, Thunberg's actions have resulted in an avalanche of school strikes and the 2019 Global Climate Strike September 20 to 27 where millions around the world are taking to the streets to demand change.

Thunberg has travelled the world, addressed the United Nations and world leaders with a very clear and consistent message. Thunberg wants the adults and leaders of the world to unite behind the science of climate change, to do something that leads to real change, and to stop prioritizing economic growth over a livable world.

Event organizer Angelina Barone said Thunberg is known for "amazing tenacity, blunt speaking manner and for challenging governments around the world to change their environmental policies." Barone reiterated an impassioned speech Thunberg gave at the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit in New York on September 23.

Grade 11 student Fiona Aiken said, "We need to start thinking about the next generation and the generation after that. We need to create some sort of security."

Aiken said that corporations need to think about the impact they're having on the environment and also talked about what individuals can do to reduce their environmental footprint, suggesting things like walking more, riding your bike, travelling less, and consuming less.

A reduction in single use plastics was also a focal point for some.

A recent study by the University of Oxford suggests that the single biggest way for individuals to reduce their environmental impact is to adopt a plant based diet, reducing their carbon footprint by as much as 73 percent.

Livestock currently uses 83 percent of the world's farmland while producing just 18 percent of the world's calories.

On average, animals require an intake of six times more protein than they produce which has an impact on the world's fresh water supply; and it is said that animal agriculture is responsible for at least as much greenhouse gas emissions as all of the world's travel combined.

It is estimated that one million litres of water is saved per year, per person when adopting a plant based diet.

In addition to exploring the health benefits of plant foods, the recent documentary The Game Changers, executive produced most notably by James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jackie Chan, also explores the environmental impact of animal foods and suggests cutting out the "middlemen," the animals, and getting our nutrients directly from the source, plants.

Last updated: September 28, 2019

grade9 10s

From left, Grade 10 students Lauren Gilbert and Gracelyn Sousa; Grade 9 students Alivea Vance, Sophia Weigand, and Sabra Cannon; and Grade 10 student Lily Van Geel outside Saugeen District Senior School (SDSS) as they prepared to march to Coulter Parkette in downtown Port Elgin for the Climate Strike September 26.

Cydney school

Cydney Morris addressed her fellow students before the group began their march to the downtown core Thursday.

Signs

From left, Keyara Bell, Ruby May, Lia Ramsay, and Kierra Rhyno were holding signs to bring awareness to climate change.

school march

The students began their march from SDSS to downtown Port Elgin.

Angelina

With megaphone in hand, Grade 12 student Angelina Barone reiterated an impassioned speech by 16 year old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg to a crowd of supporters at Coulter Parkette.

Lauren

Lauren Gilbert, a Grade 10 student spoke about her experience of climate change September 26.

Singing

Grade 9 SDSS student Cindy Lu played the keyboard at Coulter Parkette as the crowd sang Sing for the Climate, a climate activist song that began in Belgium

IMG 6800

At the end of their Climate Strike, SDSS students posed for some photos and shouted some final chants.

 

 

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