‘We want change:’ Student activists demand climate change action in strike
They may not be old enough to vote, but a group of students made their voices loud and clear in today’s climate strike. What began as a handful of Central Senior Public School students gathering at Victoria Park quickly grew to a swarm of approximately 70 protesters.
As they marched down Kent Street in downtown Lindsay today, the students, accompanied by several adult supporters carried handmade signs with slogans like “The sea is rising, so are we,” and “Planet over profit.”
Many of these signs were made by Alexis Benns and her peers from her Grade 7 class at Central Senior Public School. Inspired by a wider global movement led by Swedish 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, Alexis said that many of her classmates were “on board immediately” with creating a strike of their own.
One of Alexis’ school mates, Heather Field, explained that her concern is that older people seem less passionate about climate change. “We really want to stand out to the adults,” said Heather. As they shouted “we want change,” the crowd received several honks of support from the downtown traffic.
“Just ignoring it isn’t a policy,” said I.E. Weldon Secondary School student Tisza Pàl, “we need to work towards holding corporations who have made all of this waste accountable.”
The Grade 11 student said that although personal choice can play a part in reducing pollution, she believes that government action is necessary to finding a solution to climate change.
“The Ford Government has been cutting everything that seems good for the planet and it’s really frustrating” explained Cassie Noble, a local tattoo artist who joined the students. “I feel like younger people just get it more” said Noble, “the older you get, people tend to forget about the environment.” Noble said that she encourages other adults to think more about the planet in their day-to-day lives.
“Because we can’t vote, we need to get our voices heard,” explained Alexis. The 12-year-old climate activist said that local representatives could do more for the environment by implementing single-use-plastic bans and planting gardens for bees and other pollinators.
Several major cities across Canada saw climate strikes similar to this one today, including Edmonton, Vancouver and Halifax. This student movement has been popularized by Greta Thunberg, a climate activist from Sweden who is known for going on strike since late in 2018.