Vernon students are adamant about getting their message heard.
Several youth took part in yet another Earth Strike Friday morning. This time the students took to the corner of Highway 6 and 25th Avenue, in front of the Okanagan Science Centre.
Seeking climate justice, the handful of students displayed colourful signs and banners echoing statements such as: ‘Systems change – not Climate Change.’
Such efforts have been taking place almost weekly since February.
Kerian Grandbois is one of the main organizers of the local effort.
“To begin, I would like to sincerely thank and congratulate each student that took part in the May 3 School Strike for Climate. The energy at the event was absolutely electric. The students of Vernon rallied in large numbers to show that we want a planet and a future.
One thing that my deputy organizer Leif LaFrance and I noticed was that in debate on the subject, the most immature participants were the adults personally attacking the members of our organization for daring to take a stand. We were repeatedly told that we are “brainwashed” above all. The ironic part is that while we have credible sources (such as NASA) to back up our claims, not one of the commenters have been able to back up their ridiculous claims with an unbiased, scientific source. One individual that I will not name for the sake of their privacy even went so far to cite “History” as a source in debate. Not one person could back up the oh so common claim that we are “brainwashed” without falling back to a subjective, emotional argument. In reality, it is instead they who act as the brainwashed ones: making a statement based off of a knee-jerk reaction and then being unable to back up the claim.
Another thing that we noticed was that the basic rules of debate were almost entirely ignored. People on the other side of the debate were incredibly quick to fall back to ad hominem attacks. Another pattern was the ignoring of the standard that the burden of proof falls to the accuser. What we would see happen, especially online, is that someone would make an outlandish, laughable statement and then demand that we rebutted with sources before they provide their own. The sources that were provided were either not credible or were rife with misinformation.
While I have had good debates with certain individuals, most debate that Leif and I have taken part in have just been a place for people to vent their anger at us.
Drivers in pickup trucks were yelling at us as they drove by, deriding us for owning cell phones. People told my organizers and I to “go to hell” as we put up posters downtown. A street preacher told one of the lead organizers and I that we were “sinners”. We’ve all been flipped off countless times by people who are absolutely intransigent in debate. People who hide behind screens and keyboards call us nasty things online.
Before anyone tries to call us out over the “offended teen” stereotype, take a look in the mirror. The knee-jerk reactions that we’ve been hearing are signs of people who are themselves offended that we are rallying to defend our planet and protect our futures.
Before you debate with us, I implore you: be mature about it.”