Earth Strike Vernon protested Saturday at the courthouse. (Brieanna Charlebois/Morning Star)

Vernon students protest, call for climate action

Earth Strike Vernon protested on courthouse steps Saturday afternoon.

A group of about a dozen students took to the steps of the Vernon courthouse Saturday to show their support of climate action.

Related: Letter: Climate change

Related: Losing climate change race a ‘disaster for Africa,’ UN says

This small demonstration is one of several protests put on as part of a new movement titled Earth Strike. Since its inception in November 2018, the movement gained thousands of members in over 60 countries. Demonstrators have said they want climate change to be recognized as a crisis and, according to their website, are “demanding immediate climate action from governments and corporations worldwide.”

Grade 10 student Kieran Grandbois, 16, is the spokesperson for the movement’s local chapter. He said that he decided to get involved to “protest for responsible climate action and to hold governments and corporations accountable for the systematic pillaging of the planet.”

Though the movement is still in its infancy, Grandbois said that they have received a lot of support and momentum.

“We’re here making ourselves known, not only to the people of Vernon but to the companies as well,” he said. “We always knew that climate change was an issue and then we read about the hard facts and statistics behind it, that 71 per cent of emissions on our planet are being produced by just 100 industrial polluters.”

The statistic that Grandbois referenced comes from a 2017 study by The Carbon Disclosure Project, a non-profit organization that runs the global disclosure system that aims to make environmental reporting and risk management a business norm and drive disclosure, insight and action towards sustainability. CDP’s Carbon Majors Report “compiled [statistics] from a database of publicly available emissions figures, intended to highlight the role companies and their investors could play in tackling climate change.”

The report, which was published in collaboration with the Climate Accountability Institute, found that “100 companies have been the source of more than 70 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988.”

“This is something we can’t recycle or carpool our way out of necessarily, and the fact that the companies are trying to place the blame on the individual consumer instead of taking accountability shows that they have no real interest in solving the issue. So by raising awareness — and not only raising awareness but raising our voices — we are here, doing our part for an international movement trying to spur change onward,” Grandbois said.

Though he said that it’s clear that his generation has the most at stake currently, they feel that they have an obligation to future generations.

“Those that have the most at stake is the ones that haven’t been born yet and I feel that it is ridiculous to waste away our resources in search for wealth — to feed an insatiable desire for it — and jeopardize these future individuals of our planet.”

Related: Letter: Climate change harming Vernon’s economy

Related: Letter: Climate change history lesson

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