One hundred and ten people of all ages walked to elected politicians’ offices in Vernon recently to urge all three levels of government to act to stop climate chaos.
North Okanagan community members joined more than 130 other communities doing similar actions across Canada, all part of a campaign led by a group called Leadnow.ca. The main message was “defend our climate, defend our community, for the sake of our children.”
At the Vernon City Hall, the group, represented by grandmother Phyllis Beardsley, began by mentioning how much they appreciated the City of Vernon’s Smart Growth-oriented Official Community Plan, created with the active participation of its citizens.
Ms. Beardsley told the mayor and council “don’t get distracted from this most important responsibility” of protecting the climate of our home by supporting sustainable transportation, local food production and habitat protection.
At MLA Eric Foster’s office, two high school students, Emma and Tom Corbett, thanked the government for continuing to uphold its effective and innovative carbon tax. They spoke passionately about their recent stay in the Philippines and how afraid they were for their friends whose lives were affected by super typhoon Haiyan. The brother and sister highlighted their concern about the short window of time that is left to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and said “without action, our future looks scary.”
The students asked the provincial government not to approve pipelines such as the Northern Gateway and the expanded Kinder Morgan, as well as the proposed gas plants, but rather invest in energy conservation and alternate energy technologies.
After walking along the downtown’s Main Street, the concerned citizens arrived at the office of our MP Colin Mayes. Primary school student Neave Allen, who was sick and couldn’t attend, had her speech read by one of her friends.
She said she was “worried about climate change” and that she felt that Canada’s record on preventing climate change was “embarrassing.” She urged the government to “listen to the climate scientists of the world, (and) …meet with the leaders of the world’s nations to negotiate a global limit to fossil fuels.”
Local singer and songwriter Priscilla Judd then led the group in song.
Finally, the most recent 5th Assessment Report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, showing a 97 per cent worldwide scientific consensus that climate change is real, and caused by human activities, was fastened to the door of the MP’s office.
Bill Darnell and Mary Stockdale