“How dare you.”
Greta Thunberg, the 16-year old from Sweden asked world leaders that question earlier this month.
“We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and yet all we can talk about is money,” she told leaders on Sept. 23 at the United Nations.
This speech moved many and there was a Global Climate Strike across the world from Sept. 23 until Sept. 27, where youth took to the streets to demand governments do more to address the issues of climate change.
Students in Vanderhoof are as worried about the future of the planet that they will inherit. Some NVSS students skipped school on Friday and took to the streets to inform people about climate change.
“Climate change has got to go,” was chanted by the students in an effort to make the rest of the community realize that it is high time we focus on our environment.
“Metaphorically, we lit our house on fire”
Jorja Cranmer, grade 11 student from NVSS repeated these strong words that were first uttered by Greta Thunberg.
“We have metaphorically lit our house on fire. We did it knowingly. We knew that there was gong to be an effect of what we did, but we didn’t care,” Cranmer said.
The youth in Vanderhoof grow up rurally, and are more connected to nature, she said. As a child, Cranmer says one doesn’t realize the state of the planet that will be handed over to them.
“You play in the trees and you appreciate the wonderful things we have. And as you get older, you realize that as youth we have been handed a planet that is burning.”
“We have been pressing the self-destruct button for so long, that we are at an emergency,” she said.
It is necessary to be knowledgeable about the current state of the environment, otherwise it will be too late to come back from it, she added.
A lot of people across the world are skeptical about the idea of climate change. Cranmer said it’s frustrating to see that skepticism.
“I don’t understand how you can’t see it,” she says, asking people to have a good look at the changing water systems, changing ecosystems, weather changing rapidly over the years and other very visible signs of a changing environment.
The fact that parts of the world may become uninhabitable in the future is a “scary” thought, she said adding all of this can change, if everyone does their bit.
In terms of the municipality, having curbside recycling in Vanderhoof, would really encourage people to recycle, Cranmer said, asking mayor and council to look into providing that service.
At school, students study water systems and Cranmer said students have been seeing streams that were beautifully flowing in the past few years that have dried up in the the past year.
The fish population has been affected as well, she said, noting salmon population has seen a decline over the years and, “evidently we have to connect that with what is going on in the environment and understand that it is an emergency!” she said.
Climate change is a big topic in this year’s Federal Election as well and Cranmer said she is happy to see candidates finally talking about environmental change.
“That is extremely exciting. Because then we can start talking about reducing fossil fuels, we can talk about finding more eco-friendly ways for companies to run. And discuss different ways to let us continue producing, what we produce, but without adversely affecting our environment,” she said.
She did not participate in the strike because Cranmer said everyone approaches the situation differently. For her, education is important.
Meanwhile, world leaders like Donald Trump tweeted: “She (Greta Thunberg) seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!” in an apparent mockery towards students taking to the streets, where some believe that the youth are much better off attending school.
Greta Thunberg says she doesn’t understand why world leaders or other adults would make a mockery of this situation and not look at the science.
She told crowds in Montreal that the youth today have become loud, so people want to silence them.
Fears about the impact of global warming on younger generations drew fresh protests in India, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands and Bolivia a week after hundreds of thousands rallied worldwide ahead of the U.N. summit.
With files from the Associated Press