In a survey of random students at our school (Kwalikum Secondary) last year, we found that over a quarter of the students surveyed (Grades 8-12) said that thoughts and feelings about climate change affected their daily life, and 80% wanted the government to do what is required to stop it.
In terms of activism, one of the top responses was, “I’m already doing everything I can.” Youth really do care about environmental issues- and many are already taking action in our community:
1. The Student Council at our school has a history of focusing on environmental issues. Last year, they published an anthology of writing and art from Vancouver Island youth (Kindergarten to Grade 12), with the goal of giving students a way to communicate their feelings to our broader community.
2. Fridays For Future Qualicum is a local group of students and community members that started up last year, and whose projects include ongoing climate strikes at town hall every Friday, as well as working with our town to update our climate plan.
3. Within schools, elementary and secondary, there is often some kind of environment club too. Sometimes they incorporate art, like the murals reminding us to care for our planet on garbage cans around town.
The climate crisis disproportionately affects people around the world already-and the kids alive today will see and experience the most of it- so from an ethical viewpoint, it is really important for youth to play a part in these decisions. This is something that we realise, and will continue to try to achieve until we know that we are on the best-case-scenario path forward.
By Teegan Walshe
Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash