Nanaimo high school students Anya Mikes, left, Holly Turner and Anqi Xu are leading an effort to have city councillors establish a youth-led climate advisory group responsible for organizing cleanup events throughout the community by September. (Nicholas Pescod/NEWS BULLETIN)

Nanaimo students pushing for youth-led climate advisory group

Group would be responsible for organizing community cleanups, meetings and other events

A group of Nanaimo high school students are hoping to establish an environmental group that would bring adults and youths together on a regular basis.

Grade 11 students Anqi Xu, Holly Turner, Anya Mikes and a handful of other high schoolers have been working toward establishing a Youth Climate Action Network advisory group, which would meet twice a month and function in a similar manner to the city’s now-defunct youth advisory council.

According to Xu, Turner and Mikes, the Youth Climate Action Network advisory group would be student-led and connect youths from across the city in an effort to raise more awareness and provide opportunities for them to be more environmentally active within the community. The group would be responsible for organizing events such as garbage cleanups throughout the community.

“We want monthly events. No matter how old you are, whether you are in an eco-club or not, you can show up and be a part of the event,” said Xu, who attends Dover Bay Secondary School.

Late last month, the trio appeared before city councillors and called on them to support the establishment of the Youth Climate Action Network advisory group. They also asked councillors to designate a staff member to act as a part-time coordinator for the group.

“We are hoping the coordinator could be responsible for helping plan events and ensuring the group is better organized because many students have busy lives and it is hard for all of us to stay on the same page sometimes,” Xu told the News Bulletin, adding that “if we have someone who knows the ropes and can organize things, the group will be more sustainable in the long run.”

RELATED: Nanaimo youths strike again to call for climate action

Mikes, who attends John Barsby Secondary, said the advisory group would serve as a way for youths who have been involved in the ongoing climate strikes to get more involved by giving them opportunities to clean up trash or connect with other young people who are looking to make a difference.

“It is also a way to give hands-on activities to youth because I have friends who want to get involved but they don’t know how and this would give them an opportunity to do so,” she said.

“Even further from the cleanup, it would be sharing information about what other schools [are doing] and maybe adopting them into the other parts of the community,” added Turner, who attends Nanaimo District Secondary School.

Although Nanaimo councillors did not make any commitments to the student’s request last month, Mayor Leonard Krog told the News Bulletin they made a positive impression on council and that he would be open to meeting with them in the future.

The idea to create a youth climate network stems partly from a 2018 UN report on climate change, which suggests that humans only have 12 years to limit global warming to 1.5 C before “further negative consequences” are felt throughout the entire world.

Xu, Turner and Mikes said they and many of their peers are seriously worried about the future and that they wanted to create something that follows on the momentum generated by the climate strikes.

“We thought the climate strikes were more about raising attention, but this is more action-oriented and if people are interested in the cause they can come out and help,” Xu said.

The students are hoping to have the advisory committee up and running by September. They have also called on the Regional District of Nanaimo to provide free bus passes to those under 18 and have successfully re-established a network of environmental clubs known as the Green Network after Nanaimo school district trustees recently agreed to commit $2,500 in funding toward their initiative.

“Youth are scared and they want to help, but many of them don’t necessarily know how,” Xu said. “By implementing this group and by getting a coordinator, there can be a structured and organized group that youth can show up to and know they are making a difference.”







nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com 
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram

 

Just Posted

Sound mixer stolen from Nanaimo nightclub

Nanaimo RCMP ask for tips about theft of sound mixer from Koncept Nightclub

Memorial for drug overdose victims on display at St. Paul’s Church in Nanaimo

Flags of Hope Overdose Awareness Display at Chapel Street church until Aug. 29

QB McGarvey steers V.I. Raiders to first win of 2019 season

Raiders blow out Kamloops Broncos in home opener in Nanaimo

Traffic back to normal after accident at Island Highway-Brechin Road in Nanaimo

Accident involved truck and taxi at turn lane leading to Departure Bay ferry terminal

United Way’s denim drive launches at Nanaimo’s Woodgrove Centre

United by Denim campaign runs from Aug. 17 until Sept. 2

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

Beefs & Bouquets, Aug. 15

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

‘It’s just the freedom:’ Paralyzed Broncos player pursuing life on the water

The former Humboldt Broncos goaltender, who started in the net when he was nine, was paralyzed last year

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Most Read