Youths in Nanaimo rang the alarm bell about climate change during a rally this week.
A Fridays for Future climate strike rally and march at Diana Krall Plaza was organized by Vancouver Island University’s Eco Club and the Nanaimo Climate Action Hub on Friday, Sept. 24.
Speakers at the event voiced concerns about threats to the environment and participants marched in the downtown core in the hopes of raising awareness of the climate crisis.
Jocelyn Maguire, Eco Club member and an organizer, said Fridays For Future is a youth-led movement inspired by Greta Thunberg and comprised mostly of people university-age or younger who took part at similar events around the world.
Climate change is not only a global issue, but one that has local effects as well, according to Maguire.
“A big [issue] is green transportation. Obviously transportation is a really big emitter, with people moving by car and vehicle and so if we had better infrastructure for maybe bikes and walking and buses, it’d be significantly better,” said Maguire.
While the City of Nanaimo has added bike lanes and, along with the Regional District of Nanaimo, invested in transit, Maguire said more can be done.
“It needs to be on a much wider scale,” said Maguire. “Obviously in Nanaimo, it’s difficult … but there’s still many ways it could be better.”
Julia Roberts from the Nanaimo Green Faith Circle told people in attendance that the faith community is also concerned about issues impacting the environment. The climate crisis is a spiritual and moral crisis, she said.
“We are offering the wisdom of our various faith traditions to help heal this crisis … many of us here come from other lands, or perhaps our ancestors came from other lands,” said Roberts. “We brought with us religions that have diverse festivals, spiritual practices and ways of imaging the divine mystery that underpins life.
“In spite of our differences, our faiths all direct us to care for the poor, welcome the stranger, seek justice, love our neighbours and care for our Earth. In various ways, all our faiths say that Earth is sacred.”
Maguire estimated 70 people attended.