Aaron Hinks photo Clockwise from bottom left, students Allie Ho, Diun Macdonald, Tessa McDermid, Nadia McGowan, Sam Albert and Amelia Marshall discuss a plan for today’s climate strike.

South Surrey students to rally ‘for our future’ at Global Climate Strike

South Surrey teens to bus to Vancouver for climate-strike event

The buzz among students at a White Rock coffee shop Tuesday afternoon had more to do with climate than caffeine.

Climate change, that is.

The after-class meeting at Laura’s Coffee Corner was about co-ordinating an effort to bring further awareness to climate change, an issue the students believe has the potential to threaten their future.

Drawing inspiration from teenage activist Greta Thunberg – who recently gave an emotional speech to world leaders at the United Nations – students from Earl Marriott Secondary, Semiahmoo Secondary and Elgin Park Secondary plan to walk out of class Friday morning to participate in a “Global Climate Strike.”

Tuesday, climate-strike student leaders from EMS and Semi formalized their plan to take transit downtown, to arrive at Vancouver City Hall by 1 p.m.

According to the Global Climate Strike Facebook page, more than 7,000 people have confirmed they are attending the rally, which is set for 1-5 p.m., while another 10,000 have indicated that they’re interested in attending.

Elgin Park students say they will walk out of class at 9 a.m., and protest in front of the school for an hour. Sonja Schutte, in Grade 10, told Peace Arch News that while most of the students will likely return to class, some are expected to head to Vancouver for the strike.

The Surrey School District distributed a letter – which leads with the sentence “We live in an era of global climate change” – last Friday notifying parents and guardians that the district will allow students to miss class Sept. 27 in order to attend the Vancouver event. The letter notes that students must be excused from school by parents, and the students will be able to make up missed work without penalty.

RELATED: Surrey School District to allow students to miss class for global strike

The district’s support of the strike echoes through the walls of the schools, Schutte said, noting she’s been allowed to put up global-strike posters in the classrooms.

“I think most of the teachers I talked to, their reaction has been pretty positive. Of course, they can’t say to their students ‘walk out of class,’ because they’re our teachers, they’re our educators…. But they’re really supportive, a lot of them,” Schutte said.

Tuesday, PAN met briefly with Earl Marriott students Nadia McGowan (Grade 12), Sam Albert (Grade 12), Diun Macdonald (Grade 11) and Tessa McDermid (Grade 12), and Semiahmoo Grade 12s Amelia Marshall and Allie Ho.

Albert, however, will not be attending the climate strike, as he was invited to the United Nations Global Landscape Forum as a youth delegate, which is to take place the following day in New York.

He told PAN he was invited to the conference after he attended the June UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany as a youth delegate with the B.C. Council for International Cooperation.

He was also recently invited to another UN conference this December in Chile.

Albert and Ho were featured in PAN in May for a climate strike they organized earlier this year. The story received a few dozen comments online, including criticism from people who seem to deny the human impact on climate change.

One comment, made by a woman who identified herself as a senior, alleged that the “protesters are being paid.”

EDITORIAL: Adults must step up in fight against climate change

Asked for their reaction to criticism from people much older than they are, Ho and Albert agreed “they’re ignorant,” but said it’s also proof that the strike is spurring conversation about climate change, which is one of the event’s objectives.

“The movement has now grown so much and it is all over the world. Obviously, these students aren’t doing it just to cut class. That’s the impact of the climate strike movement, is that students are not going to be in school, preparing for a future that’s not certified right now,” Albert said.

“No one else is going to be taking the initiative to protect my future, so I’m going to. And other students my age are going to take the lead in this matter.”

The students also noted that, unlike their adult critics, they don’t have an opportunity to vote in elections.

“This is the only way we have to make a difference,” McGowan said.

Ho said that this climate strike, compared to the one held last May, is expected to be much larger – partly due to social media.

“I don’t like that it’s becoming trendy, but it’s a fact,” Ho said, adding that she’s been hearing more conversation about climate change not just in the classroom, but in the school hallways.

“It’s becoming a lot more apparent,” Ho said.

According to a poll conducted by Abacus Data, and released Sept. 13, 90 per cent of Canadians see climate change as important or urgent. The survey was conducted online with 1,500 Canadian residents aged 18 and older, from Aug. 23-28.

Just Posted

South Surrey man and city settle beef over backyard cow

Asad Syed, who kept a calf on his property last year, met City of Surrey in court Tuesday

UPDATE: ‘Hold and secure’ at Elgin Park Secondary lifted

‘No evidence located to substantiate a threat,’ says Surrey RCMP

Surrey RCMP doesn’t expect big hit in light of projected $10M cut in B.C. budget

Public safety minister says RCMP informed province about projected budget deficit

Surrey’s Sourdif among A-list ‘Players to Watch’ for NHL Entry Draft in Monteal next June

The right-shot forward has eight goals and nine assists with Vancouver Giants this season

North Delta actor makes her debut in new Apple TV+ series ‘See’

In a dystopian future where humans can no longer see, society’s rocked by the birth of sighted twins

VIDEO: B.C. to restrict nicotine content, bring in 20% tax on vaping products

Province will also restrict candy and fruit flavoured vaping products to adult-only stores

Seguin lifts surging Stars to 4-2 win over Canucks

Dallas is 6-0-1 in last seven outings

UPDATE: Metro Vancouver bus drivers to refuse overtime as transit strike escalates

Overtime ban could disrupt 10-15 per cent of bus service in Metro Vancouver

‘City that protects rapists’: Sexual assault survivor slams Kelowna mayor for defending RCMP

Heather Friesen spent the morning handing out flyers around city hall calling out the mayor

Batten down the hatches: Wet and windy weekend on the way for coastal B.C.

Environment Canada issues special weather warning for Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island

BC Liquor Stores to move fully to paper bags by March

Vancouver Island to be the first to convert to paper bags in November

B.C. RCMP investigating stolen boots, credit cards, booze, and beauty products

Langley RCMP investigating property crimes, including credit card fraud in Surrey

Tolko shuts B.C. divisions for two weeks over holidays

Head office to close from Dec. 23-27; two weeks’ downtime runs Dec. 21-Jan. 6

B.C. government working with RCMP to address $10 million in budget cuts

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth issues statement following report of RCMP cost-cutting

Most Read

l -->