Climate crisis: students and community members ready to take action

Photo Credit: Samuel Corum Getty Images

Photo Credit: Samuel Corum Getty Images

*This article has been updated from the printed edition*

Students and Niagara community members will come together to fight climate change locally in hopes of creating a global impact.

The 2019 Global Climate Strike in Niagara will be happening on September 27 starting at 11:00 a.m.

The main message of the strike, which is posted on their event flyer, is “Climate crisis is an emergency. Our house is burning, glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising and plants and animals are dying. We have to take action NOW before it is too late!”

The event will also serve as a meetup for environmental and other related activist groups and individuals in Niagara. From there they will remain in contact and be “escalating action” according to Kostyn Petrunick, a Brock student and Extinction Rebellion Niagara organizer.

The strike was originally planned to be held at the St. Catharines City Hall but because of complications with that location, it has been relocated to the St. Catharines Public Library. The strike will be taking place in the library courtyard.

Greta Thunberg, who is only 16 years old, began striking a year ago from her school on Fridays. Other student groups who have been inspired by Thunberg have worked alongside her, as well as independently, to put together the Global Climate Strike Week (Sep. 20-Sep.27).

The two main organizers of the event in Niagara are Fridays for Future Niagara and Extinction Rebellion Niagara. Fellow Brock students, Kaho Nishibu, fourth-year sociology major and Petrunick, fifth-year english and contemporary culture student are involved with planning the strike.

According to Nishibu, they are expecting approximately 50 people to show up at the strike but on their Facebook page 96 people have confirmed their attendance and an additional 233 expressed interest.

Nishibu started Fridays for Future Niagara this year. It is a virtual activist group that fights for social and environmental justice. On Sep. 27, the group is inviting adults to strike with the youth, to reach out to leaders and show that the climate crisis is a pressing issue to all.

Nishibu encourages anyone young or old to attend and take action against climate change.

“I realized some people in the Niagara region are relaxed about the climate crisis and other people care about the environment,” said Nishibu. “It’s important that community members get involved in the social justice movement as a whole because some people think it is only individual but it’s important the community comes together as a whole to share that they care about our planet.”

According to Petrunick, one of the reasons the strike is important is the increasing biodiversity loss which can have far reaching implications and on Sep. 27 will be rallying in support of climate strikers worldwide.

Extinction Rebellion has three main demands: tell the truth, act now (to halt biodiversity loss and for carbon emissions to reach net zero by 2025) and form citizens assemblies to address the crises apolitically.

Other Brock students in the Brock Eco Society and the Brock University Vegan Society are getting involved as well. The Brock University Vegan Society will have an event on Sep. 26 to make signs for the strike at their general meeting at 9:00 p.m.

Petrunick explains how important it is to apply and maintain pressure until the climate crisis is no longer ignorable.

“Climate change is terrifying. It has kept me up at night and is a horrifying crisis, the loss of biodiversity is staggering … Our response should be fast, rapid and it needs to happen now.”

For more information on how to get involved on Sep. 27, type in Global Climate Strike in Niagara on Facebook and RSVP. Students can also follow Fridays for Future Niagara and Extinction Rebellion Niagara via Facebook as well.

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