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Kamloops youth to take part in Global Climate Strike

Youth from Kamloops participated in walkouts earlier this year to voice their concerns for the environment. The Global Climate Strike on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, will have students from around the world protesting for political change once again.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Kate Nanson
September 17, 2019 - 5:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - What do you do when you're passionate about climate issues but your age holds you back from voting? Organize a student walkout as part of a global environmental activism movement.

Kate Nanson is a 17-year-old Kamloops teen who is organizing her fourth walkout in an effort to bring awareness to the issues that matter to the younger generation. The peaceful protest is an extended branch of the Global Climate Strike that was started by 16-year-old Swedish environmentalist Greta Thunberg. Youth around the world will be walking out of school on Friday, Sept. 20 to voice their concern for the future of the environment.

“The environment is so important to me and I felt it was time to really do something rather than just be sitting any home or in class saying ‘This sucks, but I don’t know what to do,’” Nanson says. “Even though you’re in school or even though you’re young and can’t vote, there is a lot of things you can do.”

Nanson organized walkouts at her high school and isn’t stopping now that she is studying at Thompson Rivers University. Those wishing to participate can meet at the courthouse at Columbia Street and Fourth Avenue at 10 a.m. They will head to Kamloops City Hall and plan to arrive at 12:30 p.m. Nanson encourages people to make signs but says she has some extras to help peacefully convey their message.

“We’re considerate of those around us and not blocking any sidewalks,” Nanson says. “It's very peaceful but showing that we’re definitely being present.”

Nanson says around 100 students participated in her first organized event this spring and is expecting even more protesters this time around. This event also welcomes adults who are passionate about global climate issues.

Nanson says that taking students out of school has seen some pushback from community members but support from school staff. Nanson attended the Sa-Hali Secondary School and says teachers were quite supportive of the strikes she organized in the spring, given that a phone call from a parent was made to excuse the students.

“When I was doing this last year (Sa-Hali) said that they support youth standing up for what they believe in, but their biggest concern was safety and not knowing where students were,” Nanson says.

Nanson notes that other strikers around the world sometimes disagree with being excused from school.

“Some people don’t like to have it excused,” Nanson says. “Because you’re fighting… you don’t want to be excused.”

Nanson says the event has seen support from adults within the area.

“A lot of adults around the community are messaging me and saying, ‘Oh, I’m so happy that the youth are now fighting these same battles. I remember being your age and it’s still so important to me, how can I help you?’ It’s really supportive.”

Nanson has a message for those who are of legal voting age.

“Everybody who is voting age - which unfortunately I am not, and a lot of people in my group are not - but people who are should really consider their choice when it comes to this, and to think about their children and grandchildren. The way that they’re voting is affecting everyone, not just themselves. Consider who you vote for and vote smart.”

If you want to get involved with the event, you can check out the local Facebook page here. To get more information on the global movement, click here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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