The Youth Environmental Action group met with local politicians to discuss their ideas for how to reduce the Valley’s environmental impact. Photo courtesy Comox Valley Schools

Youth Environmental Action presents climate asks to local leaders

The student-led group met with representatives from each municipality, the CVRD and the school board

A local group of students is ramping up their efforts to make the Comox Valley a more environmentally conscious place to live.

Students from Mark R. Isfeld Secondary, G.P. Vanier, Cumberland Secondary, Partners in Education and North Island College, who make up the Youth Environmental Action group, spent their lunch break on Monday with local politicians discussing actions each municipality can take to reduce their environmental footprint.

RELATED: VIDEO: Isfeld students join global student strike

Nalan Goosen, one of the founding members, said the group put three asks on the table and added the response from mayors, councillors and CVRD directors was quite positive.

The first ask was having recycling pickup each week while garbage pick up be reduced every second week, similar to communities like West Vancouver. They are also hoping to see an organics program implemented in Courtenay.

Comox and Cumberland have been participating in Comox Strathcona Waste Management’s Organics Compost pilot program, and Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells expressed enthusiasm for seeing organic pickups throughout the Valley.

Secondly, the group wanted to see an environmental sustainability committee be created in the Valley, made up of local politicians, adult allies and youth.

Lastly, the group asked that a climate state of emergency be declared in the Valley.

Mackai Sharp, who presented the third ask, explained that making the declaration would put more pressure on local governments to make the necessary changes quickly.

“We also think that the symbolism that comes with putting a municipality into a state of emergency is valuable because it can make other municipalities across the Island and all of Canada … possibly also take these steps,” he said.

Gears are already turning to bring this issue to the forefront at a provincial level. At the Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities annual meeting on the weekend, a resolution was brought forward by the Sunshine Coast Regional District, asking the province to declare a province-wide climate emergency.

Monday’s Youth Environmental Action meeting also allowed time for a question and answer period where students and elected representatives discussed various topics like subsidizing electric vehicles and adding climate change to school curriculums.

Following in the footsteps of Greta Thunberg, a 17-year-old Swedish climate activist, Youth Environmental Action formed last month to participate in the March 15 school strike for the environment. Now they have around 25 members.

Sharp used to live in Oahu, Hawaii and witnessed the impacts humans were having on turtle populations. He says these peaceful protests have given students a voice and a way to make a difference.

“I feel like we now have a platform that is globally recognized to make change and I feel like at this time, there’s an opportunity and we should all seize it,” he said.

Goosen says they are looking forward to more of these meetings in the coming months.

“We have to save our planet before we can even consider the future.”

Just Posted

Courtenay woman desperately searches for missing dog

Anyone who owns a dog will understand the anguish of a Courtenay… Continue reading

Valley chef Ronald St. Pierre to be inducted into BC Restaurant Hall of Fame

A Comox Valley chef will soon join other culinary legions in the… Continue reading

YANA Ride in Comox raises thousands for families with medical needs

In its seventh year, the event attracted the maximum 600 riders on Sunday

Cycle tour for African Grandmothers coming through the Comox Valley

On Sept. 6, 35 women, aged between 56 and 75, will be… Continue reading

Disney Plus to launch in Canada in November

Analysts say latest streaming service may escalate cord cutting

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

Two hiking families team up to extinguish fire in B.C. backcountry

Children and their parents worked for three hours to ensure safety of the popular hiking region

Police seek tips in 2015 death of Island teen Brown

Four years has passed since the body of Penelakut Island woman was discovered

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Elections Canada to assess ‘partisan’ climate change rhetoric case by case

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier has said climate change is not an emergency nor caused by human

Most Read