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.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North Island College announces 2020 graduation award winners

North Island College has announced the award recipients for the 2020 Graduation… Continue reading

Couple opts for plan B for wedding in Courtenay

Pandemic restrictions prompt April Powell and Hayden Eely to change plans for the big day

‘Someone knows something’: a look into Vancouver Island missing persons with interactive map

There are more than three dozen people listed as missing throughout Vancouver Island

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

Point in Time Count indicates homelessness on rise in Comox Valley

BC Housing has released preliminary data from the 2020 homeless count for… Continue reading

Fisherman snags barracuda off Vancouver Island in rare encounter

Ferocious fish, not native to Canada, was netted and released in Alberni Inlet

Tree planters get help with COVID-19 protective measures

Ottawa funds extra transportation, sanitizing for crews

Trudeau apologizes for not recusing himself from WE decision

He says his and his family’s longtime involvement with the WE organization should have kept him out of the discussions

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Washington’s NFL team drops ‘Redskins’ name after 87 years

The franchise was given the name back in 1933, when it was still in Boston

Most Read