Approximately 200 people, many of them youth, attended the Climate Strike Cumberland Solidarity Rally outside the Cumberland municipal office Friday, Sept. 20. Photo by Terry Farrell

David Suzuki column: Time to support global climate strikes

No one who understands science questions whether humans are causing the climate to change to our detriment, mostly by burning fossil fuels.

The evidence is indisputable.

It’s been verified and accepted by every reputable scientific institution in the world, and by almost every government except the current, fact-averse U.S. administration.

The only real debate is about how best to address it. Do we need mitigation or adaptation?

Is a carbon tax or cap-and-trade more effective? Should we reform agricultural practices?

The truth is that we need to deploy every available solution quickly and keep developing new ones.

Thanks largely to efforts by the fossil fuel industry and its supporters in media, governments and the public to sow doubt and confusion for decades about the overwhelming scientific evidence, we’ve stalled so much that addressing the crisis gets harder daily, especially because carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases remain in the atmosphere for many years, and will continue to alter the climate even after we slow or halt emissions — if we do.

Many young people understand what their elders have failed to grasp — we’re jeopardizing their futures.

Because adults aren’t acting quickly enough to solve the crisis, despite the abundance of solutions, young people are stepping up and speaking out in many ways and places.

The #FridaysForFuture climate strikes have grown into a worldwide movement since then-15-year-old student Greta Thunberg began her solitary strike outside Sweden’s parliament a year ago.

Thunberg recently arrived in New York, after a cross-Atlantic journey in a zero-emissions yacht, gearing up for a week of climate action from Sept. 20 to 27 that includes the Friday strikes, a UN youth climate summit on Sept. 21 and a global UN climate action summit on Sept. 23. She also plans to attend the Sept. 27 Montreal climate strike.

Youth are asking everyone to join the strikes and activities. The main Canadian strikes are on Sept. 27 (including one in Courtenay, at Simms Park, starting at 1 p.m.).

According to 350.org, more than 2,500 strikes have been registered in 117 countries.

Although skipping work or school to march in the streets may be out of some people’s comfort zones, the strikes offer an important opportunity to let decision-makers know that we, the people, want action.

“We strike so that in the United Nations meeting, when they speak, it is with our beliefs on their tongues. We strike so that when they raise their hands to vote, it is with the weight of our vision hanging from the tips of their fingers,” School Strike for Climate Australia’s Evan Meneses said.

“We strike so that when they stand, it will be with the might of the youth, the workers, and the people.”

Among other things, climate strikers are asking for a rapid shift from fossil fuel energy to renewables; respect for Indigenous land, sovereignty and treaties; environmental justice that includes supporting those most affected by pollution and poverty; protecting and restoring biodiversity and habitat; and moving toward sustainable or regenerative agriculture.

As adults, we owe it to the youth and those not yet born to do everything in our power to ensure they have a livable future, with clean air, drinkable water, healthy food, biodiverse life and a stable climate.

Dropping what you’re doing for one or more days to get out and march may not sound like much, but the more people show up, the louder the message to governments, media, industry and society.

Many of us grew up in times and places when we didn’t fully realize that our postwar shift to consumerism as economic policy was depleting Earth’s resources and throwing natural systems and cycles, including the carbon cycle, out of balance.

We maybe had an inkling that some wealth in the developed world came at the expense of people in poorer nations, but we didn’t consider that driving around in large vehicles and burning gas were doing much more than causing some pollution, easily resolved by removing lead from gas and making fuel-efficient cars.

Now we’ve known for decades where the planet is headed if we continue with business as usual, and it’s not a human-friendly place.

Let’s all get out there to demand action — and show the kids we care.

David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. Written with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation senior editor and writer Ian Hanington.

Just Posted

Courtenay widow turns to Town of Comox for commemorative item to honour late husband

After being turned down by City of Courtenay, Laurance Stratton found Comox more receptive

Boomer Jerritt next North Island College Artist Talk speaker

Acclaimed Comox Valley photographer, artist and world traveller Boomer Jerritt is coming… Continue reading

VIDEO: Saanich resident shocked when trespasser licks security camera, rummages through mail

‘I found the situation really bizarre,’ said the Gordon Head resident

School district launches catchment consultation process in the Comox Valley

Comox Valley Schools is commencing an important boundary catchment consultation process beginning… Continue reading

BC Ferries crew member taken to hospital after getting struck by bow doors

Two sailings between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay were cancelled

B.C. VIEWS: How to get the best deal on your ICBC car insurance

ICBC slowly being dragged into the 21st century

Pot legalization has gone ‘well’, but ‘yellow flags’ on vaping: task force chair

Canada legalized cannabis for non-medical use on Oct. 17, 2018,

ELECTION 2019: Federal leaders hit final 24 hours of campaign

Many leaders remain in B.C. for the final hours of the campaign

Jack’s Devils beat Quinn’s Canucks 1-0 in NHL brother battle

New Jersey youngster scores first career goal against Vancouver

Two charged after owner’s wild ride through Kamloops in his stolen truck

Crystal Rae Dorrington, 37, and Derrick Ronald Pearson, 32, facing multiple charges

Comox Valley Nature hosting one-day conference to discuss Courtenay’s Urban Forest Plan

Comox Valley Nature (CVN) is opening its annual Fall Vancouver Island Regional… Continue reading

Judge orders credit union’s bank records for Kelowna social worker facing theft allegations

The man is accused of negligence, breach of contract, fraud and a conspiracy with Interior Savings

Leaders pour it on with rallies, boosts for candidates as campaign reaches peak

The federal election campaign has reached a crescendo

Most Read