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LETTER: Youth to rally for the environment — we should all join them

Sixteen-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg listens to speakers during a climate change demonstration at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 18.
Sixteen-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg listens to speakers during a climate change demonstration at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 18. - Kevin Lamarque

On Friday, Sept. 27, youth in the St. John’s area will march to Confederation Building for the fourth time, calling out the inaction of our political leaders in addressing the climate emergency, as well as the apathy of the electorate.

This is the local expression of an international movement of millions of young people around the world who have been striking from school over the past year. Young people have good reason to strike. For them the climate emergency is an existential crisis. They are literally in the fight of their lives.

There is a broad scientific consensus that, to limit climate change to manageable levels, we must limit the increase of global temperature to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says the first step in achieving this is to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030.

The 2030 GHG emissions target in our provincial government’s so-called “climate action plan” falls significantly short of that target.

This is but one of several shortcomings in the provincial plan which, one is left to infer from their silence, the opposition parties don’t seem to take issue with.

But then to be fair, we “adults” of this province haven’t made it much of a political issue either, nor have we joined with our youth in their fight for the systemic change required to protect their future.

Back in May, Greta Thunberg and 46 other youth climate activists invited us adults to step out of our comfort zones and march alongside them this week. I’ve accepted that invitation and will be marching with the youth on Friday.

I implore your readers to do the same. The march begins at 11 a.m. by the MUN clock-tower. Take a vacation day. Call in sick. Take an extended lunch break. Do what you have to do to be there.

Show up for our children and grandchildren and let them know they’re not in this fight alone.

Mark Nichols,
St. John’s


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