Support for climate activism came to a head in Smithers Sept. 27 when more than 200 gathered at the corner of Hwy 16 and Main St. to voice their concerns about climate change.
It was a larger showing than last week’s rally, with students from Smithers Secondary School, Muheim Memorial Elementary School and a number of others participating in the rally.
The group marched down Main Street, encouraging others to join into the rally and chanting slogans warning of the dangers of a world in which climate change is left unchecked.
As the group gathered outside of the Ministry of Environment building, a number of students participating in the march gave short speeches about why they felt the need to get involved.
One said the Earth is dying.
Another said they are scared for their future.
The overwhelming message, though spoken in different forms, is clear: we have to act now.
Taylor Bachrach and Mike Sawyer, federal Skeena-Bulkley Valley candidates for the NDP and Greens, respectively, were also in attendance.
Speaking to The Interior News after the protest, both candidates touched upon the subject of their family regarding why they felt it was important to come out.
“I have a 14-year-old daughter and a 12-year-old daughter and I’m very concerned about the future that our generation is leaving for them and their peers,” said Bachrach.
“I’m very concerned about climate change and one of the reasons I’m running in this election is because I now have two grandchildren,” said Sawyer.
“When I look at them I go, you know, I have to do something.”
While both candidates said the event gave them hope, they also touched on a sense of urgency with regard to climate change.
“There’s optimism and hope,” said Bachrach. “The trend is not looking good but seeing events like today’s demonstration give me hope.”
“I believe humanity is capable of great things and we just need to get on with it.
“The reality is that none of us are doing enough, particularly those of us in leadership.”
Sawyer took a similar tone, noting his most outright hope is that, collectively, humans can tackle the issue of climate change within major time frames that have been established by environmental scientists.
“Certainly having the youth engaged and pushing is a start,” Sawyer said. “But the reality is that most kids who are here are not going to be in the political driver’s seat for another five, 10, 15 years.
“As adults we cannot just go ‘oh, the kids will do it, it’s the kids problem, they’ll take care of it.’
“The fact is, given the time frames we have, we actually have to take responsibility as adults and force our politicians to do the right thing.”