About 55 members of the Sackville Youth Climate Change Coalition gathered at Mount Allison University today before marching down Main Street to Sackville’s main post office where they mailed a letter to the federal minister of the environment as well as letters and holiday greeting cards to several big stores.
Grade 9 student Quinn MacAskill, who helped organize the rally, told her fellow climate strikers that in keeping with the holiday season, the theme of today’s march was related to consumerism.
“Youth may not be able to vote for our political leaders,” she said, “but we can vote with our dollar.”
She urged the strikers to buy more locally produced products to reduce carbon emissions.
“There’s a big difference between buying a highly packaged candy bar made with palm oil from a big box store, than buying a fair trade, sustainably made chocolate bar from a small local store,” she added.
MacAskill also argued that many big companies are heavy polluters that “hold way too much power in our governments.”
To read the complete text of her speech, click here.
The coalition’s letter to Jonathan Wilkinson, the new minister of the environment, calls on the federal government to honour its commitment in Thursday’s Speech from the Throne to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 or sooner if possible.
It also calls on the government to reject all new fossil fuel projects; make the transition to a 100% renewable energy economy; uphold and advocate the rights of environmental migrants; and, hold large corporations to the same greenhouse gas emission targets that Canada sets for itself.
The letter asks Wilkinson to reply by February 1st. “We want to know that you’re listening,” it ends.
To read the complete letter, click here.
Letters to big stores
The student strikers also mailed letters and greeting cards to big stores such as Costco, Walmart, Lululemon, Roots Canada, Tim Hortons and Loblaws asking for the details of “a concrete plan for what your company is going to do to reduce its carbon emissions in the very near future so that we may hold you accountable.”
The letter warns that if the coalition does not receive a response by February 1st, the students “will make that known to the public.”
The letters contain copies of a parody of the Dr. Seuss poem, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas written by Weylin Lee Smith, a first-year Mount Allison University student.
To read the letter and the Grinch parody, click here.
After the rally, Quinn MacAskill acknowledged that fewer students participated this time than at the four other Sackville rallies held this year.
“Even if this one might have been smaller than some of the other ones, it’s still a sustaining, continuing movement,” she said.
“It’s not just one or two big events.”