More than 100 Alberni District Secondary School students and Port Alberni residents gathered at Penny Lane Park on Friday morning (Sept. 27) to show support for a global climate strike.
They added their voices to the tens of thousands of Canadians who took to the streets on Friday, joining others around the world in a call for action. Friday, Sept. 27 was the last day of a global week of climate strikes demanding that governments take drastic action to save the planet from the crisis of climate change.
ADSS students emphasized that the event in Port Alberni on Friday was not a protest, but a movement of support.
“It’s not about blaming,” said ADSS student Morgan Schoen. “It’s not on one person, it’s everybody’s problem. The planet is something we live on and we don’t want to waste it.”
Students walked from ADSS during their lunch hour along Roger Street to 10th Avenue, gathering briefly at Penny Lane Park for speeches before walking back to the school. They chose to march during their lunch break because they thought the strike would be “more meaningful” if they were doing it on their own time, rather than class time.
“We need to learn,” added Schoen.
They were joined by dozens of adult members of the community, including Port Alberni’s Transition Town Society, who showed up in support of the youth movement. One local business, the Jumping Slug Cyclery, also closed its doors in support of the climate strike. Port Alberni North Island College students also held their own demonstration at the Roger Street campus after the high school event.
Many of the ADSS students involved in the strike were from Anne Ostwald’s Social Justice classes. Ostwald said that students researched topics ranging from shark finning to fast fashion and their effects on the climate crisis.
After the march, students were impressed with the response from the rest of the community.
“It was super positive,” said Schoen. “There were people with signs that said ‘ADSS students rock’ which was nice to see.”
Ostwald noted that although a large crowd of people had gathered on the sidewalk, traffic was not halted at any point during the strike.
ADSS students hope to continue their efforts to demand action with more personal advocacy. ADSS student Jay Manson hopes that the rest of the community begins to demand action, as well.
“We want people to realize this is our future, this is the future of our town, and we need to protect it,” said Manson.