Peace Magazine: Why we're Organizing Climate Strikes

Peace Magazine

Why we're Organizing Climate Strikes

“Why should we be studying for a future that soon will be no more, and when no one is doing anything whatsoever to save it?”

By Rebecca Wolf Gage • published Jul 01, 2019 • last edit Aug 31, 2019

My name is Rebecca Wolf Gage. I am 13 years old and I go to Shoreline Community Middle School. I started the Victoria youth climate strike when I heard about Greta Thunberg. Greta is an inspiration. She asks “Why should we be studying for a future that soon will be no more, and when no one is doing anything whatsoever to save it?”

I decided to start the Victoria youth climate strike because I wanted to do something to help stop the climate crisis. My school did not object to me striking, but some of my fellow strikers do have trouble skipping school to go on strike due to unsupportive teachers.

When I started the climate strike, I expected that the movement would take a while to get much attention, so I was prepared to organize for a while by myself, but after a short period of time, I learned how difficult it was to organize by myself. After a few strikes, my amazing co-organizers Emma-Jane Burian and Cade Anderson joined me.

For our first climate strike, I wrote a letter to the editor and it got into my local paper. It told people about the strike and the location and time. Surprisingly, we got 10 strikers the next day. This showed me how powerful media can be in activism.

The climate strike is an international movement of youth, and there are strikes all over the world. However, here in Canada, we are on national calls.

In Victoria, we plan future events at our monthly climate strikes, and through an app called Slack. Once we decide on a date, we post it on as many social media fronts, and contact as many green teams at schools, as possible.

So far, as a result of the climate strike, we have met with Premier John Horgan, some Green and NDP MLAs, and the BC Minister of Environment. Unfortunately, we have not yet met with any politicians from the Conservative or Liberal parties. The NDP and Green Party are in support of our strikes. We acknowledge that all parties must do much more to protect our future. We have demands for politicians, one of which is to lower our carbon footprint to the amount necessary for Canada to do its part in saving our future.

Some of the things we do at our strikes in Victoria are meeting with Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps to discuss what we want to work on together in the community. Mayor Helps is very generous, and has given us an hour each month to work with her and organize community events that will lower our carbon footprint.

At our strikes, we also have speakers and singers preform, as well as an open mike for all those who wish to speak.

So far, the largest number of students who have attended our strikes in Victoria is about one to two thousand. In Canada, there are more than 160,000 of us, and worldwide, there are around 1.4 million of us demanding a future.

We try to make each strike special and fun. We try to give our speeches ferocity, and demand that our government save our future.

We won’t stop until our government acts on this crisis.

Rebecca Wolf Gage is a student and climate activist in Victoria, BC. “$“

Published in Peace Magazine Vol.35, No.3: Jul-Sep 2019
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