The Kimberley Youth Action Network (KYAN) Environmental Team will be hosting a climate change event at Centre 64 on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 at 7 p.m. The event will feature Climate Action Leader Laura Sacks, who will be presenting on climate change solutions – Must We Change? Can We Change? Will We Change?
KYAN students recently wrote to Kimberley City Council asking for support in the form of an $80 sponsorship to help pay for the rental of the theatre at Centre 64.
Council voted unanimously to support the event, with the funds coming from the City’s discretionary grants.
The KYAN Environmental Team is a subcommittee of the Youth Action Network with a particular interest in climate change.
“Its about climate change in its entirety,” said Lori Joe, who guides KYAN. “It’s about being hopeful and researching solutions at a local level.”
Dealing with smaller solutions at a local level allows the students to to not be overwhelmed by the enormity of it and learn that there are things you can do at a local level to make a difference.
“It’s important for them to identify a number of action projects so they feel they are a part of the bigger solution.”
The students are learning how to speak about climate change in order to educate those around them. They would also be very interested in seeing it taught more as part of secondary school curriculum, Joe says.
“KYAN helps them to find their voice in the community.”
Two students, Caetlyn Gray and Ciara Robison spoke to the Bulletin about their efforts, and how they feel, as young people, when activists like teenage Greta Thunberg are bullied for speaking out.
“It’s.. I don’t want to say degrading, but it puts us down when people don’t want to hear us because we’re teenagers,” Ciara said. “Our goal is to get as much support as possible, to get people to at least listen to us.”
“We have small goals,” Caetlyn said. “Get rid of plastics in the cafeteria, maybe a composting program. If one person starts using a reusable coffee mug, that’s something, even if it’s little.”
Sacks will also be presenting in Cranbrook at the College of the Rockies campus the day prior, February 11, as well as presenting at Selkirk Secondary on the 12th.
“It helps bringing Laura Sacks to the school,” Joe said. “It will be a bridge to starting the conversation. Her message is to talk about reality and solutions.”
The event at Centre 64 is first come, first served and is by donation to KYAN Environmental Action Team initiatives. Funds raised will help a few of the KYAN students travel to Victoria with the Citizen’s Climate Lobby, where they will have an opportunity to meet with MLAs.
The KYAN students have also invited a number of local organizations to set up information booths at the event. Any other group who has something they’d like to share is asked to get in touch with them at email@example.com
Sacks’ presentation will focus on local impacts of climate change followed by a discussion about climate change solutions. Participants will also have the opportunity to share ideas.
A press release from the City explained that Sacks is a trained Climate Reality Leader and works in the region to build political will for a livable world, specifically to enact meaningful policy to address climate change issues.
“A former organic farmer and hydrologist, Sacks was inspired to refocus her career on climate change after learning about the precariousness of the situation and the urgent need for action,” reads the press release. “She has degrees in geology and environmental sciences, with additional course work in climate science and policy, sustainability and renewable energy.”
She has made presentations across the Kootenays on climate change and aims to increase community awareness and empower youth to find their voices.
Kimberley City Council says that they are happy to support KYAN with this initiative, with the City making efforts to reduce their own carbon footprint in recent years.
Mayor Don McCormick suggested that a Councillor introduce Sacks at the event, and give a brief summary of the City’s climate change efforts to date.
CAO Scott Sommerville added that the City will also be hosting its own climate change solutions event in the near future, which will feature an opportunity for residents to weigh in on what they think needs to happen locally.
With files from the Nelson Star.