Greta has moved us. Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old from Sweden has tipped the scales and is mobilizing people across the world, particularly the youth, to demand more of our leaders. Demand more of ourselves. Her message – “Do not rob me of my safety! Do not rob me of my hope!” Was echoed by our own Kimberley youth. On Friday, Sept. 20th, over 200 citizens of Kimberley rallied in support of a youth led protest joining millions of people across the world impassioned in their demand for action against climate change. An enormous thanks to Lori Joe for supporting our youth in Kimberley, creating opportunities for the imperatives of our young to be heard. To Thea DePauli who stirred us with her words. To all the children who took time away from their schooling to inspire us to do what we can with ‘Our Own Two Hands’, to take action.
Our City Hall response – Electoral Leadership response – Not just uninspired, but ‘Un’. A vacuous nothing in response to the rising of our community for a global cause. The result, a dissipation of the collective spirit. A somber-ing. The event could not, should not have taken our city leaders by surprise. News of its occurrence has been spreading for months. This was an opportunity to engage. An opportunity that as a small, intimate community, we have the potential to actualize – initiate next step conversations with our youth. Those who are being robbed of their future by our muted responses.
Our youth are rallying us. They are calling us to act on the things that as citizens of Kimberley we hold dear. Our Forests. Our Air. Our Water. Our Earth. Their Fate. I was dumbstruck that not even a carefully pre-scripted, “While as a publicly funded agency we are not in a position to support strike action, we recognize the importance of taking a stand on climate change. Thank you for reminding us. Thank you for holding us accountable with you.”, was echoed. Even the possibility of using the globally driven event politically was lost. A comment like, “We recognize with you the importance of addressing issues related to climate change, as is consistent with our vision, business plan, and direction as leaders of the Kimberley community. We believe in the power of your voices.” – could have gone a long way.
Well, missed opportunity aside, for me, as a citizen of this very special place, today I felt impassioned. I no longer have the energy of youth, but I can be mobilized. I will rally as I can. I will loosen the polite cloak I wear as a Canadian, live close to my kindness, and find ways to act. A heart felt thank you from this citizen to our young people.