Building on the success of the first rally, a local group of students is hoping a second event within months of its inaugural one will help make the Comox Valley a more environmentally conscious place to live.
In May, the Youth Environmental Action team – a youth group dedicated to empowering and educating youth on climate change and how to take action to fight the climate crisis – held a climate protest.
The protest, which began at Courtenay City Hall, had hundreds of students, participants and politicians walk throughout downtown Courtenay in order to bring awareness to and prevent the escalation of climate change.
Mackai Sharp, a high school student and co-head and social media/marketing manager for YEA, said the organization is planning a second March for Climate Change Sept. 27 at Simms Millennial Park in Courtenay.
“The last march showed an amazing presence in the community. We surprised ourselves with the number of people who showed up – it was amazing.”
He noted the initial rally served the purpose of getting the word out about the organization and also created more environmental awareness, which propelled YEA to take action.
“It didn’t feel like it changed very much, so we met with the district council to talk about policies and making changes. Sometimes we feel like our voices aren’t being heard, so we had meetings with council and community members to make sure we unify our message.”
This time around, YEA is primarily using social media to get its message to the community. Sharp said the group feels more refined and while they didn’t intend for the march to line up with the upcoming federal election, he encourages everyone to examine their values prior to casting their vote.
“We really want people to vote with their heart, but we want to stay as non-partisan as possible.”
On Sept. 27, organizers are hoping to have even more people join them for the climate march at 1 p.m. They are still planning out the exact route, added Sharp, but encourages everyone to come out to the gazebo at the park.
“We really want to make it bigger. We all have our personal reasons for participating. We live in a diverse eco-system with the ocean, mountain and valley right here. If you read the stats, within the next century most of the glaciers will be gone in B.C. We’re already off the environmental cliff; we need to reverse it instead of trying to prevent it.”