Hundreds of students from Prince Rupert Middle School, a several skipping class at Charles Hays Secondary School in solidarity, protest outside city hall demanding climate action now. (Jenna Cocullo / The Northern View)

COCULLO: The climate strike is far from fact-challenged

A response to Tom Fletcher's B.C. Views column

Climate action is not some new fad that will come to pass or a way for millennials to now spend their time. Climate change is real.

Teachers and school boards who support their students on the Friday for Futures walkouts are doing the right thing. Teaching kids to find their voice and stand up for what they believe in — to step into the public discourse, no matter their age, to protest the issues that are important to them — is a valuable experience far beyond what the classroom can bring.

WATCH MORE: What does PRMS want? Climate action. When do they want it? Now.

Look at Greta Thunberg, she was only 15 when she began her campaign to save the planet and this week, at the age of 16, she has the ears of the most powerful people in the world. Thunberg became the global leader of climate strikes not because she saw pictures of dying polar bears. Despite what Tom Fletcher says.

As she said in her TedxTalk, she first heard about global warming at the age of eight when she was told we need to conserve resources because of our way of living, and questioned why society was not doing more about this.

READ MORE: B.C. VIEWS: School officials join fact-challenged ‘climate strike’

I too, remember at the age of eight asking my teacher a very simple question. If the population continues to grow and we are cutting down all our resources, how will we ever survive, “won’t we run out of stuff and hurt the Earth?” It was a very simple question about a problem that even eight-year-olds can figure out. So why can’t society?

Canada is not one of the world’s leading absorbers of CO2. When trees die, get cut down or burn they release CO2 into the air. Canada is not a carbon negative country, we produce more than we absorb and given our wildfire season we are emitting a lot of carbon into the air.

But people can debate facts and link to contradicting articles all day. So let’s look at the qualitative evidence over the quantitative.

Globally, forest areas are not growing — just ask the hundreds of people who have lost access to their homes and communities in the Amazon. Drought-affected areas are not decreasing – I know because I asked the women in rural Malawi who now have to use fertilizers on their land which once reproduced vegetation unassisted, before mass droughts.

And no, it is not some natural cycle of the Earth that is causing climate change like some would believe. Just like the threat of acid rain and the hole in the ozone were not naturally caused.

Climate change is not a political narrative, it is a very simple problem.

If Y is the number of resources on the planet, and X is the population which grows exponentially — and Y replenishes slower than X multiplies — then Y ÷ by X2 = we’re screwed.

It is a simple calculation that even eight-year-olds can figure out.

READ MORE: COCULLO: Run like a Rupertite


Jenna Cocullo | Journalist

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