CANMORE – As the crisis of climate change grows more ominous, movements to create awareness and motivate change are growing with it.
In Canmore, a climate crisis strike will be held Friday (Sept. 27) at noon that will see community members of all ages marching from the Scout Hall on Main Street.
“It’s a very important part of our life and our history,” said Amy Clark, a local resident who organized a Facebook event for the march.
“I want to be a part of it to show my support in the climate crisis and how we all need to back this up, show our support for the youth coming into this world with voices that need to be heard.”
Clark, who created one of the two circulating Facebook events, the other put on by Bow Valley Climate Action, said the two marches have now merged.
“When I didn’t see anything being organized, I thought ‘well somebody has to do,”’ she said.
“But I found out yesterday there is another one being organized in Canmore … so we’ve joined forces now.”
The initiative is a worldwide movement that calls on youth to engage in a climate strike after Greta Thunberg, a Swedish climate activist, put the call out. Thunberg spent three weeks sitting outside the Swedish parliament after school, as a protest to what she said was a lack of action against the climate crisis. She has since become a prominent face in the media representing the activism surrounding climate change.
Here in Canmore, local youth are also gearing up to be a part of the change, like Charlie Buffler, a Grade 12 student at Canmore’s Collegiate High School.
“I’m just passionate for climate change and I’ve been inspired by Greta, who started over a year ago by herself,” Buffler told the Outlook.
A sentiment shared by Clark, who said she’s also drawing inspiration from Thunberg.
“I find her absolutely inspirational and so strong and determined – I wish we could all be a bit more like Greta,” she said.
Buffler said he’d be accompanying some friends to participate in the Calgary march, including CCHS student Philip Kimbley-Nicolai who will give a speech on climate change. Buffler said the decision to march in Calgary instead of in Canmore was due to Kimbley-Nicolai’s speech opportunity, and the larger scale platform.
“I wanted to express myself and share my voice with a bigger crowd of people, along with my closer friends who are also passionate about it,” said Buffler.
Kimbley-Nicolai, also a Grade 12 student at CCHS and co-president of the Green Club, said when he agreed to do a speech in Calgary, he wasn’t aware Canmore was also putting on a march. Either way, he’s glad for the chance to have a platform to share his passion with like-minded individuals.
“Just to be around like-minded people, standing up for a cause we believe in and we need to protect, we don’t have much time left,” he said.
“I’ve seen a lot of damage ... because of human actions, it’s really alarming the amount of destruction we’re doing to our planet.”
For Buffler, it’s important to speak up about issues such as climate change as a young person because youth are “the future of our countries and the world.”
“It’s important what we believe because we’re coming up next, we’re voting soon, it’s important for us to be heard as youth,” he said.
In terms of what people can do, Buffler said education is the first step.
“It’s very important to get educated on the facts, express your voice, do as best you can just at home to limit your water consumption, energy consumption, and a big one is diet – I know it’s hard for people, but diet plays a big role,” said Buffler, indicating the beef industry has a massive impact on the environment.
Clark also suggested education as an important first step, while also indicating that one person or one family can do a lot on their own time to make a difference.
“Any household usage – composting, getting solar panels if it’s possible and within your budget. We drive a hybrid plug-in electric vehicle … we’ve cut down our meat consumption in half in the last year ... we’re not vegetarians by any means, but we try to reduce our impact,” she said.
“Educate yourself first then you’ll know what steps you can take.”
For those who want to attend the march in Canmore Friday, it starts at the First Canmore Scouts Hall at 914 Main St. at noon. For more information, find the event Canmore Climate Crisis Strike on Facebook.