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The Weather Network
Nov. 20, 2019 | Wednesday
Local News
Two St. Michael students ask NOTL to declare climate emergency
Two St. Michael students ask NOTL to declare climate emergency. (Dariya Baiguzhiyeva/Niagara Now)

As Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg was rallying in Edmonton Friday, two Niagara-on-the-Lake students held their own strike outside the town hall asking the municipality to declare a climate emergency.

The strike was part of the Fridays for Future global climate change movement in which children and youth hold strikes to draw attention to the climate crisis.

Equipped with two cups of tea to stay warm on a chilly Friday morning, the two Grade 8 St. Michael Catholic Elementary School students, Hazel Norris and Molly Shara, sat outside the town hall with two handmade signs, which read “Climate justice” and “Climate emergency.”

“It’s not only our generation that has made this Earth polluted but we’re the ones who have to deal with it,” Shara said. “If we all work together, we can.”

Both of them also attended and spoke at the St. Catharines’ climate strike in September.

In October, Toronto council voted in favour of declaring a climate emergency. The students said they want NOTL to follow Toronto’s lead and do the same.

Declaring emergency would make people more aware and believe in climate change if the “government says so,” Norris said, adding she hopes the town bans single-use plastics in the near future.

Lord Mayor Betty Disero and Coun. Norm Arsenault stopped by to offer support, although Disero said she’s not “prepared” to declare climate emergency at this point.

“It’s a topic that’s coming up around the world and many municipalities. I just want to find out more on what basis and how they’re doing it before I make a commitment,” Disero told The Lake Report.

Asked what they would say to people who claim such strikes don’t matter and climate change isn’t real, the students said there’s science backing up what environmental activists are saying.

“It’s just what science’s been proving for a long time and we just have to pay attention to it because it’s our future,” Shara said.

“Look around. There are crazy storms, water’s rising. It’s pretty obvious something’s wrong,” Norris added.

The girls said they’ve always been environmentally conscious and credited their parents for teaching and raising them to be eco-friendly. They also thanked St. Michael school for participating in environmental initiatives.

“We have eco-team, we have causes we do at our school. We’re glad our school can support us and can support climate change behind it,” Shara told The Lake Report.

For people wanting to change their way of living, the students recommended starting with small actions, such as reducing the use of plastic, using reusable mugs and cutting down on production.

“It scares me because some people don’t pay attention to science because in the future if it gets worse, are you still going to ignore science and things that have been proven?” Shara said.

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