While the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal’s carbon tax decision made headlines Friday, hundreds of students skipped school to protest climate inaction and for more to be done about climate change.
Legislative building security estimate at least 500 area students attended a ‘climate strike’ rally at the Saskatchewan legislature.
The strike, which was organized by local students, saw them march from the Royal Saskatchewan Museum to the legislature singing, chanting and waving signs.
School climate strikes have been held in Regina since March. This was their biggest turnout yet.
The inspiration for Regina’s climate strike came from Greta Thunberg, a young Swedish activist. In the summer of 2018 she started skipping school, citing inadequate government response to a series of Swedish environmental disasters as her motive.
The first official school climate strike was organized a few months later and the movement has since spread worldwide. According to Regina organizers, at least 75 Canadian cities held strikes today. More than 600 cities participated worldwide.
The demands of the Regina movement is for Canadian policy-makers to adhere to international climate change response plans like the Paris Agreement and to invest in renewable energy.
“In the Regina, Lumsden, Moose Jaw area we have the potential for the most kilowatt hours in the entire country. And yet we only have one utility scale solar plant in the province. That is crazy to think we have so much potential but it’s not being utilized,” said 12-year-old Nadia Most of Fridays for Future Regina, the group who organized the event.
Mark Smith, a Grade 12 student at Miller Comprehensive High School, said the strikes are the best way for youth to have their opinions heard.
“I can’t do anything politically about it but the government needs to notice that there is something going on,” he said.
Seventh-grader Zanna Martin said that by protesting she was following in the footsteps of her great-grandmother, who fought for women’s rights.
“She taught me how important it is to speak up, and I have a chance to do that so I’m gonna take every opportunity to speak my mind and try to make change,” she said.
She stressed the urgency she feels to start taking action on climate change immediately.
“Action should have started a decade ago, so I have the chance to do it now, I’m gonna do it as soon as possible. It’s not the time to sit back and do nothing. It’s time to panic and be scared cause this is our future on the line,” Martin said.
Organizers said that strikes are planned for every Friday moving forward.