Sixteen-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg says she was never told about a pair of invitations to visit Victoria.
Victoria Coun. Ben Isitt says he reached out to a contact working with Thunberg on her visit to B.C. and was told the major obstacle to her coming to Vancouver Island is the lack of a fossil-fuel-free transportation option.
B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver also invited Thunberg to the capital with an offer to speak at the legislature.
“I have definitely not declined it because of ’emissions’ from the public transport ferry. Just so you know:),” Thunberg tweeted.
“I try to visit as many places as I can, but there’s unfortunately not enough time to visit everywhere.”
Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says she, along with Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes and the two teenage girls organizing climate strikes in Victoria, sent a letter to Thunberg inviting her to the provincial capital.
Helps raised the issue of BC Ferries not having a zero-emission way of travelling as the reason she heard Thunberg was not coming.
“I think it really speaks to the way she is travelling across the world in a zero-carbon way,” Helps said.
“She and literally millions of young people are fighting for their future and asking us adults to take that seriously. I think it is only poignant that she would come and see us but for the fossil fuels she would need to burn to get there.”
Former Olympic rower Adam Kreek, who previously attempted to row across the Atlantic Ocean, has offered to transport Thunberg to and from Vancouver Island in a convoy of long-distance rowboats and a multi-hull sailboat.
Weaver saying Speaker Darryl Plecas agreed to allow the Swedish climate activist to speak to MLAs in the B.C. legislature if she decides to come.
“When I heard she was coming to Alberta I made the request for her to come,” Weaver said.
“Whether she comes or not, that is up to her. The message she could send is clearly reinforcing locally what she has done across the world. Even today there are people in our legislature that believe that expanding LNG export is good for climate. It’s not.”
Fresh on the heels of her visit to Alberta, Thunberg will attend a climate strike scheduled for Vancouver on Friday morning.
Thunberg has become a global name after her #FridaysForFuture protests inspired youth around the world to climate activism.
The teen began sitting outside the Swedish parliament every Friday to demand climate action, popularizing the concept of youth climate strikes.
Youth climate group Sustainabiliteens has been organizing similar strikes in Vancouver and said Thunberg’s appearance will help put pressure on elected leaders.
— With files from Simon Little