By Kaitlyn Fung, Grade 11
Almost a year ago, a group of students from Windermere organized Vancouver’s first-ever youth-led Earth Day Parade and Celebration. The intent was to engage the community and raise awareness of serious issues concerning the people and the climate of our planet, as well as to empower others, especially youth, to take action. With the planning for the second annual Earth Day Parade well underway, the group (appropriately called “Youth for Climate Justice Now”) and their legacy have continued to grow. This year’s parade will be happening on Sunday, April 22nd. People will once again march down Commercial Drive, but this time the ensuing celebration is to be held at the recently renovated Grandview Park. Brilliant speakers will be there to inspire and educate, local performers will provide lively entertainment, and different organizations will be present a variety of opportunities to get involved.
On Friday, April 22nd, a historic Earth Day event took place in Vancouver!
Youth For Climate Justice Now is a group of East Vancouver high school students from Windermere Secondary. They organized this year’s Earth Day Parade and Celebration with great support from organizations such as the Wilderness Committee, Transformation Projects, Metro Vancouver, and the David Suzuki Foundation. This Earth Day event provided a great opportunity to increase youth participation in democracy, especially as environmental issues have been sorely missing from the discussion in the ongoing federal election campaign.
This youth-led Earth Day Parade started at 11:00 AM on the intersection of Commercial Drive and Grandview Highway. An estimated 3000 people from all around the Vancouver area paraded down Commercial Drive to Britannia Secondary School, where the Earth Day Celebration would later be held at. Guest speakers at the celebration included MP Libby Davies, MLA Jenny Kawn, and Melina Laboucan-Massimo, an advocate for indigenous rights with a focus on the impact of the tar sands. The event focused on the need to keep global temperatures from rising beyond 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Throughout the day, student volunteers circulated a petition urging governments to do 2 things that would significantly reduce the supply and demand for oil: redirecting money from highway expansion to public transit and banning oil tankers on the Pacific coast.
Although this year’s Earth Day had already gone by, Youth For Climate Justice Now is not going to stop there! They would like to continue to encourage more and more of their peers to learn, take action, and show everyone that the time to save the Earth is NOW!
– April 19th - A – Action: A showcase of green projects students did from arts, or sewing. A clothing fashion show during lunch in the cafeteria. Arts displayed in the school’s front entrance and the foyer.
– April 20th - R – Rethink: Playing H2Oil in the auditorium during block 2-3 for classes that have signed up for it
– April 21st T – Transportation: USE TRANSIT, OR BIKE!! Bike ride! Meet at 29th Skytrain Station 8:30AM to enjoy a free breakfast after.
– April 22nd - H – HOME: Earth Day Parade Happening at Broadway Station 11 am to Britannia Park.