New Westminster Secondary students protest lack of action on climate change

About 50 New Westminster Secondary students marched out of class Friday as part of a global student strike demanding action on climate change.

The worldwide demonstration was inspired by 16-year-old Swedish student and climate activist Greta Thunberg who, in August 2018, was thrust into the spotlight when she organized the first student strike against climate change in front of the Swedish Parliament Buildings.

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Thunberg was invited to speak at the UN Climate Talks in Poland in December and at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January. Last week she was nominated for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

“She inspired an international movement and I wanted our school to take part in that,” said Karter Deedman, organizer of the New Westminster Secondary School student strike.

Deedman is in Grade 10 at NWSS and was one of about 50 students who left school Friday morning to march in protest against climate change.

“Climate change is a problem that everyone is facing, and we really need to make sure everyone in our city and in our country and all over the world knows about it so that we can work together to solve it,” she said.

Students marched around the high school chanting “Change the system! Fight the system! Fix the system!” while passing drivers honked in support. Some students carried signs calling on society to do more to fight climate change.

“Every single city needs to show that it cares so that we can make our country care about it. Even though we’re a small city, it’s important that we show that we have a voice,” Deedman said.

At Monday’s city council meeting, council directed staff to report back on climate actions that could be taken by the City of New Westminster. This includes updating existing city plans to reflect new targets contained in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, new ways the city could help achieve its targets and new ideas to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“I’m very proud of that and now I’m hoping that the rest of B.C. will consider doing that too,” Deedman said of council’s motion.

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