High school students rally to protest gov't inaction on climate change

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Grade 10 student Keegan Newnham-Boyd leads a chant during a climate change rally in Whitehorse on Earth Day, April 22. (Sissi De Flaviis - image credit)
Grade 10 student Keegan Newnham-Boyd leads a chant during a climate change rally in Whitehorse on Earth Day, April 22. (Sissi De Flaviis - image credit)

More than 70 high school students rallied in the streets of downtown Whitehorse on Friday afternoon on Earth Day to protest the government's inaction against climate change.

"We know we have to make a difference and since nothing else is happening, it's come down to us," said Keegan Newnham-Boyd, one of the main organizers of the rally, along with Sophie Molgat, and Ella Bradford.

All three are Grade 10 students at F.H. Collins Secondary School and are members of Fridays for Future Yukon, a branch of the youth-led and organised global climate strike movement that started in Switzerland on 2018.

Sissi De Flaviis/CBC
Sissi De Flaviis/CBC

"We feel like there's a lot of inaction from our governments, corporations, even people who might not be as aware," said Newnham-Boyd. "We think that if we get out there, make all these noise, maybe it doesn't change everything but a little change goes along way."

And make noise they did. The crowd of students rallied from the Elijah Smith Building to City Hall and back, chanting the whole way.

Newnham-Boyd said the group prepared the signs and the main banner at the Canadian Parks And Wilderness Society (CPAWS), a non-government organization dedicated to the protection of public land, freshwater and oceans.

Sissi De Flaviis/CBC
Sissi De Flaviis/CBC

Older generation not doing enough

Molgat, who has organized climate action rallies since she was in elementary school, said the group is still frustrated the older generation is not doing enough to care for the earth.

That's why some of the chants included Molgat saying "you're going to die of old age," through the megaphone, with the crowd responding, "we're going to die of climate change."

Sissi De Flaviis/CBC
Sissi De Flaviis/CBC

Bradford said it was time for the government to protect the earth.

"All the chants and signs are just directed at getting the government to take more action to protect our future," she said.

"We would like to see more concrete action. So, things like phasing out fossil fuels, investing in more clean energy and phasing out deforestation."

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