Climate Action

“The moment I wake up on a climate strike day, I feel powerful.” A climate strike story by Alexis Benns

The moment I wake up on a climate strike day, I feel powerful. Although I am not permitted to strike every Friday, I frequently organize walkouts. It isn’t easy – convincing the students and people around me is not a quick thing to accomplish. Many of them don’t even know that climate change is a threat to humanity, and, more importantly, this entire planet. Actually walking out might not seem very exciting, but for me it’s thrilling. The support from the community is rewarding, especially when they decide to join me in my marches. Most of the citizens are eager to learn and get involved, and they are the ones that keep me going.\ However, I do receive criticism from people that think the climate crisis isn’t real. I am usually insulted online through social media, although a few people have the guts to voice their opinion face-to-face. Their words do not negatively affect me, on the contrary they motivate me to work harder, knowing that there are still many uneducated people not just locally, but globally. Motivation is easy, but hope? That is not a common feeling of mine. Knowing that the climate crisis is only getting worse doesn’t exactly put a smile on my face. Nonetheless, I can’t help but feel a glimmer of hope every time a country declares a ‘Climate Emergency’, or a city passes a law in favour of the environment. Still, the fear of the climate crisis is constantly at the back of my mind. Will I be able to attend university? Will climate change harm those that I care about? Will I have to explain to my future children why the world is dry and barren? Politicians around the world aren’t doing nearly enough to stop this crisis, and if they don’t act soon then I might not be able to experience the future that I had planned. Kids around the world are fighting climate change, but striking in Canada is unique. The province that I live in, Ontario, does not have very many climate strikers that I know of. When I mention climate striking in a conversation most people give a quizzical look and ask what exactly it means to strike for climate. Thousands of kids in other provinces strike for the climate, though – and for good reasons. For one, Canada is warming twice as fast compared to the global rate, which is deadly for our wildlife. The marine animals are the most affected, since the change of temperature in the water is not what they’re used to. Because of this, the aquatic animals – especially fish, crabs and lobsters –  are disappearing at double the rate of land-based species. Striking for climate is not an easy job, and it never will be. But, when your life is at stake, you don’t care how easy it is. You do it because it’s the best way to have your voice heard.