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BC Students Support Global Climate Strike  

Last December, University of Victoria student Antonia Paquin was sitting on a local beach when she had an alarming and life-changing realization about the urgency of the climate crisis.  

“I felt like the beach was half sand and half plastic microbeads. I spent a long time seeing it but trying not to see it, until I realized oh my God, this problem is enormous!” she said. “I wondered what does this mean for me and for some child I’d like to have in the future? Ever since then I made a vow to dedicate my all to this every day.”  

Antonia, 21, was one of a small group of student activists who greeted delegates as they made their way into the Annual General Meeting on March 17, in advance of a keynote address by Seth Klein on “Mobilizing for the Climate Emergency.”  

Grade 9 student Nicholas Fairfield-Carter has been worried about climate change for years but was moved to take action this week by Greta Thunberg, the Swedish student who has inspired more than a million students to join her school strike for climate. On Friday, he joined students from across Victoria in a march and rally at the Legislature. “There was a great turnout,” he said. “Now is the time to take action.” 

Nicholas’s dad, Brian Fairfield-Carter, recalled his son’s “aha moment” about climate change. The family had been on a weekend camping trip and enjoyed beautiful weather until the Sunday morning. “We woke up to find ash from local wildfires covering our tent and the sky a weird coppery hue,” Brian said. “Nicholas looked up and asked something like: ‘Is this it? Is the world burning?’”  

Since then father and son have continued their learning about climate change and now are engaging more actively on the issue.  

Some students had the chance to speak to the meeting and expressed happiness that their teachers through the BCTF are focusing on education for climate justice. One student emphasized that the youth are inviting teachers’ support, not asking for their permission. He said: “Climate change is the defining issue of our generation. We’re going to continue striking, whether you endorse it or not.”        

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