Approximately 200 people, young and old, gathered at Five Corners on Friday as the local incarnation of the Global Climate Strike, which was participated in by individuals in more than 150 countries, according to organizers.
Initially created as a way for young people to address climate change, adults were invited too. Locally, not a huge number of students attended the Chilliwack rally, but members of Chilliwack middle school’s Climate Change Club attended.
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Club founder 13-year-old Clara Markey spoke to the crowd about her concerns as a young person about climate change, and why the time to act is now.
“We still have time but our clock is ticking,” she said. “There is no question, there is no debate.”
CMS teacher Pedro Zullo also addressed the crowd, explaining how the club was the idea of students at the school.
The emcee at the event was Molly Armstrong who introduced various speakers who were given five minutes each. That list included: Eddi Gardner, a Sto:lo elder and member of the Wild Salmon Defenders Alliance; local activist Wayne Froese; Rachel Vroege from Western Canada Diaconal Ministries Canada; Kim Mallory founder of Chilliwack 4 Change; organic farmer Natalie Forstbauer; Michael Hale from Pipe UP; and Ian Stephen from The Waterwealth Project.
City of Chilliwack Coun. Jason Lum also spoke to the crowd, as did two candidates for the federal election, Liberal Kelly Velonis and Green Party candidate Arthur Green.
Several members of those election campaigns were also at the event with Liberal and Green signs. As many speakers expressed criticism of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion project, Velonis was left to defend the fact that the Liberals bought the pipeline and support the expansion.
“Let’s not worry about rocking the boat,” emcee Molly Armstrong said. “It’s sinking. Let’s bail it out together.”