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Halifax students to join global strike for climate change

On March 15, students in Halifax and around the world will be marching to demand action on climate change
(Stock photo)

On March 15, students in Halifax and around the world will march to demand action on climate change.

"We don't have the time to wait, that's not a luxury that we have anymore," says 17-year-old Katie Hutten.

Hutten is part of a group of five Grade 11 and 12 students from Citadel High School who have organized the Halifax student strike for Friday, March 15.

"Anybody who can listen to our message and change what's happening right now in the government, we welcome their ear, we welcome their opinion," Hutten says.

The movement is just one of dozens that will happen around the world, inspired by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who has been holding weekly protests in front of Sweden's parliament since August 2018.

In October 2018, the United Nations (UN) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report warning that if carbon emissions continue at the current rate, the Earth will reach a detrimental temperature threshold -- 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer than pre-industrial times -- by the year 2030.

"We want our government to understand that there is no planet B," says Rand Abounahia, another one of the strike organizers. "We need our Earth, we need a home, and we need a good place for the future generations to grow up in."

The group of students will begin at Citadel High at noon, and march to the Citadel Hill clock tower to meet up with students from other schools. From there, they will all head to city hall and Province House.

"I have a younger sister in junior high, and my mom has organized to bring my sister and a couple of her classmates down to the clock tower," says organizer Ivan Andreou.

The students say they have heard teens from other schools, including Halifax West, Charles P. Allen, and Eastern Passage, will join them. There are also students in other parts of the province, including Bridgewater and Amherst, organizing their own walkouts.

"We've been talking to some students who aren't able to come to our strike because it's too far, and they're doing their own mini-marches around their schools," says organizer Julia Sampson.

Through social media, the group has also been able to communicate with protests across the globe.

"I've contacted strike groups through Instagram in Manchester, West Australia, New Zealand," says Hutten. "We've been trying to organize video exchanges or some sort of support for one another."

But skipping school has consequences, even when it's for a good cause. The group says they will likely all face unexcused absences, or if their parents choose to call in, excused absences. 

"A lot of the teachers have been really supportive," says Grade 11 student Willa Fisher. "But obviously as teachers they're not allowed to condone us striking school."

Locally, the group says they'd like to get the attention of Halifax Mayor Mike Savage, Premier Stephen McNeil, and Nova Scotia Minister of Environment Margaret Miller.

"If they're not panicking about the climate crisis, then they must not understand it," says Hutten.

The main thing all the students emphasize is that climate change needs to be taken more seriously.

"This is a crisis," says Fisher. "It's not something that can be taken lightly."


Victoria  Walton

About the Author: Victoria Walton

After graduating from journalism at King's, Victoria Walton now works in the film industry and as's weekend editor.
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