I’m Skye, I was born and raised in Kelowna but now live in Burnaby and study sustainable business at SFU.
However, my future is uncertain.
At times, thinking about what my future will look like, I find it truly terrifying. Take Kelowna for example: I remember evacuating my home at the age of 3 years old when the infamous Okanagan Mountain Park wildfire in 2003 devastated my hometown. I remember watching my mom sweep bits of white ash off of our deck wondering why it was snowing in the summer. I remember the constant smell of smoke. I remember feeling fear. Fear of the unknown and uncertainty.
Although that specific event may not have been directly related to climate change we already know that the number and severity of natural disasters, like forest fires, will increase. Those memories that I carry, the fear I felt, will be the ones that millions of children around the world will call their own experiences if we don’t act on the climate crisis.
Climate change has been coined by many around the globe as the greatest challenge that mankind has yet to face. Anthropogenic climate change knows no boundaries. It is complex and multi-faceted. It wreaks havoc on millions of organisms, homes and impacts real lives. It has been dismissed and denied and action delayed. It is unlike any problem we have faced before. It is SO easily forgotten in our everyday lives until it is right at our front doors.
Flash forward to last summer. I felt the same fear as in 2003 when a fire had sparked in the same regional park due to the extended hot and dry environment that lead to a record-breaking wildfire season. Neighboring houses were being put on evacuation alert and at the time I was preparing to move to Burnaby for school. I remember feeling fear. Fear of the unknown and uncertainty. Unsure if I would get to return to my childhood home when Christmas break came around. So I moved here, leaving behind a box full of photos and keepsakes for my parents, that was labelled "please take in an evacuation". Because I know the climate crisis doesn’t take a break.
Me (left) & fellow Sustainabilliteen, Maya at the March 15th Vancouver Climate Strike
We still have time to tackle the climate crisis, but we need bold action now. We need bold action from everybody; cities, provinces, the federal government, and you. I have already learnt that governments will not take the necessary action unless we demand it. And we cannot sit passively by while the world and my future burns. This is why I, and millions of young people around the world are rising up and demanding change.
People label us as ‘inspirational’, ‘impressive’ and the ‘hope for the future’. But it is not enough that you pin your hopes on our shoulders, you must become part of the movement for change too. I am rising up to make a change. I am rising up for my future. And I want you to rise up with me.
Please don’t let future generations be brought up in a burning world. Will you stand with me on September 27th, and strike with youth across the world?
For our future’s sake,
This is a guest blog written by Skye, a youth organizer with the Sustainabiliteens.