'Our future is in jeopardy': students in Timmins organize a school walkout for environmental awareness
TIMMINS – Greta Thunberg would certainly be proud of teens in Timmins for taking their fight against environmental damage to City Hall.
Two students were planning for over a month and they say the goal is to make enough noise so everyone will listen.
"We want people to realize that this is a climate crisis. Our future is in jeopardy right now and people don't realize how severe it actually is. So we need the awareness to get out there," explained Jessica Kim and Mya Dolansjki, protest organizers.
Local politicians were certainly listening.
Area MPP Gilles Bisson helped arrange a safe protest area and says it's important for youth to feel empowered to speak out.
"Whenever you see young people who say, 'listen, I want to be involved. I want to try and make a difference,' I think it's important for us as politicians and community leaders to encourage them, to help them to get to where they got to go and achieving their goals. That's why I'm here, I want to make sure that they understand their plea is not falling on deaf ears," commented Bisson.
The city has made efforts to adopt eco-friendly habits, including a ban on single-use plastics.
After a two hour protest, the students returned to class and the local public school board issued a statement to CTV saying they "value and encourage student voices. We are impressed with our students' commitment to the environment. We honour their critical thinking and as such, no students will face disciplinary action for participating peacefully."
As for the two students who organized the walkout, they say they are not stopping there and that the plan is to work with Science Timmins on its eco-friendly projects and to fundraise for a local compost bin.