Masset high school students took to the streets on March 14, marching out of class and up to the main street and market with drums, climate justice posters as well as a petition.
The Gudangaay Tlaats’gaa Naay Secondary students’ climate justice posters had messages including “the oceans are rising, so are we” and “ban the bag.”
The march was part of walkouts that occurred worldwide in more than 100 countries, mostly taking place on March 15.
“Along the way we sang a few Haida songs and gave some speeches,” said Nathaniel White, a Grade 11 student council member involved in organizing the student climate strike.
White said they sang the Haida anthem and made speeches detailing their demands, which include banning plastic bags, implementing a climate justice curriculum at schools, and only logging sustainably on Haida Gwaii.
He said they also collected more than 30 signatures for a plastic bag ban petition, which they eventually plan to present to local government.
“A lot of people were taking pictures and there was applause,” White said of public reaction to the march.
After walking out at 1 p.m., the march lasted about 45 minutes, White said, and after the strike he and his fellow students returned to school.
“We thought that we really made our point,” he said.
In Prince Rupert, a few elementary and middle school students also participated in the worldwide walkouts.
At 10 a.m. on Friday, sisters Elise, Scotia and Irene Caputo as well as Zoe McCoy, students of Roosevelt Park Elementary School and Prince Rupert Middle School, took to the steps of city hall for a sit-in.
“We saw on Facebook that kids from all over the world are staging sit-ins to raise awareness about climate change and we decided to do the same thing,” McCoy said.
School District No. 52 Superintendent Irene LaPierre said over the phone that she was in support of the students and their initiative.
“If the children get permission from their parents, we are glad to see them out there raising awareness on this important issue,” LaPierre said.