Climate strike activists and members of the Victoria Youth Council, Grace Sinats and Emma-Jane Burian, after the 24 Hours of Reality panel at Oak Bay High on Wednesday. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Weaver joins climate strike teens on Oak Bay High panel

Oak Bay hosts 24 Hours of Reality presentation

For 10 minutes on Wednesday, more than 350 Oak Bay High students sat riveted as they watched slide after slide of impending doom, catastrophe and apocalypse.

“You could hear a pin drop,” said Judy Fainstein, who delivered the evidenced-based Truth in Action presentation on Earth’s impending climate crisis. Fainstein is the lead mentor with the B.C. chapter of Climate Reality, the Al Gore-initiated organization which began in 2006 and created 24 Hours of Reality as a flagship event, held Nov. 20-21 this year.

The images and facts were grim enough to keep a room full of squirmy teenagers too uncomfortable to even cough.

READ MORE: Victoria teen pledges not to have children, demands action of world leaders

Luckily, it only lasted 10 minutes. At that point Stefan Jonsson, also of Climate Reality Canada, turned the presentation into an inspiring message of good news and climate solutions already underway.

“Don’t worry, we have the solutions,” Jonsson said. “We are exceeding our expectations in solar and wind.

“Can we change? Yes. Will we change? That’s the question.”

The presentation was followed by a panel that included 16-year-old Emma Jane Burian of View Royal and 14-year-old Grace Sinats of Claremont secondary school, who held their own with climate scientist Andrew Weaver, the Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA. They fielded questions from Oak Bay High students and a class of Mark Neufeld’s visiting International Global Studies students from Claremont secondary, a program Sinats is also in.

It was the first time Burian (Grade 11) and Sinats (Grade 9) have been on a panel in front of an audience. The two are part of Climate Strike Victoria organizing group, Our Earth, Our Future.

“We’ll be striking again Friday at Centennial Square in Victoria,” Burian said.

As a practiced politician, Weaver launched into the first question and left Burian and Sinats to follow. And without intimidation, they did.

Burian worked in a good analogy that before Canada can encourage other countries to minimize their GHG emissions it’s up to our country to clean up its mess.

“We learn that in preschool,” Burian said.

Sinats was equally impressive, citing the temperature change between ice ages.

“We’ve met with [Weaver] a lot so we know him pretty well,” Sinats said.

The two are on the Victoria Youth Council and were both on the Green Party’s election campaign.

“These two are inspirational, they’ve done their homework,” Weaver said. “When you hear them, they make me feel like my job is done and it’s time for [politicians] like me to get out of the way and to stop setting up barriers for them to accomplish what they need to.”

At least one Oak Bay student, Evan Armstrong, wasn’t content with the answer he got from the panel. He patiently, and politely, hung around to catch Weaver for a further explanation when it was all over.

“In general youth has very little geo-political impact,” Armstrong said, adding, “It’s great to have a climate scientist speak [at school] as usually it’s climate activists, so it’s good to have that lecture.”

reporter@oakbaynews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Greater Victoria liquor stores see spike in sales amidst COVID-19

Customers are buying go-to products in larger quantities

Spring shift in service includes no weekend late night bus services in Greater Victoria

Annual shift into spring sees additional decrease in frequency on multiple routes

UVic Vikes new basketball coach on the fast track

At 26, Shalie Dheensaw assumed head coaching role

Excess activity damaging Saanich golf course – despite being closed

Cedar Hill Golf Course manager reminds people of the 170 parks available in Saanich

VIDEO: ‘Used gloves and masks go in the garbage,’ says irked B.C. mayor

Health officials have said single-use gloves won’t do much to curb the spread of COVID-19

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

POLL: Will you be able to make your rent or mortgage payment this month?

With the COVID-19 delivering a devastating blow to the global economy, and… Continue reading

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Black Press Media ad sparks discussion about value of community newspapers

White Rock resident hopes front-page note shines light on revenue loss during COVID-19 crisis

Nanaimo man arrested after allegedly setting house fire

Firefighters arrived to find mobile home ablaze on Barnes Road in Cedar on Thursday

Businesses advised to prepare for federal, B.C. COVID-19 assistance

Canada Revenue Agency portal expected to open next week

Dogs are property, not kids, B.C. judge tells former couple

Court decision made on competing lawsuits over Zeus and Aurora — a pit bull and pit bull cross

B.C. senior gives blood for 200th time, has ‘saved’ 600 lives

There was no cutting of cake for Harvey Rempel but he’s challenging youth to start donating blood

Most Read