Girls from Thetis Island and Westholme are prominent among the Cowichan Valley Earth Guardians who staged the climate strike in Duncan Friday as part of worldwide action inspired by Swedish youth Greta Thunberg.
Katia Bannister, 16, and crew leader Sierra Robinson, 17, have been instrumental in getting the message across about the climate change crisis not only to other young people, but adults as well. Close to 600 people turned out at Duncan City Square to march, listen to speeches and rally around the cause, slightly more than the crowd that gathered for a previous event in Duncan in the spring.
Other students from Chemainus and Crofton took part in the rally.
“I was really pleased with the turnout and the people who showed up,” said Bannister, who read a poem on stage that went over really well.
The attendance was gratifying since “it didn’t seem like the weather was going to be great,” she added.
“It was a great energy – very positive and very supportive of the youth,” noted parent Kelly Bannister. “Parents and adults that had been involved with them gave them the space.”
The community’s youth grabbed the spotlight and ran with it, emphasizing something needs to be done on a large scale about our climate before it’s too late.
There was a great mix of all ages and many innovative signs were displayed.
It’s hoped to keep the momentum going and Katia Bannister is fully on board with anything that will advance the cause and the need for change.
“We’re hoping in the future to host our own events – not necessarily strikes, but more action-related days,” she said.
“We’ve got quite a big following at this point, something I’m pretty proud of.”
Bannister handles the Earth Guardians’ social media platforms. Since starting in May, she pointed out there are now close to 300 followers on Instagram and 317 on Facebook and growing rapidly.
Bannister does most of the posts.