Since my daughter was born two years ago, I’ve grown increasingly concerned for her future. Yes, all parents worry about their children’s future, but this is different.
I’m concerned she will be growing up in a decaying world and the hopelessness that could result. Will she be safe from sea level rise? Will she always have access to clean water? Will she ever enjoy a summer without breathing wildfire smoke?
Thankfully, I am not alone in my concerns. On March 15th an estimated 1.5 million youth from over 120 countries went on strike for the climate as part of the growing Fridays for Future initiative. The youth are demanding their elected officials recognize climate change for what it is – an emergency – and act.
In October 2018, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report that supports what the youth are telling us. Scientists and experts concluded that governments around the world must make unprecedented changes to all aspects of society to avoid disastrous levels of global warming.
The consequences of not following the IPCCs recommendations will be felt locally. The Fraser River Basin Council estimates nearly three-quarters of the Lower Mainland’s dikes are insufficient to deal with predicted sea level rise and a major flood would cost more than $20 billion dollars. A 2009 Township report estimates having to switch over completely to GVRD water due to aquifer depletion would cost the Township approximately $2 million annually. This is not to mention the inestimable health and human costs associated with an increase in respiratory and heat-related illnesses.
My concern for my daughter and her future led me to get involved with the BC Greens of Langley, the BC Green Party riding association for the Langley and Langley-East electoral districts. I am thankful to have found a group of like-minded individuals who are similarly concerned for the environment.
We have been inspired by the world-wide youth climate strike movement, and recently initiated weekly Fridays for Future climate strikes in front of the Township Civic Centre.
We are demanding that the Township of Langley declare a climate emergency and begin taking the necessary steps to bring community emissions in line with IPCC recommendations.
I hope those reading this will join us in this call.
Cheryl Wiens, Communications Coordinator, BC Greens of Langley