PEI

Skipping school for climate change: Teen sisters organize protest

Two Tyne Valley teens are hoping to encourage P.E.I.'s new government to take more action on climate change.

The MacLean sisters want people to feel hope and take action

Sisters Kory MacLean, left, and Skye MacLean organized the Fridays for Future protest in which students skip school Fridays to bring awareness to climate change. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Two Tyne Valley teens are hoping to encourage P.E.I.'s new government to take more action on climate change.

Sisters Kory, 15, and Skye MacLean, 13, organized a youth climate strike Friday in downtown Charlottetown. 

The teens said the protest is part of the Fridays for Future movement that has seen youth around the globe speaking out for better policies on climate change, inspired by 16-year-old Swedish teen Greta Thunberg, who began her strike last August by refusing to attend school on Fridays if adults refused to do more to address climate change.

'We want our voice to be heard'

"I just think our future really needs it and our planet is in a crisis," said Skye. "Our children won't have a future if we don't take action now." 

Kids of all ages took part in the protest Friday. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

"It's a youth-powered movement, skip school to show our solidarity," said Kory. "If schools aren't caring about our future, we do. We want our voice to be heard."  

The sisters said they want politicians to feel the same pressure to make change that they are feeling.

The protest happened from noon to 2 p.m. in front of the legislature on Grafton Street.

'Fantastic ideas'

Along with other politicians, P.E.I.'s Minister of Environment, Water and Climate Change Brad Trivers chatted with the protestors. 

"When I heard there was going to be a youth strike for climate change, I said 'I need to be there,'" Trivers said. "I'm here to listen."

Trivers met with the sisters in advance of the protest and said they shared some "fantastic ideas" with him including school environment fairs. Trivers said his department is coming up with more plans for further action.  

'We need to really work at reducing plastics,' says Environment, Water and Climate Change Minister Brad Trivers, who met with the protestors in advance of the protest. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

"There is a Climate Change Action Plan and Strategy that was already in place from the previous administration — we're moving forward with that and we're going to add to it." 

"I think it went really well," said Kory, of the discussion with Trivers. 

"There's so many changes you can make. There's so much you can do. You just have to have the courage to go out there and do it," she said.

The sisters say they will likely take part in another similar global day of protest this fall, and it will not be a weekly event. 

'Just us being here and showing our support and letting politicians and government officials know that "Hey, we're here! Listen!,"' is why they began the Fridays for Future protest on P.E.I., says Kory MacLean. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

More P.E.I. news

With files from Island Morning and Brian Higgins

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