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Banting students demonstrate for climate change action

December 6, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

Over 100 students at Banting Memorial High School in Alliston traded their textbooks for protest signs during a lunchtime action in support of climate change action on Friday, November 29.

The rally was held on the lawn in front of the school beginning just after noon.

The students are concerned about climate change and the effect it will have on their future.

“We’re all skipping class to do this,” said student event organizer, Tavin Sharp. “This is what we believe in. This is called the Banting Climate Strike. Our main goal was to Alliston to declare a climate emergency. We here to show them that we care about this and it’s important to our community. We have a whole community out here.”

Several older local people also attended the protest in support of the students.

“For the bigger picture we want a new green deal,” Mr. Sharp explained. “We have petitions going around we are signing for the climate emergency and a new green deal. The green deal – that’s our bigger picture, that’s our main goal, but this our stepping stone. This event is part of Fridays for Future. We signed up on the website. This is a global strike day.”

Guest speaker, Dr. Brent Elsey, is a retired physician who spoke at the rally and encouraged the kids to move forward and offered several initiatives they can take such as not using plastic drinking straw, not using one-time plastic packaging, and forgoing meat one day each week.

He formerly practiced in Alliston but currently lives in Barrie.

“In Barrie, there’s a group of doctors, 26 of us, who have come together and formed a group that is advocating for action at political levels,” he said. “We’re going to be meeting with representatives at provincial and federal levels. We’re non-partisan. We’re worried about the health impacts of climate change because there will be fairly significant ones specifically on the very old and very young and marginal populations. The impacts of climate change will hit them the hardest and this will have an impact on healthcare delivery. We’re already seeing, because of warming, certain diseases coming into areas where we didn’t have it before. We’re also seeing more concerns about food safety. We also see water being an issue down the road as well, particularly with plastics in it.”

The students reacted enthusiastically to speakers at the rally and received significant support from passing motorists who honked their horns in support of the rally.


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