The main reason I am a member and volunteer with the West Kootenay EcoSociety is for the opportunity to contribute to protecting our environment, supporting First Nations’ rights, and responding to the growing threat of human caused climate change,

since the health of the environment affects all of us. As I observed the George W Bush administration in the US and the Canadian Conservative government under Stephen Harper, I became deeply concerned that our governments have been neglecting important scientific research, human rights and other ethical issues, in favor of the demands of private industries for short term profits.

At first I felt like these situations were hopeless and that I couldn’t make a difference. It wasn’t until I was further informed at college by faculty and other students with similar concerns that I was motivated to advocate for climate action.

Meanwhile, I became friends with several students in environmental studies and forestry programs, who shared their knowledge of climate change, detailed impacts of pollution, along with solutions to these problems through technology and personal change. While spending time with them on extracurricular activities like campus litter pick up and watching documentaries, I learned that climate change was much more urgent than I previously thought: with global average temperatures increasing faster than scientists predicted, and natural feedback loops like melting permafrost adding C02 to industrial emissions. In addition, I learned just how harmful the then conservative federal government’s policies were for the environment, along with their disregard for climate change, which demonstrated the importance of using activism to speak out publicly to defend our environment and hold all levels of government accountable.

At the EcoSociety, I’ve continued to meet more people that share concerns for the environment and consequences of climate change, while joining them to advocate for local climate solutions. Even with the disappointment of our new federal Liberal government under Justin Trudeau continuing to expand fossil fuel projects that threaten our climate, and the election of Donald Trump reversing progress on US environmental policy, I remain motivated to continue advocating for climate action and the environment with the rest of our community of volunteers and staff. I’m inspired by the success we’ve already had with the commitments from the Village of Slocan and Nelson City councils to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050, through our 100% Renewable Kootenays campaign.