Yellowknife high school students gathered in front of the legislative assembly on May 24 for the second climate change strike this month.

Around the world, striking students have held demonstrations demanding climate change action to mitigate further global warming, inspired by Fridays for Future organizer Greta Thunberg.

Yellowknife students striking for climate change action outside the legislative assembly on Friday. From left: Anusha Sivakumar, Emily Bayha, Ella Kokelj, Donny Boake, Daniel Enge, Jack Kotaska, Rae Panayi, Chloe Malin and Dahra Maduke. Meaghan Richens/NNSL photo.

Ella Kokelj, a 16-year-old student at Sir John Franklin High School, organized the demonstration and was happy to see MLAs address the youth and their concerns during session.

“But I think some of the responses could have been a little more substantial and not just kind of big vague statements,” she said.

Creating a Northern centre of innovation is important, said Kokelj, to help people share ideas and find solutions to tackle climate change in the NWT.

“I know people have raised concerns about electric vehicles, how they’re not necessarily as easy to transfer to the North,” she said. “But I think that there’s definitely the technology out there, we just need to create a venue or centre where people can come together and talk about those ideas and find constructive solutions for a Northern environment.”

For Kokelj, seeing governments acknowledge the severity of the climate situation is a start towards fixing the problem.

“The choices and action or inaction that the government takes around climate change will be a defining factor in my future and our generation’s future,” SHE SAID.

Kokelj isn’t sure yet how often they’ll be striking outside the territorial legislature.

“But (we will be) definitely continuing to strike until we see adequate climate action and response from government officials that have taken climate change seriously,” she said.

Meaghan Richens

Meaghan Richens is from Ottawa, Ont., and grew up in Perth. She moved to Yellowknife in May 2018 after completing her bachelor’s degree in journalism at Carleton University. She writes about politics,...

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