OPINION: No age requirements for change

As the sunniest days of the year are becoming shorter and back-to-school supplies hit the shelves, a new chapter is about to begin for Squamish students.

In the last year, our local kids and teens have made the news time and again with their efforts to make Squamish and the world a better place to live. There was the proposed plastic reduction, going ahead by the end of the year, an idea brought to District council by the Howe Sound Secondary Eco Club. Students took to the streets (with a stop to speak to the mayor) multiple times to demand action against climate change from local government. Their voices were heard, and Squamish declared a climate emergency. Students also marched and drummed and sang down the highway to call for an end of violence against Indigenous women and girls. Just this summer, HSS student Sarah Sheng launched her own non-profit — at only 17 years old. Now that’s quite the vacation.

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Every year, during Pitch-In Week in Squamish, local media and District staff get together with students to have a friendly competition to see who can pick up the most junk. Sure, it doesn’t sound like a necessarily fun way to spend your time (especially considering the downpour that day), but seeing the piles of trash was eye-opening. We spent less than 30 minutes with some gloves and bags, and the area we tackled was the better for it. And the winners of the competition? The students.

It can be easy to get bogged down with the weight of the world. Daunting deadlines (bills and rent) and daunting headlines (climate change predictions, the gondola’s crash suspected to be intentional) loom above our heads. Finding the negative is all too easy.

Luckily, it’s also easy to make a change. Start small: pick up trash when you see it. Make sure you’re following bear and wildfire safety guidelines. Listen to what those around you — including kids — are really saying. 

As they get ready to continue learning, let’s follow Squamish students’ example and remember you’re never too young — or too old — to do some good.

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@ Copyright Squamish Chief

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