Taking a stand on climate change

Larissa Wiebe and her son Archer took the time to educate others about climate change outside Winkler City Hall, Sept. 27. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

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Climate strikes attracted millions of people across the world on Friday, Sept. 27, and one of those with a picket sign was Larissa Wiebe.

She was stationed in front of Winkler City Hall after posting a message to others to join her as part of Fridays For Future.

Wiebe was joined by a handful of Garden Valley Collegiate students for the protest she said was inspired by the movement started by Swedish teenager Greta Thunsberg.

“Our Amazon is burning, our oceans our dying and our reefs are disappearing,” she said.

Wiebe said the event is to encourage political leaders to act.

“Basically we’re globally striking (so) that our governments and our political leaders take a stand to make the changes that we need to see, to reduce those carbon emissions,” she said. “The way that we’re going right now, in 10 years from now there’s no going back. Our future generations are at stake.”

The cause has always been important to Wiebe.

“I grew up doing a lot of camping so I always appreciated nature and somewhere late in my teen years I became passionate about environmentalism,” she explained. “I’ve been for years trying to convince friends and family members to reduce their waste and change the way they see the world.”

Wiebe said even at the municipal level, action should take place.

“I think local communities need to band together to make changes,” she said. “I think if it’s done on a global scale it will impact those local communities and we’re going to end up being reactive instead of proactive.”

She said changes in the price or availability of fossil fuels will have a huge effect. “I think that it’s important that we’re proactive about that to try and minimize the chaos that the community will then see,” she said.

Wiebe admits for many, the message of fighting climate change falls on deaf ears.

“I think there’s a lot of ‘well the world’s going to burn one day anyway’ and I think that it’s important that we change our viewpoint on that and we realize that if God made the world so perfect, why are we destroying it?” she said. “Why are we destroying the one gift God gave us to sustain our lives?”

She urged people to recognize their footprint and the signs of climate change.

“We live in sort of a bubble here in the Pembina Valley, where we’re not affected by massive hurricanes that are getting worse and worse, we don’t have wildfires, we don’t have those massive storms,” she said. “I think that we kind of feel protected and safe when in reality the droughts that we’re having in the springs and the heavy rainfall we’re having in the falls… those are a direct result of climate change.”