Vancouver youth rally against coal port expansions

On Thursday February 7, youth from around Vancouver will march to the offices of Port Metro Vancouver to say no to increased coal exports. The young protestors are going in person to protest the recent approval of a proposal by Neptune Terminals to increase their coal exports by 50 per cent.

“Young people are always told these decisions are necessary to ensure a healthy economy,” said Noah Berson, a grade eight student at Windermere Secondary,“ but this is not the economy Vancouver’s youth want for their future.”

Port Metro Vancouver’s mandate from the federal government is “to operate with broad public support in the best interests of Canadians.” Kids for Climate Action is organizing the event to show the Port that those who will suffer the consequences of their decision neither support the decision, nor do they feel it is in their best interests.

If Port Metro Vancouver (PMV) also approves a second proposal to increase exports at Fraser Surrey Docks, Vancouver would become the largest coal exporter in North America. The Port has been saying they have no responsibility for the goods they transport, and that if Vancouver doesn’t export it another city will.

“The idea that it’s okay because ‘if we don’t sell it someone else will’ is just wrong.”  Says Sharon Kay, age 17, “No parent has ever said ‘it’s okay to become a drug dealer, because if you don’t sell drugs someone else will.’”

Kids for Climate Action has been trying to set up a meeting with Craig Neeser, Chair of the PMV Board, or other Directors, since they are the individuals responsible for these decisions. However, no members of the Board have been willing to meet with these young climate action advocates.

“By the time my future kids are in high school, there will be over 25 per cent less food in Africa and half the species on earth will be extinct. This is the legacy of our parent’s generation,” Says Sam Harrison, age 16, director at Kids for Climate Action “surely they owe it to us to not make it worse.”

Thursday, high school, elementary school, and university students as well as toddlers with parents from around Vancouver will be gathering at the City Centre Canada Line station right after school at 4:15, and then marching to the offices of Port Metro Vancouver at Canada Place. Once the students have arrived, they will protest these proposals and demand accountability on behalf of the decisions makers of the Port.

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