After 11 years of bringing you local reporting, the team behind the Vancouver Observer has moved on to Canada's National Observer. You can follow Vancouver culture reporting over there from now on. Thank you for all your support over the years!

"It's Our Future!": Vancouver youth rally to demand that Port of Metro Vancouver say "NO" to coal exports

(Page 2 of 2)

We’re not fighting this because we hate corporations. We’re here because our future depends on it. We’re at a pivotal point in human history where our well-being and the well-being of our future children depend on us. Port Metro Vancouver, stand up for us!

We’re not some group of foreign funded radicals. We are just a bunch of kids. Kids just like theirs. Like their sons, daughters, neighbours, maybe their grandchildren. We’re kids and we’re scared for what the future holds. Their generation has made it bad enough for us. They owe it to us to not make it worse. Show some leadership Port Metro Vancouver, it’s your moral responsibility!

            We asked the board of directors to meet with us. They’re the decision makers; they’re the ones who are accountable for this decision. Learning that they don’t all live in Vancouver, we simply asked to meet with Craig Neeser, the chair of the Board. After having to ask multiple times and extensive emailing with the port, he took 5 minutes out of his day to write us a letter saying he won’t meet with us.


Craig Neeser, Chair of the Board of Port of Metro Vancouver

The Port pays him around $100,000 to attend a minimum of only six meetings and a two day retreat. He couldn’t take 15 minutes out of his day to meet with a bunch of kids who will pay the price for his decisions.


One of the staff has offered to meet with us. He is not accountable for these decisions. Do we want to meet with him anyway?

(mixed response from the crowd)

It’s an open invitation so if we want to we can call them and they will come out here and talk to us.

Let’s do it!


Sam then spoke with the Port’s public relations officer who told him the Vice President for Social Responsibility was available to speak with them, but the room would only hold seven people. Seven kids went to meet with three Port representatives, no press, no adults in support, while the remaining kids stood at the door to the meeting room and waited for about an hour.

A girl of about six, one of several performers from Bowen Island, objected to having to leave the protest early to catch the ferry.

“ Do we have to go?,” she pleaded. “I want to see what happens. I want to see if the Port people start crying.”

When Sam and the other six returned, Sam told the rest of the youth:

They told us we are wasting our time and that we should take this somewhere else. Where else do they want us to take it? They said it is not in their jurisdiction, which is questionable, and that they would like to discuss this further. They were talking about organizing an event or something where they would like have people from both sides come, scientists and the public and Members of Parliament.

Will they delay signing until they have a meeting with you?

They didn’t say. When we asked them if they would say no to the Fraser Surrey expansion, they said they might say no. It could be them not being entirely honest with us.

Did they give you a date?

They did not give us a date. They said they would get back to us.

The youth then discussed whether they should be positive and appreciate the invitation to talk more, or whether the Port was manipulating their good intentions with a public relations ploy to distract them. They decided to believe that the Port would do the right thing.

More in Earth Matters

What to do when the IPCC gets you down

There's only so much end of the world you can take. Here's what you can do about it.

Learning the language of climate solutions

If someone had told me how hard learning another language was I wouldn't have tried.

Failure not an option for climate movement

Saying the climate movement is a failure and we should give up is not an option.
Speak up about this article on Facebook or Twitter. Do this by liking Vancouver Observer on Facebook or following us @Vanobserver on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you.