Friday, May 17, 2019 - By: Zjaya D, Allard ‘19; Photo By Cole W, Whittall ‘19

Last August, 15 year old Greta Thunberg began a movement that soon grew into a worldwide initiative to address the severity of the climate change crisis. Greta began her individual protest by sitting in front of the Swedish parliament every school day for three weeks. She posted her actions on social media where it soon became viral. She continued to strike every Friday until the Riksdag addressed the issues of climate change. What became known as #FridaysforFuture has become an initiative on the global scale.

Two Fridays ago, to raise awareness of the increasingly dangerous effects of climate change, Brentwood students and staff dressed in the colours blue and green to represent the importance of our planet. The entire Brentwood community, led by the Brentwood Environmental Action Team (BEAT),  takes pride in being “green”; everyone on campus works to ensure a low carbon footprint, which is supported by many of the programs set in place here to promote and practice sustainability, including, but not limited to, a sophisticated waste management system, the use of Green Seal cleaning products, and energy efficient lighting and heating installed in our newer buildings. 

Also, a motivated group of students took a stronger stand against climate change, and went out into the Mill Bay community, determined to spread awareness of the looming issues, as well as work hard to make a difference and help the environment. The group spent the entire morning picking up trash, not only on the Brentwood campus, but around the community of Mill Bay. After collecting dozens of pounds of litter, the students displayed the mountains of garbage they picked up at the main intersection to show the residents of Mill Bay the horrific amount of trash that has been carelessly dumped on the grounds of the community. This group did not stop their incredible initiative there; the “gathering was started by collecting this garbage and then displaying it in front of drivers on the highway whilst we encouraged and educated the drivers on efficient ways to reduce carbon emissions such as using public transportation, catalytic converters, bicycles, walking, solar power, wind power, and many others” says Anne H, one of the students that took part in the movement. 

It is important to understand that this movement was not an excuse to get out of class; this group of young leaders took the initiative to take a stand against a very serious issue in the world, and are taking action to better the world. At Brentwood, students are encouraged to advocate for what they believe is right, and to do their part in making a positive impact in the world, as reflected in the well-known phrase at Brentwood, “Choose to Be”. 

Anne went on to say “I find it impactful because if we as Canadians, or even Bentwood students, expect any change to happen to prevent the destruction of our oceans and habitats, we must start now and in our area”. Think Globally, Act Locally.

What once began as the act of one teenager in Sweden has grown into a worldwide movement to encourage people in all corners of the globe to address the extremely serious and dangerous issue of climate change. The #FridaysforFuture strike is not an excuse for students to leave class, but rather asks the question “Why study for a future, which may not be there?”, and take part in making a difference.

Zjaya D, Allard ‘19

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