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Nelson candlelight vigil held outside MLA's office to remember those lost to climate disasters

Updated: Jan 12, 2022

The West Kootenay Climate Hub helped to organize candlelight vigils outside of MLA offices in Nelson and Castlegar on December 13 – part 25 vigils held across the Province. Read on for more about the Nelson event. For the Castlegar event, please click here.

On Monday December 13 at 5 PM in front of MLA Brittny Anderson’s constituency office in Nelson, about 70 people gathered to remember those who have lost their lives due to Climate-related disasters this year in British Columbia.

The gathering was part of a province-wide campaign, organized by the BC Climate Emergency Unit, that seeks to commemorate those who died during the Heat Dome, floods, fires, mudslides, and other climate-related disasters this year — and to call on elected representatives to confront the climate emergency with actions, not just words and “aspirational goals”.

Judith Fearing and Dr. Andre Piver, of the newly-formed association Doctors and Nurses for Planetary Health, both spoke of the growing impacts that the Climate Crisis is having on people’s health. The effects range from the tragic extreme of actual deaths resulting from heat, fire and mudslides to less noticeable but much more widespread challenges with mental health, chronic disease management and more.

In April of this year, Nelson-Creston MLA Brittny Anderson was named Premier Horgan’s Special Advisor on Youth. Millions of young people around the world have been taking to the streets - from Adelaide, Australia to Bulowayo, Zimbabwe - demanding ACTION on Climate from their/our governments.

At Monday’s vigil, 17-year old Fridays for Future and Extinction Rebellion activist Peregrine Hoskins, who is in the Mt Sentinel graduating class of 2022, told the crowd in no uncertain terms that their cohorts are very worried about the state of the world they are graduating into. Many are finding it hard to consider spending the next 4+ years going to university to learn for future careers that seem so uncertain and cannot see themselves ever becoming parents. Clearly these (justified) fears have a very detrimental effect on young people’s mental health.

17-year old Peregrine Hoskins speaking at the vigil.

Adolescence, schooling, moving out of parental homes, embarking on post-secondary education or starting a career; all these life stages come with stresses and challenges. What is very different for today’s young people is that the very climate that has allowed our civilization to flourish is now reacting to the increased levels of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) in our atmosphere. Fires such as the one that destroyed the village of Lytton this year are becoming more common. The Heat Dome brought record-breaking heat to large parts of the province this summer.

A few short months after the Climate Emergency Unit penned an open letter to Premier Horgan explaining that the current CleanBC plan “needs a reboot” and that “the BC Government must act now to confront our climate emergency”, the province experienced record-breaking floods and previously unimaginable infrastructure damage. That open letter, which includes 10 actions to address the climate emergency, has now been signed by 100s of organizations across BC.

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