Youth to rally on Sunday to demand climate change action by Barrie city council

Youth say they want their voices heard

Youth will take to the streets of downtown Barrie Sunday to demand their voices be heard in the development of the city’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan.

“They can listen to us and they can create more policies in bettering climate action,” said spokesperson Kaylyn Wilkinson of the Simcoe County Environmental Youth Alliance (SCEYA)

Youth will gather at City Hall at 1 p.m. and march to Meridian Place for a rally and speeches.

“It’s going to be fun, and we are going to have posters and getting our voices heard showing that we really mean business,” added Wilkinson.

SCEYA is a group of young people from across Simcoe County advocating for climate justice. They are organizing a climate strike in downtown Barrie as part of the #ImagineBarrie campaign, which seeks to envision what the future of Barrie could look like with real climate action and to urge the government to take that action.

“We, the youth, are demanding not only to be heard but to be considered,” said Emily Goodson, president of the Simcoe County Environmental Youth Alliance, in a news release. “It is time that cities are held accountable for their lack of action on the climate crisis.” 

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In the news release, the group said they were going to fight for youth involvement in decisions affecting them in the “ever-near future.”

“This is a much-needed rally as the government refuses to prioritize public and environmental health. Unlike other issues, the climate crisis negatively impacts every member of a community. Some communities, particularly BIPOC, are disproportionately affected by climate change more than others, and it is our duty to bring this to the attention of the government and work to make immediate efforts to support these groups.”

The youths have several demands of Barrie city council.

“Something that I think we should strive to accomplish is to be fully powered by green energy by 2030, it’s a big goal, but one that would create so much positive change and really push us on the right track,” said Wilkinson.

SCEYA also wants improvements to the city’s public transit systems and investment in BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) communities.

“It’s time that government decisions are made inclusive to youth and community members, so everyone has a voice to create the future we want to live in,” said SCEYA.