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It's been another year of higher than average temperatures, raging wildfires and destructive floods, and Friday afternoon several dozen people who believe climate change is to blame got together at the intersection of Main Street and Fairview Road in downtown Penticton as part of the latest Global Climate Strike.
The group brought placards and made more on site, and waved them peacefully at passing motorists for approximately a half hour before marching down the Main Street sidewalk to City Hall, where, according to organizer Lori Goldman of Penticton, an equally peaceful demonstration unfolded.
The effort was endorsed by climate action organization First Things First Okanagan and as we said earlier was organized by Goldman, who's no stranger to speaking out on climate change and describes herself as a "concerned citizen who's been involved in sustainable living since 1974."
"We've just seen what happened in West Kelowna, the difficulties and the amount of property that was lost," said Goldman.
"So if we build better buildings, if we build better active transportation, if we tree canopy and get fossil fuel out of new buildings and don’t build any new pipelines beside Penticton going up to Chute Lake, we here, in our little town, can make a difference.
"And we can influence other places across BC and Canada that building better communities and reducing emissions will keep us safer and reduce costs."
We asked Goldman her comeback to those who aren't quite as convinced climate change is to blame.
"No one is saying you have to throw out your gas-powered car or stove," she replied. "But we do have to transition. So any new fossil fuel projects and exploration have to stop now. And we have to put our effort into developing all the renewable energy that's at our fingertips.
"It's about the survival of the planet."
Rally attendee Jim Beattie has been a member of First Things First since its formation.
"I'm here today because I think we have to continually raise the issue that we're concerned about what’s happening around us," he said.
"We can’t just ignore the signs. The basis of what we feel is that we have too much carbon in the atmosphere, and there are basic reasons why that's happening."
We asked Beattie why, if the issue is critical, hundreds don’t regularly show up for rallies such as Friday's.
"That's interesting," he said. "I go to places like the Farmers' Market and I'm always impressed by the number of people who are concerned. But people are reticent to talk to others about it. The majority of people believe climate change is real, but telling others isn’t always easy."
For more info on First Things First Okanagan, which is bringing in prominent climate change activist Seth Klein for a talk at Okanagan College Penticton on Sept. 21st, follow this link.