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Iqaluit high school students walk out for the environment

Inuksuk High School students walked out of their school June 5, spilling onto the streets of Iqaluit.

Students Angela Austria, Cassidy Ann Netser and Mac Pavia organized the walk-out for the environment.

More than 50 Grade 9 to 12 students staged a walk-out from Inuksuk High School in Iqaluit to demonstrate they care about the environment.
photo courtesy Robynn Pavia

"We were sitting in our social (studies) class and our teacher started talking about the carbon in the atmosphere, actually how we were close to a tipping point, a point of no return. It just kind of occurred to us that we felt there wasn't enough action being done here," said Pavia.

"So we wanted to show that the youth really care about our environment. It was also mentioned that we wanted to be able to exercise our own rights and freedom of speech."

Inuksuk High School students Jennifer Ellsworth, left, and Malaya Lisa Knicklebein took part in an organized walk-out for the environment in Iqaluit June 5.
photo courtesy Robynn Pavia

From the high school, more than 50 Grade 9 to 12 students walked down to Four Corners, where the community demonstrated its solidarity.

"Just having cars honking as they drove by at the Four Corners intersection was a really big deal, kind of surreal watching strangers honk for a cause that they just kind of saw right there. It was nice to see that the community supported us," said Pavia.

From Four Corners, the students moved on to the Nunavut legislative assembly to signal to politicians that youth care. The students want the government to create a youth advocacy board.

"So there could be some sort of dialogue between the youth and the government. We also wanted to ask that climate change be considered a crisis and that it's given a little more attention, because at the end of the day it's going to be my generation that will end up inheriting this planet," said Pavia.

"If the environment has been damaged so badly that we can't live off of it there's not much for me or my kids. We also asked for stronger environmental policies to be put in place."

The event took three weeks to plan.

"I think the goal of this one was to try and open up the dialogue between students and government and show that there are enough students out here who care. Hopefully next year this will be carried on," said Pavia.

Iqaluit residents showed their support for Inuksuk High School students and their cause by honking as they drove by Four Corners.
photo courtesy Robynn Pavia