The call to action that young climate activist Greta Thunberg issued is still resonating around the world including here in Williams Lake.
One of the people inspired by Thunberg is the lakecity’s own Ella Kruus, a Grade 7 student at Columneetza. Kruus is a competitive figure skater and a dancer when not attending school or being otherwise active in the community.
One thing that Kruus has become especially invested and involved in is environmental activism which started with volunteering for the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society and thanks to the mentorship of one of her teachers, Frances McCoubrey.
In recent months Kruus has taken to participating and even organizing climate action marches. In May of 2019, she organized a climate strike amongst the students of Williams Lake while in September of 2019 she took part in the climate action march that took place around the world.
Most recently at the end of February Kruus was a presenter and member of a climate action panel in Surrey at the Cross Border Conference, an event that invites students from Washington State and B.C. to gather to discuss the social issues of the day.
“I think (climate change) is something we really need to act on and there is barely any time left so if we don’t act now there will be nothing left,” Kruus said.
Kruus said McCoubrey asked her and her friend, Julia Zirnhelt, to attend the conference in Surrey, where they were on a panel along with five other youth. For an hour or so, they answered questions from the moderator on climate change and how they’ve been combatting it.
Afterwards, they gave a presentation in a workshop run by McCoubrey at the event.
Overall, Kruus said she really loved meeting the other panelists whom she got to share ideas with. Both she and Zirnhelt were the youngest panelists in attendance with the rest of the students being in either Grade 12 or Grade 8 and all from the Lower Mainland.
The most interesting thing they talked about, Kruus said, was how many of the other panelists had been invited to take part in photo ops with politicians for political reasons, which is something that’s never happened to her. On their end, Kruus said her fellow panelists found it interesting how much of Williams Lake’s economy relies on resource extraction.
“It really inspired me to move forward and that’s when I started planning my second climate march,” Kruus said.
She feels that the youth of the world, led and inspired by Thunberg’s example, are starting a movement towards real change and it’s something she’d like to be a part of. Kruus felt that she couldn’t just sit by and do nothing, so she resolved to start getting involved in any way she could.
Personally, Kruus would like the government to focus on committing to reducing the use of single-use plastics in Canada and work towards investing more in renewable energy, such as solar and wind. On a local level, she’s hoping to encourage people to shop more second hand, local and more responsibly, avoiding buying more than they need.
“This is our future and we deserve to do whatever we can to make it a good future,” Kruus said.