Teenage activist recognized

Town of Peace River Mayor Tom Tarpey, left, presents Dylan Underwood with a certificate for his efforts in taking action on climate change.

Susan Thompson
South Peace News

A Peace River teenager has been recognized for taking action on climate change.

Dylan Underwood organized a youth climate strike in Peace River on Sept. 27. Students left Glenmary School at lunchtime with parent permission, and were joined by other community members of all ages as they walked to the Town Office, and then to MLA Dan Williams’ office in the Peace River mall.

Underwood’s demonstration was part of a global day of protests led by Swedish youth activist Greta Thun- berg to ask for action on climate change. An estimated 6.6 million people took part in similar strikes around the world, including roughly a million people across Canada.

While at the town office during the strike the group asked to speak to Mayor Tom Tarpey, who was unavailable at the time. Tarpey remedied that by inviting Underwood to council.

“You came to see me and I assume you either wanted to ask me questions or tell me off,” Tarpey said at council, inspiring a round of laughter.

“But either way I’m prepared to take my medicine.”

Tarpey outlined some of the actions the Town of Peace River is taking to try to reach net zero emissions by 2050, including a project to replace all of the lights in town with more efficient LED lights and pursuing a solar power project at the Peace River Airport.

“What I’d like to do is thank you, for being inspired, taking the idea, and doing something with it,” Councillor Orren Ford said.

“And I really liked the way you organized it because you had to have parents’ consent in order to participate which means no skipping school.

“But most of all, Dylan, for me, it wasn’t about the march, it was about engaging the youth in the community, getting the youth engaged, getting them out in public so their voices could be heard. Job well done.”

Councillor Don Good recalled being a student walking out of high school in Vancouver in the early 1970s to protest a nuclear test on a local island.

“Being involved in stuff like that at that age was what in a kind of circuitous path is why I’m sitting here today,” Good said.

“It’s caring about a community, caring about doing things in your community and being willing to stand up with other people to try and accomplish things you can’t do alone,” he added.

Council recognized Underwood by presenting him with a certificate.

“I feel great. I feel like I did something – a movement,” Underwood said.

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