By B.F. NAGY
Jimmy L. is, perhaps, a typical Canadian school student. He likes ice hockey and other sports, the outdoors, wildlife and playing with Rocky, the 18-year-old family cat.
In December Global News visited Adam Beck Junior Public School on Scarborough Road, where Jimmy is in Grade 6, and asked some students about their wishes for 2019. Some said “puppies for everyone” or big hugs, others talked about less conflict, or creating a safer world.
Jimmy L. hoped “the ecosystem would get stronger and that the atmosphere doesn’t collapse.” Aha! – A budding environmentalist. Beach Metro News asked for an interview.
“I like going to the cottage and I really like animals,” said Jimmy. “When I see dead animals on the street it makes me think about some of them going extinct forever… I wonder if it’s going to be like there’s nothing left when I’m older.”
He explained that we all have to do our part individually, but that our leaders also need to pay attention.
“I don’t think people like Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau want too look bad, especially if it’s kids making them look bad.”
He’s talking about peaceful demonstrations that have erupted around the globe, with students organizing climate protests on Fridays.
“The world can’t afford to not have every kid be an environmentalist…We were watching a video in class and some First Nations people were protesting outside the Parliament Buildings for better school supplies. If that happened with the environment it would be good…It starts with the little people but really the big people like the Prime Minister have to get into it too.”
Jimmy’s parents, Lorrie and John, are schoolteachers, who have emphasized saving energy, better food choices and recycling.
“We used to forget and leave the lights on downstairs, but now when we go out all the lights are off,” said Jimmy. “Our sitter makes sure we recycle properly. Single use plastic is filling up the landfills. At the Science Centre you can look at what’s inside the stomach of a shark. It’s full of plastic.”
“We did a project where the students all gathered single use plastic for a period of three weeks,” said Jarrod B., who teaches Grade 4-5 and sits on the Eco Committee at Adam Beck school. “Then we pasted it to a big sheet of poster paper to better understand our plastic use.”
The Toronto District School Board has recognized Adam Beck, which has solar panels on its roof, as a Gold EcoSchool. Each classroom has recycling and compost containers.
“We do random checks of classrooms to ensure lights and computers are not left on, or windows left open,” said Dominique B., another Eco Committee member, who teaches Kindergarten.
She describes fundraising events at which parents are encouraged to sign a pledge for greener family behaviour.
“Some years the funds went to keeping elephants from going extinct. In other years we supported marine animals.”
“The plastic that’s dumped in the ocean is bad,” said Jimmy. “If fish are around it too long it takes the natural oils off their skin and the little rings of plastic hurt some fish…We need to make this a bigger issue and the people in charge need to make a stand…The environment is the earth. If you don’t take care of earth, there is nothing left.”
B.F. Nagy is a long time Beach resident and author of The Clean Energy Age. He has interviewed more than 700 experts and written 150 articles on clean energy. The Clean Energy Age is available online, from your favourite bookseller or bfnagy.com. It contains solutions, priorities, success stories and a dozen top 10 lists of climate actions for homeowners, business managers, and others.