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Aug. 14, 2020 | Friday
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For Our Kids Niagara activists recruiting members from NOTL
Members of new group For Our Kids Niagara stand with members of Extinction Rebellion Niagara at the Niagara Conservation Authority annual meeting earlier this month. (Supplied Photo)

A group of concerned parents are trying to add some urgency to local climate discussions by giving a “practical idea of small things” to do in your own community, says Diane Archer, co-founder of the group calling itself For Our Kids Niagara.

For Our Kids has just taken root this month, spurred by a shared sense of “climate anxiety,” Archer said.

The climate activists are trying to educate parents on how to approach local businesses about sustainability and how to talk to people about climate issues.

The organization hopes to attract members and supporters in Niagara-on-the-Lake and beyond.

Long term, Archer said the group would like to see “thousands of people in Niagara working toward the same goal.”

That goal is to create a “greener future” for our children, the group’s website says.

One of the first steps taken was to stand protest at last week's Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s annual meeting, at which chair David Bylsma, mayor of West Lincoln, was voted out.

Archer said Bylsma is a “known climate denier” and seeing him defeated was important to everything the group stands for.

She said people in those decision-making roles need to understand that something needs to change – and to acknowledge that there is in fact an emergency.

Standing at the back of the board meeting, Archer and several other members of the group, alongside members of a group called Extinction Rebellion Niagara held a long banner that read: “We need urgency in a climate emergency.”

"We are looking forward to following along with the activities of the NPCA over the next months regarding the climate emergency," she said in an email response.

Now that Brenda Johnson, a Hamilton city councillor, was voted in as the new chair of the conservation authority, Archer said the group plans to continue reaching out for more support and awareness of their cause.

“We’re looking to have leaders in other communities who can take our message home,” she said.

Archer said she hopes people will see the work the group is trying to do and want to connect.

“Any environmental groups in the area – if they want to connect with us we would love to see that happen as well. So, if there's any groups in NOTL that are doing the same thing, we would encourage them to contact us.”

The group is partnering with Someday Books in St. Catharines to start a “climate focused” book club to bring more education to those interested in learning about the climate crisis, she said.

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