One of the many faces of Salmon Arm Bay on Shuswap Lake. (File photo)

One of the many faces of Salmon Arm Bay on Shuswap Lake. (File photo)

Column: Thinking 2022 could be the Year of the Child

There’s nothing quite like the power of children to bring joy to any occasion. I can smile outwardly or inwardly for days when I recall something a kid I know or have encountered has said or done.

Thinking about 2022, my hope is that the world will follow the lead of children.

Young people, both near and far, played a huge and important role in 2021, telling the world to face the truth.

In 2021, 215 children in Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc territory, who were long talked about by their parents and others who survived the Kamloops institution, revealed themselves to the world when their remains were confirmed.

The painful, ignored and, to some, unknown history of the country was revealed. There’s no downside to learning the horrible truth, unless it continues to be ignored.

Greta Thunberg continued to repeat her powerful message in 2021, speaking courageously and truthfully about the reality of Planet Earth. She told us our house is on fire and we should act as such. For that, she received adoration but also ugly targeting from those who refuse to believe what the Earth, in no uncertain terms, has been telling us.

I read an article the other day about a seven-year-old girl who was featured for successfully getting a crosswalk installed in her community. Asked what her next project is, she said, “climate change.” And she’s seven.

Read more: Video: All ages rally in Salmon Arm to demand climate action

Read more: Christmas & climate change: Shuswap environmentalist recommends planet-friendly season

For many young people – and older ones too, climate change is uppermost on their minds, even if they don’t talk about it a lot, or at all.

One person I know who has studied all things environmental for decades and is a reasonable, smart and kind person said, there is no ‘going back to normal’ after the pandemic and floods. As people in many other parts of the world know far better than this region does, because they’re experiencing it, we’re just getting started. Climate-related disasters will escalate unless we act now. Not in 2030 or 2050 as our government leaders may tell us.

It’s a scary thought to me and to many, but what’s not so scary is taking action, together. It’s good and positive and powerful.

Having a climate buddy or buddies to think and strategize with. It doesn’t have to be extra work for any individual when so many people are already stretched – it’s lifting the load. Every single thing anyone does to preserve the planet counts. Taking care of the planet is taking care of ourselves. Hurting it is hurting ourselves.

I hope that I and you and all of us can do what young people are showing us needs to be done.
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