By Harrison Johnston
It has been a year since more than 100,000 people took to the streets from across Metro Vancouver for the climate strike on September 27, 2019. It was the largest protest in Vancouver’s history and it was organized entirely by young people demanding that our government start taking the action that scientists tell us is needed to prevent climate catastrophe.
I was a lead organizer of that protest and since then I have continued working with young people and activists trying to get our politicians taking real action. We have met with the B.C. environment minister and protested outside of his office, neither worked. John Horgan’s government has doubled down on subsidizing fracking projects and forcing pipelines through unceded Indigenous territory.
These past few weeks wildfires have been raging all along the coast and smoke from our burning planet has choked the sky. It is a reminder that there are real consequences to government inaction. My generation cannot wait through four more years of a government who accepts that the climate crisis is real, but won’t take the action that is needed to fight it. Our future is at stake.
Too many people feel left behind by our government right now. Our leaders are failing young people, they’re failing Indigenous people, they’re failing Black people, they’re failing people with disabilities, they’re failing drug users, and they’re failing our communities as a whole. We can’t beg them for change any longer. We need something to hope for again.
That’s why that’s why I’m running with the BC Green Party to represent my home community of North Vancouver-Seymour in the BC Legislature.
I will be twenty-one years old on Election Day. Many people will say that I am too young, but I believe that young people deserve a voice in the B.C. government.
Our youngest MLA is currently 35 years old, which leaves the youngest 40 percent of British Columbians without a single representative. Our government is making decisions that will affect young people for decades to come and we should have a voice at that decision making table.
I have worked as a chairlift operator, a landscaper, a retail worker, and a math tutor. I am studying to become a high school teacher and I never expected to run for office.
I have spent the past two years of my life volunteering my time to pressure our government to work towards climate, economic and racial justice, while also trying to afford food, rent and tuition. I understand the challenges that British Columbians of all ages are facing and I want to champion evidence-based and empathetic policies to strengthen our communities and improve people’s lives.
My campaign is being led by young, grassroots organizers with a shared vision for a B.C. government that will work towards a future that is just and equitable for all. We have a vision for a government that prioritizes serving people over hoarding political power. A government that will fight for working people, not billionaires and corporate interests. A government that will lead the wartime level mobilization that is needed to transition our economy to renewable energy in the next decade, to build a resilient economy while making sure fossil fuel industry workers are not left behind. A government that will ensure that every single British Columbian has access to safe housing, healthy food and clean water.
A government that will recognize the rights of Indigenous people as protectors of the land, air, and water and not force pipelines through their unceded territory without consent. A government that will prioritize the education of our children and not pick fights with teachers who only want fair wages and smaller class sizes. A government that will listen to experts like Dr. Bonnie Henry and decriminalize drug users, instead treating them with compassion and empathy. The B.C. NDP and B.C. Liberals have both shown us that they will not lead this government.
It's time to vote for a government that will responsibly get us through this pandemic, while championing the bold solutions to the crises we are facing. It's time to vote for Harrison Johnston and the B.C. Green Party, led by Sonia Furstenau, and many other amazing candidates.