Cowichan Valley school district declares climate change emergency

Cowichan Valley sixth school district in province to do so

The Cowichan Valley school district has declared a climate emergency at its board meeting on Feb 4.

The motion to declare a climate emergency passed unanimously, and the district will now establish plans and initiatives in an effort to deal with climate change and environmental sustainability.


“Youth in our community have been striking and lobbying for action and we’re pleased SD79 has now acknowledged this emergency,” said Ellie Barnhart, a student from Cowichan Secondary School and member of the Cowichan Valley Earth Guardians who appeared in a delegation to the board asking for the motion.

“We look forward to hearing about specific next steps to make this declaration meaningful.”

Nik Richardson, a member of the BC Teacher Federation’s social justice committee, also appeared in the delegation, along with Matt Price, a parent of a student in the district and coordinator of the national network of parents and grandparents concerned about climate change called For Our Kids.

Climate emergency declarations have been passed by various levels of government, including in Ottawa and at the local level at the Cowichan Valley Regional District, City of Duncan, and North Cowichan.


Five other school boards in the province have already declared a climate emergency, including Victoria, Vancouver, North Vancouver, Gulf Islands, and Qualicum.

“Being a parent in 2020 means being aware of how we’re preparing our kids for climate change,” Price said.

“Our schools have a key role to play teaching them what to expect and giving them the necessary skills. We hope SD79 will become a leader in this regard.”

School board chairwoman Candace Spilsbury said the board has had discussions about climate change before, but Tuesday’s meeting was the first time they decided to move forward with a course of action for the district to try and help deal with it.

She said the board made another motion at the meeting asking that school superintendent Robyn Gray prepare a report outlining a range of options that the district could implement to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, as well as a range of options for climate education for the district.

“We’ll wait for the superintendent to present her report, which is expected within 90 days, before we commence with any actions,” Spilsbury said.

“Climate change and environmental sustainability are important for our students and many of them have attended climate strikes. Our students are very involved in watching how this issue will be dealt with.”

Climate change

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Island Health “humbled” by work of Cowichan’s Project Draw Breath

Health authority eager to explore partnerships during COVID-19 crisis

CPAC launches Cowichan Performing Arts Centre Online

CPAC is posting submissions from the region’s musicians, dancers, actors, writers, and visual artists

Easter won’t be the same without big event in Crofton

Scrambling for eggs has always been a big attraction

Bridging the gap in church services no easy feat

United church members with computers receiving inspirational messages on-line

Some Cowichan schools to reopen for children of essential-services workers

Cowichan Valley will open 8 elementary schools this week

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

Long list of events disrupted by COVID-19 around the community

Challenging situation affecting fundraisers, entertainment, sports and more

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

Travellers returning to B.C. must have self-isolation plan or face quarantine: Horgan

Premier John Horgan says forms must be filled out by travellers

More than 400 animals have been adopted amid pandemic: B.C. SPCA

People are taking this time of social distancing to find a loyal companion through the animal welfare group

VIDEO: More than 85 people displaced by Campbell River apartment fire

Traffic is being diverted around Dogwood Street and 9th Avenue

Most Read