Lori and Nicole Mckeown, a mother-daughter pair from Campbell River loved watching Nicole’s kids play and learn in nature.
However, the two realized that the nature the children fell in love with would not be around forever if we continue on our current track with fossil fuels. Something needed to change.
“I was just really worried, as a grandparent on the edge of the baby boomers what was left for my grandchildren. They love nature, they love the outdoors, but what is the world going to look like for them? What can I do now?” said Lori. “I always thought of climate change as something that just happens. We had the Ice Age and this is just natural. Then as I learned more I realized that we as people are making an impact and we also have the solutions to do something different.”
The pair looked for things they could do when they came across the national For Our Kids group. Seeing no local branch, the Mckeowns took it upon themselves to start one up to teach other parents about actions to mitigate and even stop the worst of climate change.
“I wanted to be in climate action. I was worried about what I was seeing on the news. I really didn’t know that much, so I started to research a bit more and thought I really wanted to be involved,” Lori explained. “We know very little, we’re new to climate action and activism, but it was an easy way to start.”
“What appealed to me was that they were targeting families: parents and grandparents. They talk about that as parents, sometimes there’s not a lot of time, but doing something matters. They have a lot of actions that you can do that don’t take a lot of time, but are meaningful,” Nicole added.
Some of those actions are easy, like sending a petition to friends and watching educational videos online. Others have more of an impact, like moving from a bank that funds fossil fuel extraction to one with a greener profile.
“Banks fund hundreds of billions of dollars to support fossil fuels. The use of fossil fuels and CO2 emissions are some of the biggest impacts on the environment,” Lori said.
For Our Kids is hosting a series of workshops on these actions. The first workshop will be on June 15 featuring Dr. Jeff Lewis from Vancouver Island University. He will be speaking about the history, causes and local impacts of climate change, as well as how people can reduce their contribution to climate change. Visit https://www.forourkids.ca/nvi_speaker_series for more information.
The Mckeowns know that it is easier to not do anything in the face of as big a problem as the climate crisis. However, there are ways to move forward in a just way for everybody, and make sure that nobody is left behind of the transition to a fossil fuel-less economy.
“The unknown is scary. There are some hot issues like around the old growth forest. We’re a big logging town in Campbell River and a lot of families depend on logging. My husband worked in forestry as well,” Lori said. “We need to watch how we log. We want things to be sustainable. Old growth forests really help sink some of that carbon and the ecosystems. It’s finding a way that works for both parties, and I really do think that there’s solutions that we can keep our carbon sinks.”
“We just need to do things a bit differently,” she added. “Sometimes people are so open to doing things differently, other people get paralyzed and fearful.”
“We’ve had some conversations with members about how they’re fearful about doing different actions because they’re not perfect,” Nicole added. “We’re far from perfect, but we’re doing what we can, and learning.”