When a West Kelowna mom and teacher couldn’t find a climate protest to join she decided to start her own.
Bobbi Vojtko faced threat from the McDougall Creek wildfire and was evacuated with her family for more than a week.
After returning home, Vojtko decided it was time to make her voice heard and in collaboration with the Okanagan Climate Hub hosted a climate march on Sept. 17.
“I’ve spoken to a lot of people and most people are ready to have that conversation,” Vojtko said. “Even if it just gets [the conversation] started and triggered in my own immediate community of my friends and family then I think I’ve won.”
Dozens of people gathered outside Kelowna City Hall with handmade signs reading ‘Save our planet’, ‘Conserve what our children deserve’, ‘I want you to act like your house is on fire because it is’ and ‘I’ve been doing this s*** since the 70s’.
Black Press asked Vojtko if she was aware of the new wildfire west of Peachland that was being listed as a wildfire of note while people started to gather. She called it disappointing, but has faith in our firefighters to protect the communities.
“We have solidarity in numbers,” Vojtko said to the crowd. “Let’s let our leaders know that Kelowna and the Okanagan want to see more action and more change.”
Damien Gagnon joined the march. He said he’s been involved in climate activism for the past several years.
“Our government is willing to acknowledge climate change and the man-made consequences of it, but they’re unwilling to do anything about it. I genuinely believed… when Lytton burnt to the ground that that would be the catalyst for change from the government, I thought that would serve as a wake up call but it didn’t. And now this year more towns have burned as we’ve seen in the Northwest Territories.”
Gagnon echoed Vojtko’s statement of power in numbers, noting the importance of gathering and networking to push for mass change.
The group gathered at noon and left from city hall just before 1 p.m. to march toward Harvey Ave. up to Richter Street and back to the municipal building.
A group of climate change deniers attended the protest. Kelowna RCMP were on hand to maintain the peace.