Our names are Chloe Unger (11) and Finn Unger (8).
On February 23, our Sooke council unanimously passed Rupert Yakelashek’s motion to declare our right to a healthy environment. We attended that council meeting, which was our first, and we were so impressed and inspired by our mayor and the councillors, who listened and responded so positively.
The peoples of the T’Sou-ke Nation tell us that the Sooke hills, the rivers and streams, the beaches, and all the land in our region is our backyard, our garden, and provides us with everything that we need and will every need – food, energy, water, fresh air, play, joy and happiness.
But the oceans are getting acidic and the seafood is dying. The rivers are polluted and the salmon aren’t surviving. The eagles’ eggs are so fragile, and eaglets are not hatching. The land is contaminated by pesticides and fertilizers, and the food that we eat from it is contaminating us. I think our own eggs are becoming fragile. Without clean water and clear air and healthy soil, we have nothing.
Rupert is our friend, and we are very proud and inspired by him. He is influencing all sorts of communities, many on the south island, to pass this motion. We love what he is doing to protect what we still have of our natural environment.
We have our lives still ahead of us and will need our environment to be healthy for a long time still. My grandparents just don’t seem to get how serious that is, how scary it is for us and Rupert and Franny his sister, our friends Nathan and Erin and a few others who are thinking about all this and what our future is going to look like. We can’t vote or be councillors yet, but our voices should still be heard. We need to have some sort of say in decisions you make but won’t be around for to see if it actually all works out.
Thank you Sooke council, Mayor Tait and all the Sooke councillors (especially Brenda Parkinson who made sure it got voted on) for protecting our right to a healthy environment in Sooke, on Vancouver Island (where so far Victoria, North Saanich, the Highlands, Langford, and Metchosin have passed it too, and everywhere.
Chloe and Finn Unger