Shopping and dining experiences will be altered on Friday as local businesses opt to close in support of the student-led Global Climate Strike taking place at the B.C. Legislature at noon.
The global initiative has seen protesters canvassing the streets since Sept. 20, with Friday’s event being the grand finale of the week-long imitative.
Thousands of people are anticipated to participate, with hundreds of thousands also participating in cities worldwide.
Along with student strikers, 3,000 global businesses have pledged to close their doors, with 200 of these businesses located in Greater Victoria and Vancouver.
Environmental advocacy group Dogwood BC is one of the groups that’s been in contact with community members about becoming involved in the strike in one way or another. This could mean shutting down doors for the day, or portions of the day, allowing staff to attend the strike or simply posting signage about the event.
So far more than 50 Greater Victoria businesses have signed up to a participate online, with dozens more make verbal agreements.
“A lot of business owners are leaders in the community who employ young people who have been participating in the strikes,” said Christina Smethurst, communications manager at Dogwood BC. “It seemed to be logical that businesses would support climate strikers by displaying posters or closing for some amount of hours.”
Some of these businesses include Habit Coffee, Cafe Bliss, Be Love, MEC, Lush, Cold Comfort, Discovery Coffee, Silk Road Tea and the Zero Waste Emporium.
“We are basically closing our doors to show support. To show that we care and recognize that we do have an emergency on our hands,” said Shane Devereaux, owner of Habit Coffee. “As a business that has a long history of sustainability and community leadership we need to support this global call to action.”
Other owners are seeing how climate change is directly affecting their business.
“I’ve had a front-row seat to the shift because I’m so involved in the tea industry,” said Daniela Cubelic, owner and tea master at Silk Road Tea. “I’ve been noticing shifts and changes to the growing seasons, and we work with farmers so we are very in touch with what’s happening.”
Cubelic adds that much of the more disastrous and damaging changes that can be seen in Southeast Asia, where many of her suppliers are, are not yet seen in North America. She added that in her business she’s tried to quietly educate her customers about what is happening, but that now it’s time to be loud.
“I think for any business closing for several hours is not advantageous… but we’ve arrived at a moment that it’s not ‘businesses as usual’ any more,” she said. “The effects of climate change are extremely profound and significant and it demands that all of us to do more.”
The Chinatown and Vancouver locations will be shut down from noon to 4 p.m., while the Victoria Public Market location will be closed all day. Staff scheduled for the day will be paid.
Other businesses around the Capital Region are also closing without signing up with Dogwood BC, including Sidney’s Fish on Fifth and Woodshed Pizza.
Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi
Like us on Facebook