Norah von Bieberstein Talks with the Greenzine about the Youth Climate Action Club (YCAC)
CHERYL LYON – With a snow storm raging outside on January 25, the Greenzine “Zoomed” in on Norah von Bieberstein at home with her parent, Ziysah.
Norah is a Kaawate Elementary School student in Grade 4 in Peterborough, learning a lot about climate change in there. From the hill that the school stands on, they can look out and see so many trees, and hope that there will still be all those trees in ten years and more. But they also noted that we should not plant trees at the bottom of sledding hills.
Joining the Youth Climate Action Club (YCAC) extended Norah’s learning in new directions. (YCAC includes youth from several schools ranging from lower grades to high school level.)
The Club organized a successful climate Change Rally in the city’s Confederation Park in the fall of 2022. There, with great poise and enthusiasm, they performed their adaptation of “Surface Pressure,” the popular song by Lin-Manuel Miranda from the movie “Encanto.” Her performance was captured and you can see and hear it here. Full lyrics are in this accompanying article.
YCAC’s other activities bring youth together for games, a potential mural project, and members participated in Showmakers − a musical theatre program that kicked off in Peterborough recently. Dreda Blow and Bruno Merz, Showmakers’ creators, donated all funds raised at the November show to a cause of YCAC’s choosing. The Club chose to assist purchase of an electric wheelchair for Elder Dorothy Taylor of Curve Lake First Nation. See Nora’s photos of the Showmaker’s production in which she had a part here.
I asked Norah to dream a little about the future for YCAC. Without hesitation, she listed the following dreams: lots of YCAC events to prompt more action on climate change; more youth members for the Club; and most of all, more people believing that we can do something about climate change.
When we talked about the idea of imagining food or anything in the future, they at first replied “I don’t know,” but in later conversation told her parent that perhaps ten years, we will be mostly eating the same things and using more advanced technologies.
Norah used the word “hope” when asked about her feelings about the future. “YCAC makes me feel that way.”
When asked for her “message” to others about climate change, they unhesitatingly answered, “It really exists and everyone needs to think about it.” Norah said she leaves YCAC meetings with “determination, the desire to help the climate situation as much as possible, and to reach more people.”
Norah hopes that in ten years, they’ll be studying science, astronomy and cosmology to learn more about the universe, continuing to be an activist, and trying “a lot of things.”
Go, Norah! Your dreams are our future.
Editor’s note: We have invited Norah and the Youth Climate Action Club to contribute to the Greenzine.