Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks at a rally at the Alberta Legislature Building in Edmonton, on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. (The Canadian Press/Dave Chidley)

Re-Greta-bly, Thunberg won’t visit Victoria, despite Olympic athlete ready to row her over

Climate activist clarified Tuesday night she won’t have time to visit the Island

On Tuesday night, Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, clarified she will not be visit Vancouver Island on her tour around the globe but not because BC Ferries runs on fossil fuels. Thunberg Tweeted she wasn’t aware of any invitation to visit Victoria, but does not plan to make the trip over due to a busy schedule.

The invitation letter in question is a letter co-signed by Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes, and Youth Climate Strike BC organizers Emma-Jane Burian and Rebecca Wolf Gage. The letter reads:

“Dear Ms. Thunberg,

We were very excited to see that you are visiting Canada, and hope you are having a wonderful trip to Alberta. We are writing to officially invite you to visit Victoria, British Columbia. Victoria is home to a thriving chapter of Youth Climate Strike BC who have taken great inspiration in your work. Victoria and Saanich City Councils have ambitious Climate Leadership Plans that lay out bold actions for both government and citizens. Victoria City Council today passed a ‘Resolution of Support for Greta Thunberg and the Climate Strike Movement,’ re-affirming our commitment to work with all levels of government to increase climate action. Both Victoria and Saanich have declared climate change emergencies and Saanich is in its second year of embracing the One Planet Climate Action Plan. We would be happy to arrange meetings for you in Victoria and Saanich, including public engagements if you so wish.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Helps said Thunberg had not officially declined. She said last week Victoria Coun. Ben Isitt contacted a person who is helping with Greta’s trip to Canada, and heard back that the absence of a fossil-fuel-free option for transport across the ocean to Vancouver Island was the major obstacle to her visiting the island.

On Tuesday, former Olympic rower Adam Kreek offered to row Thunberg to and from Vancouver Island in a trip he said he expected would take between four and eight hours if the issue was emissions from the ferry. “I’m simply putting up my hand,” he said. “If we all did our part, we could solve this climate change problem in a jiffy.”

Kreek said his offer is about empowering youth leadership. “We should support youth in any way we can to follow their values,” he said.

Thunberg has since clarified she didn’t decline because of emissions from the public transport ferry, she simply doesn’t have time to visit everywhere.

On Wednesday morning, Haynes said it was clear the people assisting Greta with her schedule are clearly taking great care. “We’re just pleased she’s aware of the invitation now,” he said.

sophie.heizer@saanichnews.com

bc ferryGlobal climate actionGreta Thunberg

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