‘Everyone Should Mobilize’: Climate Leaders Urge Massive Turnout for Global Climate Strikes

“Our house is on fire—let’s act like it,” says a call-to-action for September 20th and 27th strikes.

Students take part in a climate rally in Parliament Square on May 24, 2019 in London. (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Students take part in a climate rally in Parliament Square on May 24, 2019 in London. (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Organizers of upcoming global climate strikes hope their demands for a rapid end to business as usual and a swift start to climate justice will be too loud to ignore.

The strikes, which are set for September 20th and 27th—with additional actions slated for the days in between—are planned in over 150 countries thus far, and over 6,000 people have already pledged to take part.

It has the potential to be the biggest climate mobilization yet, said organizers.

“Our house is on fire—let’s act like it,” says the strikes’ call-to-action, referencing the words of Swedish activist Greta Thunberg. “We demand climate justice for everyone.”

Thunberg echoed that call in a just-released video promoting the upcoming actions.

“Everyone should mobilize for the 20th and 27th of September,” said Thunberg, “because this is a global issue which actually affects everyone.”

It’s been the world’s youth, though, that have played a driving force in recently calling attention to the climate crisis with protests and school strikes.

“Young people have been leading here,” 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben said in the Thunberg video, “but now it’s the job of the rest of us to back them up.”

The two Fridays of action, according to organizers, will bookend a “Week for Future” to sustain the climate call. Nestled between is the United Nations Summit on Climate Change on September 23rd in New York.

“Because we don’t have a single year to lose,” said Luisa Neubauer of Fridays for Future Germany in a press statement Wednesday, “we’re going to make this week a turning point in history.” MORE

Nanos survey finds Canadians believe Elizabeth May is most ethical party leader

 

Canadians most frequently score Green Party Leader Elizabeth May as the most ethical among her federal counterparts, according to a Nanos Research survey based on data that came out of the field Tuesday.

The results of the study, which was commissioned by CTV News, showed 23.2 per cent of survey respondents picked May as the most ethical federal party leader.

Andrew Scheer came second, with 21.4 per cent of survey respondents selecting the Conservative leader, while Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau came third with 16.9 per cent. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh had 6.1 per cent and People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier had 3.0 per cent of the vote.

Pollster Nik Nanos said on CTV’s Power Play that, considering the Liberals and Conservatives both poll above 30 per cent and the Green Party polls in the single digits, the numbers suggest “ethical green coattails for Elizabeth May, while not even all the Liberal supporters or all the Conservative supporters would give a tip of the hat to their own leader.”

Nanos said the SNC-Lavalin controversy has already hit the Liberal Party’s popularity. Whether that dip in support lasts will depend on what former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould tells the House of Commons Justice Committee on Wednesday, he said.

THE MOST ETHICAL PARTY?

When asked which federal political party is the most ethical, results were similar with 23.1 per cent of respondents choosing the Green Party, 21.4 per cent picking the Conservatives, 13.9 selecting the Liberals, 3 per cent picking Bloc Quebecois and just 2.4 per cent opting for the new People’s Party of Canada. Twelve per cent of respondents were unsure. MORE

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How Maxime Bernier hijacked Canada’s #ClimateChange discussion


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An analysis of tweets made after Bernier’s attack on Greta Thunberg highlight how easily hashtags can be dominated by just a few users.

David Suzuki: Why we’re almost out of time on climate change

“Climate disruption is not going to hit us next generation, or next century. It’s here now ... When voters head to the polls in October, we must put climate at the top of the political priority list,” writes environmentalist David Suzuki.

In 1989, I hosted a CBC radio series, It’s a Matter of Survival, featuring interviews with almost 150 scientists and environmental experts from around the world. Their warning was consistent and stark: Human beings were causing unprecedented changes to Earth’s systems, the detrimental effects were already taking shape, and people would need to reinvent how we live, consume, use energy and move around in order to avoid a looming global crisis.

The public response was impressive. In this pre-internet era, the CBC received 16,000 handwritten letters from listeners eager to act on climate change and other environmental issues. (This would eventually lead to the David Suzuki Foundation’s creation.)

That was 30 years ago.

Today, I’m experiencing a strong — and discouraging — sense of déjà vu…

Last October, hundreds of the world’s top climate scientists, representing almost every nation, gave us another, even more dire warning: We only have about 12 years to reduce our global emissions by half in order to avoid the catastrophic, irreversible effects of locking too many emissions into the atmosphere for years to come — everything from widespread drought, crop failure and water shortages to intensified wildfires and mass human displacement. The world’s best-known medical journal, The Lancet, also tells us the health consequences for humanity — from heat stroke to the spread of diseases and parasites — will be enormous.

This UN report — by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s leading body on climate — focuses on what we need to do as a global community to meet our Paris Agreement targets and limit average global warming to 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels. This is the target we must all focus on, and governments, industries and citizens must have the courage to change the way we think and act if we are to meet it.

The IPCC is just one of many organizations with a similar message. In November 2017, the Union of Concerned Scientists, representing some 15,000 scientists, issued a second “Warning to Humanity” (their first was in 1992). It was “the most scientists to ever co-sign and formally support a published journal article.” The BioScience article stated, “By failing to adequately limit population growth, reassess the role of an economy rooted in growth, reduce greenhouse gases, incentivize renewable energy, protect habitat, restore ecosystems, curb pollution, halt defaunation, and constrain invasive alien species, humanity is not taking the urgent steps needed to safeguard our imperilled biosphere.”

Luckily, signs of hope are emerging. In many cases, this hope is embodied in young people who have everything at stake.

Just last week, Greta Thunberg — the 16-year-old founder of #FridaysForFuture climate strikes and the unofficial figurehead of the international youth climate movement — landed in New York after journeying from Europe in a zero-emissions yacht to address the United Nations, before she travels to Montreal for the Sept. 27 global youth climate strike.

Earlier this spring, inspired by Greta, millions of young people took to the streets to strike for climate, sending a clear message to governments worldwide: We need climate action now. As Greta says, “I want you to act as if your house is on fire. Because it is.”

Canadians will soon face another important moment: the Oct. 21 federal election. With just over a decade left to take massive strides toward decarbonization, politicians representing any party must agree that the threat of climate chaos is real and must be met with the same type of response we give to war. When voters head to the polls in October, we must put climate at the top of the political priority list.

This is why co-conspirator and fellow “silverback gorilla” (as we amicably refer to ourselves) Stephen Lewis and I are touring Canada in September and October. We need to spread the message: Everyone in Canada and all political parties must rally together to take action on climate disruption. This isn’t a partisan issue.

We’ll speak in at least six cities, with a special focus on connecting with Canadian youth who have the most at stake from the repercussions of global heating. Other notable Canadians — Indigenous leaders, musicians and public figures — have signed up to help.

Climate disruption is not going to hit us next generation, or next century. It’s here now. And the way we live is still exacerbating it.

Stephen and I have a life’s worth of knowledge and nothing left to prove. Our responsibility now is sharing our wisdom with a new generation, and giving young people the tools they’ll need to navigate the challenges of the world they will inherit.

I’ve been sounding the alarm for more than 30 years, but we don’t have another 30. Please join us and help put the #ClimateFirst this federal election. SOURCE

Stroud leads the world as the first Earth Protector Town


Jojo Mehta, co-founder with Polly Higgins of Stop Ecocide, launches its Earth Protector Town scheme with Stroud as its first signatory. Photo by Ruth Davey/Look Again

WHAT IS AN EARTH PROTECTOR TOWN?

Earth Protector Towns (EPT) are a global collaborative movement of Towns to protect the Earth, using an interactive process including specific goals and guidelines.

In declaring itself an Earth Protector Town, a Council undertakes to collaborate and cooperate with communities, local government bodies, businesses, educational and other organisations to protect land, wildlife, air, soil and water. The town is also publicly supporting the campaign to amend the Rome statute and declare Ecocide* a crime at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

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HOW IS THE EARTH PROTECTOR TOWN DIFFERENT?

What we offer the Town Council is essentially the opportunity to be part of the movement to change the international law and to change the world; top down and bottom up.

The framework will be by nature holistic, as well as participatory allowing for dialogue between Councils globally, and collaboration with participating business and NGOs. This is the time we need to act together and bring change.

A movement of towns around the globe has exponentially more impact than one town acting on its own.

WHAT DOES MY TOWN HAVE TO DO TO BECOME AN EARTH PROTECTOR TOWN?

There are five goals for Earth Protector Towns:

    • Produce a strategy and a date to achieve a carbon zero future

    • Practice the movement from sustainable to regenerative living wherever possible

    • Protect and enhance eco-systems, habitats and species in and around the town

    • Pioneer the reduction and elimination of single use plastic

    • Promote awareness of climate and ecological emergencies

The Council pledges that any future investment decisions consider the environmental practices of the institutions involved, as well as existing legal requirements on public investments.

These goals form a framework for a steering group to audit, plan and monitor the activities and projects  which will help to protect and enhance the environment in and around the town.

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If Alberta Is The Front Line Of Climate Change, Young People Are In The Trenches

In the heart of oil and gas country, meet the young people behind a movement.

Image result for huffington post: If Alberta Is The Front Line Of Climate Change, Young People Are In The Trenches

About 100 people start to move forward, hoisting signs and banners above their heads.

Four teens walk with a black coffin on their shoulders, the words “OUR FUTURE” emblazoned on it in white paint.

Escorted by police bicycles, they exit the downtown square and head to a rally on the legislature grounds. Some passersby on lunch breaks raise tentative fists in support, while others turn away awkwardly.

“You know your shoes are made of petroleum!” a construction worker shouts, prompting laughs from his colleagues.

“Love to live in society, yet still want to make it better,” 15-year-old Abram Ilcsion quips in return from the middle of the pack.

Ilcsion is one of the lead organizers of Edmonton Youth For Climate, a grassroots group that mobilizes young people in Alberta for climate-related causes. He helped put together this Student March For Climate, as well as one in May that drew over 700 supporters.

In a few months, he’ll be working on a province-wide general strike on Sept. 20 to bring attention to climate change. He’ll also be entering the 11th grade. Having felt the impact of forest fire smoke his whole life, and inspired by Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, Ilcsion has thrown himself into organizing.

“If nothing is done to stop climate change, the future will be completely devoid of hope,” Ilcsion said. “We need to implore ourselves and others that we will fight. And we will make ourselves a future that we can be proud of.”

Edmonton Youth For Climate organizers Abram Ilscion and Olivier Adkin-Kaya, pictured before a march and...Edmonton Youth For Climate organizers Abram Ilscion and Olivier Adkin-Kaya, pictured before a march and rally on June 28.  MELANIE WOODS

Fellow organizer Olivier Adkin-Kaya is marching too. The 18-year-old is starting undergraduate studies in engineering at the University of Alberta this fall, and is also suing the federal government. His argument, along with three other teenage plaintiffs: the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion violates their right to a safe and secure future.

“For the sake of giving the new and future generations the opportunity to experience a life that the older generations have had, [the Trans Mountain pipeline] must not be built,” Adkin-Kaya said.

In the heartland of oil country, a young climate movement is blossoming.

Groups of young people are coming together to fight a seemingly insurmountable beast — a province deeply dependent on an industry that’s a major contributor to climate change.

Unlike established international organizations like Greenpeace, most of these groups didn’t exist two or three years ago.

Don’t simply call them anti-pipeline activists, or carbon tax advocates. They say they’re pushing for a fair transition away from oil and gas, and to a Green New Deal, that aims to mitigate climate change through social and economic programs.They’re marching in the streets, but they’re also lobbying federal leaders like Justin Trudeau and Jagmeet Singh to consider climate change as a pillar of their election platforms.

While hundreds of other young people organize across Canada, Alberta is unique. It’s oil country, with newly elected Premier Jason Kenney ready to tear down any carbon tax that stands in his way. It’s obviously a David and Goliath battle, but the climate fight in Alberta is far from lonely.

“[Governments] should really be looking at the youth movements and not the adult ones because I believe that they’re going to be the ones that will determine the future,” Ilcsion said.

In an ironic twist, Kenney had to cancel his announcement of repealing the carbon tax implemented by the previous NDP government — in order to be briefed on wildfires raging across northern Alberta.  MORE

Reducing your own carbon footprint is great, but it won’t save the planet unless governments and corporations step up

Aliénor Rougeot believes individual actions play an important role in the battle against climate change, but she also advocates striking, voting and pushing employers, governments and corporations to overhaul an economy that could do irreparable damage to the planet.

What are the most personal causes that stir the hearts of our nation’s political leaders? The Star asked the leaders of Canada’s major political parties to share the issues that move them deeply. Today, in the second of a series, we look at the importance of fighting climate change, the cause chosen by federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.

When Aliénor Rougeot realized the planet was in trouble, she knew she needed to change her lifestyle to reduce waste and fight climate change. She tried to cut down on how much she uses cars, switched to a plant-based diet and started buying her clothes from thrift shops or companies she knew had ethical and sustainable practices.

The University of Toronto economics and public policy student even organized a campaign to reduce single-use plastics on campus, feeling proud of her success in helping her peers make better choices. But right around that time, Nestlé bought a well for its bottled water operation in Centre Wellington, Ont., that the township wanted for its own future drinking supply.

“For the few bottles we reduced on my small campus, we just had a whole new industry setting up near us,” said Rougeot, 20.

The incident, and many others like it, made it seem as though her personal actions were being undermined.

“It’s extremely distressing. Part of it is being angry and overwhelmed by the fact that (industries) apparently don’t feel responsible or don’t feel accountable for their actions, which are way more significant than ours,” Rougeot said. “The reason I became more of an activist is because one day I realized, with all these small changes I make … there’s a big company that does a whole thing that’s going to harm the environment.”

Although she still feels individual actions play an important role in the battle, Rougeot now also advocates striking, voting and pushing employers, governments and corporations to overhaul an economy that could do irreparable damage to the planet.

“I do believe our individual lives will have to change but I don’t think it’s up to the individual,” said Rougeot, adding that sustainable lifestyles are tough for less privileged people. “It’s the government and the private sector’s role to make these changes so acceptable that it’s just a question of opting into it.”

Experts studying climate change agree. While individual actions that lead to more sustainable lifestyles are commendable, they’re not going to save the Earth on their own, they say. Instead, what’s needed is an overhaul of our way of life, a mobilization by governments and corporations of resources and people at wartime levels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions before it’s too late.

And this, they say, is a critical moment. MORE