Canadians Prove No Town Is Too Small For A Climate Strike

From Terrace, B.C. to Picton, Ont. to Truro, N.S.

 

Climate strikes aren’t just for big city folks.

There were 278 demonstrations across Canada to call for action on climate change Friday, according to Fridays for Future. While tens of thousands of people crowded the streets in cities like Toronto and Montreal, protests in smaller centres still packed a punch.

In Yellowknife, organizer Kyle Rogers said more than five per cent of the city’s population of 18,800 — or about 1,000 people — showed up.

“Climate change is the most important issue in history and we need to take drastic action now before it’s too late,” he said in an email to HuffPost Canada.

“The climate crisis warms the north three times the rate as the rest of the world. I helped with the strike because politicians around the world don’t do nearly enough to truly make a difference. It’s our future so we need to protect it.”

Protesters congregate in Yellowknife to call for bold action on climate change, Sept. 27,
Protesters congregate in Yellowknife to call for bold action on climate change, Sept. 27, 2019. KYLE ROGERS.

Another event in Picton, Ont. drew about 60 protesters. Picton is a community of 4,700 people, about 160 kilometres east of Toronto.

Many drivers who passed the action on Main Street gave support with thumbs up and honks, organizer Don Ross told HuffPost.

Ross, 65, said many baby boomers don’t think they need to do anything about climate change because it won’t impact them.

“It really bothers me,” he said.He and his wife Heather “feel our generation is ‘throwing our kids under the bus’ and we have a moral imperative to do something now.”

He said he’s upset that the Ontario government is dismantling a local wind farm project that could have provided renewable energy.

“At a time when the world is being driven to take action, here in Prince Edward County, we’re taking down a wind farm … It’s really sad.”

Terrace, B.C., a city in northwestern British Columbia with 13,600 people, saw climate strikes both this week and last week.

Leticia Kistamas, who organized the strikes there, said she’s very concerned about the future for her three children.

She said she’s particularly worried about the amount of plastic pollution in the ocean.

About 60 people came out for last week’s event, Kistamas said.

“We had people from all walks of life,” she said. There were people from Indigenous nations, conservation groups and political parties as well as “teachers, parents, children, grandparents, scientists and high school students.”

There was also an action in Moncton, N.B.

Newfoundlanders came out in droves for the strike in St. John’s.

The crowd was loud in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

Kids in Uxbridge, Ont. had impeccably painted signs.

And protesters packed Civic Square in Truro, N.S.

Climate strikes turn up heat on leaders


Rene Mapile holds a sign reading, “Act now – it’s real” in reference to climate change Friday, September 27, 2019 while demonstrating at a climate strike in Picton, Ont. It was one of thousands globally. LUKE HENDRY/THE INTELLIGENCER

PICTON — Inspired by hope but driven by a need for urgent action on climate change, dozens of people staged a Fridays for Future climate strike on Main Street.

They, like those who gathered Friday in Quinte West and Sept. 20 in Belleville, were among hundreds of thousands around the world pressing politicians, polluters and others to slash emissions and pollution, shift to renewable energy sources – all within the next decade to prevent what scientists say could be a disastrous – and irreversible – warming of the planet.

“It’s doable,” said Don Ross of Milford.

“It’s not pie-in-the-sky.

“the solutions are all there. We need to rapidly embrace them and implement them,” he said.

Ross is a founder of the County Sustainability Group which formed in 2005. He said he promoted Friday’s demonstration online after attending the last strike in Belleville, then learning sisters Annette and Angela McIntosh of Milford had demonstrated alone in Picton on the same day.

Humans must stop burning carbon and abandon “the idea of infinite growth on a finite planet,” said Ross. “We’re sleepwalking into the future.

“What I would like to see is people not finding excuses anymore,” he said, adding people too often blame others for inaction on environmental issues.

“We’re way past excuses.”

Ross, like many present for the strike, said he was there out of concern for his children and grandchildren.

He spoke of the need for “looking in a child’s eyes and saying, ‘What am I doing now?’

“If your reaction is, ‘Nothing,’ then I think you really need to check your moral compass.

“Civilizations are judged by the world we leave for our descendants. I think to some extent we’re throwing our children under a bus.”

Yet he also said there are “tipping points” in both impending environmental damage and, on the positive side, the number of citizens rising in an attempt to reverse the trend.

Ross said locals are somewhat shielded from the effects of climate change, but it’s causing widespread problems in other parts of the world, including mass migration of refugees – something Friday’s demonstrators warned will increase.

Twins Angela and Annette McIntosh, 64, said the planned dismantling of local wind turbines is a mistake. Angela recalled young activist Greta Thunberg’s recent address to the United Nations.

“Here she is at the UN in New York, fighting to stop climate change, and they’re taking down wind turbines in Prince Edward County. It doesn’t make any sense.”

Annette said politicians “have got to something or the planet’s going to do it for them.

“It’s going to be an Armageddon.”

At Quinte West city hall, another crowd gathered for speeches by federal candidates Stephanie Bell of the NDP and Danny Celovsky of the Green Party, plus city councillor Terry Cassidy, and several residents, said Lori Borthwick, one of the organizers. A student strike at Albert College was also reported.

Back in Picton, Rosalind Adams of South Marysburgh handed out information about the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. She said the panel’s report on global warming is being misinterpreted by many, including Canada’s political parties. She encouraged people to read the report at tinyurl.com/warming15.

Canada’s emissions must be cut by 90 per cent by 2030 “to save a livable climate,” Adams’ handout read.

Despite frustration with the current situation, several people said they believed humanity is up to the challenge.

Don Ross said there may be more frequent climate strikes in the area.

“This isn’t over,” he said.

Bloomfield mother Daniela Kelloway said she and her family are trying to change their ways, including eating more plant-based foods and less meat.

“We’re taking small steps in that direction.”

She encouraged people to reduce consumption and, when shopping, ask themselves if they really need what they’re buying.

“I don’t think people ask themselves that quite enough.”

Sam Elgindy, who came with her two young children, said she had mixed feelings: disappointment with world leaders but optimism about the movement for a cleaner Earth.

“It’s a moment of hope. It’s a moment of inspiration,” Elgindy said.

“I want to see policymakers listen. I want to see commitments to action. I want to see tangible change.”

Federal candidates in the Bay of Quinte riding are to take part Oct. 3 in a debate on environmental issues. The 7 p.m. event at Belleville’s Centennial Secondary School, 160 Palmer Road, is part of the 100 Debates on the Environment, a national series.

Sam Elgindy carries her daughter, Uma, amid the climate strike Friday, September 27, 2019 on Main Street in Picton, Ont. “It’s a moment of hope,” Elgindy said. “I want to see tangible change.” Luke Hendry/The Intelligencer/Postmedia Network LUKE HENDRY / LUKE HENDRY/THE INTELLIGENCER

Demonstrators in a Fridays for Future rally carry placards Friday, September 27, 2019 in Picton, Ont. Luke Hendry/The Intelligencer/Postmedia Network LUKE HENDRY /LUKE HENDRY/THE INTELLIGENCER

Suri Kelloway, 11, of Bloomfield demonstrates during a climate strike Friday, September 27, 2019 on Main Street in Picton, Ont. Luke Hendry/The Intelligencer/Postmedia Network LUKE HENDRY / LUKE HENDRY/THE INTELLIGENCER

Angela Lammes of Milford and Elieen Mapile of Picton take part in a Fridays for Future protest Friday, September 27, 2019 in Picton, Ont. Lammes is among the Prince Edward County residents who say they want to see more use of renewable energy, including wind turbines in the county despite the county being “an unwilling host” to turbines. Luke Hendry/The Intelligencer/Postmedia Network LUKE HENDRY / LUKE HENDRY/THE INTELLIGENCER

Eileen Mapile of Picton waves to motorists while calling for action on climate change Friday, September 27, 2019 in Picton, Ont. With her was her dog, Diego. Luke Hendry/The Intelligencer/Postmedia Network LUKE HENDRY /LUKE HENDRY/THE INTELLIGENCER

SOURCE

Countdown to Global #WeekForFuture #ClimateStrike!

It’s been a torrid summer and it will be a hot September for climate activists as we move towards the global #WeekForFuture involving mobilizations in the vast majority of countries around the world.  

In over 2400 events taking place from September 20th through 27th, millions of us will walk out of our classrooms, workplaces and homes to join together in the streets and demand climate action and climate justice. We’re calling for massive participation on the part of adults —  alongside young people — to show that adults too are concerned and want to join forces in this global effort to raise awareness and prod recalcitrant leaders to act. 

The week’s crescendo of events will bracket the UN Climate Action Summit taking place in New York on September 23rd. We’ll be sending global leaders the message that our #houseisonfire and that we’re calling on them to do what the science clearly tells us must be done. 

 

Over 115 countries and 1000 cities have already registered events and, as we’ve seen on previous occasions, the number will continue growing rapidly as we move towards the strikes. 

All eyes are on the United States which already has 145 cities signed up, with participation that is expected to be tenfold with respect with the first two global strikes in March and May of this year. 

New York is expecting a huge turnout, as is Montreal (Canada) which saw 150,000 take to the streets to demand climate action is the largest strike so far without the presence of Greta Thunberg. MORE

The Generational Backlash to Europe’s Climate Activists

From Germany to the United States, some of the angriest reactions to demonstrators are from older citizens.


Activist Luisa Neubauer at a Berlin FridaysforFuture protest (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Fourteen-year-old Franzi, who helps organize the climate-oriented Fridays for Future marches in Berlin, prefers angry responses from onlookers—like the father who shouted “fuck you” at a Munich demonstration blocking traffic in front of a school last month. “It shows that people are scared,“ she said. Now, after complaints, the kids have to protest peacefully on the side of the road under police supervision and the same father flashes them a thumbs up whenever he drives by.

In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a report estimating that the world has 12 more years to radically reduce carbon emissions in order to avoid climate catastrophe. Since then, inspired partly by ninth-grade Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who in early fall 2018 skipped school to protest climate change outside the Swedish parliament, European-led climate protest movements Fridays for FutureYouth Strike 4 Climate, and Extinction Rebellion have gained traction, spreading across continents and oceans, and motivating ever-more people to disruptive nonviolent protest such as skipping school or blocking the roads. On March 15, it resulted in a climate strike featuring young activists in some 112 countries.

While headlines jump between Donald Trump and Brexit, these protests are designed to inconvenience, to force people to confront the current scientific research, and to offer a voice to children who can’t yet vote, but who will soon pay the price for climate inaction.

The language of the father that day in Munich is symptomatic of the increasingly frank—and frustrated—rhetoric around the issue. “If we don’t respond to this crisis as if it’s an emergency now, we are (very nearly) totally fucked,” British activist Liam Geary Baulch wrote to me via email.

Governments, so far, have not responded with similar urgency. In the face of an estimated 30,000 student protesters, including Franzi, across Germany in January, the German government’s coal commission still only agreed to quit coal by 2038—a date activists say violates Paris Agreement targets by being too far in the future. And while, in the United States, ambitious proposals such as the Green New Deal grow ever more prominent, they seem no nearer to being passed into law. MORE