Hundreds of protesters braved the cold Montreal rain for the International Day of Climate Action on Sunday.
All day, people around the world took part in different activities in an effort to affect legislative action on climate change in time for when world leaders meet in Copenhagen this December.
Montreal was one of 179 cities holding events to mark the day, with activists taking part in more than 4,500 protests worldwide. There were nine activities throughout the city of Montreal, each happening at different points throughout the day.
One of the events, dubbed the “Great Harper Climate Cacophony,” drew over 250 people.
Armed with pots, pans, spoons, and instruments of all sorts, the activists had a goal to be as loud as possible for 350 seconds.
Another musically-themed event in Montreal had everybody play a single note on their musical instruments, achieving a frequency of 350 hz.
That number is significant to Climate Action Day because 350 parts per million represents the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, according to a paper by NASA Scientist James Hansen.
The current level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is at 400 parts per million, according to Canadian organizers.
The point of the cacophony, organizers said, was to ‘wake up’ Prime Minister Stephen Harper to environmental issues before he takes off for Copenhagen.
“The Canadian population wants more action about climate changes,” said Louise Lacroix, Montreal executive for QuÃ©bec solidaire. “There is a lot to do, and it needs to be done now. I think this government doesn’t represent what the population thinks and wants.”
As noisy as the cacophony was, some protesters said they were unimpressed by what they considered to be a low turnout.
Despite some negative reactions, organizers considered the event a success. “It’s cold, it’s raining, and it’s damp,” Said Marie-Eve Roy, Ã‰quiterre’s communications coordinator. “You really had to be convinced to come over here today. And 200 or 300 people just did. So it’s amazing and we are really happy with that.”
Roy said she hopes that when Harper is in Copenhagen, he will “actually commit to an objective of a 25 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions” by 2012.
– With files from Ioana Vanessa Bezman