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Seeking real change on climate

by Milos Kovacevic April 14, 2015
Seeking real change on climate

Over 25,000 march in Quebec City ahead of climate change summit

Anti-petroleum activists and environmentalists came from all over the country to display their solidarity against human-caused climate change in an event culminating in a symbolic human thermometer. Photo by Andy Fidel.

Anti-petroleum activists and environmentalists came from all over the country to display their solidarity against human-caused climate change in an event culminating in a symbolic human thermometer. Photo by Andy Fidel.

A Concordia contingent of some 150 to 200 individuals made their way to Quebec City over the weekend to take part in a march against tar sands, pipelines, and climate change that some estimated included as many as 27,000 individuals.

The march was carried out in protest of Canada’s political stance on climate change, the muzzling of science by government policy, and what some called a lack of political will on provincial and federal levels towards tackling climate change and corporate power. It was also carried out to show solidarity with frontline communities most impacted by these policies. The march was followed by a Climate Action Forum on Sunday, held by activists looking to exchange ideas and develop new means of resistance to resource extraction.

It came just ahead of an April 14 climate change summit by Canada’s premiers.

“There were people coming from as far as Kingston and central New Brunswick,” said Trevor Smith, executive member of Concordia’s Graduate Student Association (GSA). “You don’t see protests this big in Quebec City.”

In addition to the usual environmental presences like Greenpeace and delegations from First Nations communities, Smith said there was also a strong labour presence, which he found surprising.

The two-day event was peaceful and without incident, though one of the Concordia buses was searched in the time between the students’ drop-off and pick-up. The Concordia Student Union (CSU) preferred not to comment, citing a lack of information as to why it was searched and the wishes of the bus driver and organizer to stay anonymous.

“The purpose of the march was to let the political leadership across the country know that we can no longer afford to have a society based on fossil fuels,” said CSU VP Academic & Advocacy Terry Wilkings, who also participated in Sunday’s Climate Action Forum.

“Projects like these lead to a broader conversation about what ethical investments look like,” he said. “They also highlight the dangers of predatory capitalism.”

“If our environmental safety was a financial institution, it would have already been fixed.”

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