“I’m here because of our future”: Climate change activists march together in a global strike for climate justice

Noah Tremblay-Mimouni holding a sign picturing planet Earth at the Montreal 2021 Climate March.

The annual Global Protest for Climate Justice, part of the Fridays for Future movement (FFF) launched by Greta Thunberg, is back for the third year in a row.

On Sept. 24 thousands of demonstrators gathered in front of the Sir George-Étienne Cartier Monument to march against climate injustice, calling for radical change.

In August 2018, activist Greta Thunberg began a school strike for the climate that became an annual global event among high school and university students.

In 2019, as many as 500,000 people were reported to have attended the first Fridays for Future movement (FFF)  climate protest. 

Last year, Montreal was declared an orange zone, effectively restricting large gatherings shortly before the strike. But, protestors gathered anyway, proving that many consider the climate crisis just as important as the current health crisis.

A year later, the Coalition étudiante pour un virage environnemental et social (CEVES), The Racial Justice Collective and the Solidarity Across Borders led the crowd once again.

Rosalie Thibault, a student organizer, opened her speech by addressing it to the politicians at the march. “A politician’s place is at their desk, writing policies about climate change, and not here in a march against themselves.”

Jérôme Leclerc, a spokesperson and nurse for the CIUSSS de l’Est-de-l’Île-de-Montréal followed, saying that “the climate crisis is also a public health crisis.” 

Leclerc also voiced his concerns about the current climate situation.

“When I look at how our health care network has been KO’d by COVID-19, I wonder how we’re going to deal with this endless succession of disasters.”

He ended his speech with a hopeful note and said, “I hope for our families — I hope they can breathe healthy air. I hope they will make plans and emancipate themselves… I hope they can see the beauty of the world, but I dare believe we have the strength.”

Claudel Pétrin-Desrosiers, another spokesperson and doctor for the CIUSSS de l’Est-de-l’Île-de-Montréal, shared in her speech that the climate crisis is not receiving enough attention.

“As a Quebecer, I wonder,” she began. “I wonder, how can we invest billions of dollars in the construction of highways […] rather than investing in the fight and adaptation of climate change.”

She asked why the government continues to transform natural sites into harmful industrial projects, like the condo project located in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district.

Pétrin-Desrosiers ended her speech by saying, “There is a clear plan: to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5 C.”

Student Sofia McVetty explained why she attended the strike.

“Climate change is going to devastate our planet if we don’t act now. We are already past the point of no return. At this point, education does not matter much. In the future, if the earth is a ball of fire, it won’t matter if you have a BA or a DEC,” she added.

As the crowd shouted “Political actions for climate justice,” protest participant Daryn Chitsaz  said that stronger regulations targeting companies are also needed.

“We need a more unified government. They really need to take the lead on this, and a lot of that would be done by taxing or putting tariffs on polluters,” Chitsaz suggested.

Another solution recommended by Eve Chabot-Veilleux, a Concordia student and member of the CEVES, is to create a CEVES group at Concordia.

“We really want Concordia to be involved in the climate crisis,” she said. “Climate justice is the fight of our generation, and Concordia should be a part of that.”

 

Photo by Lou Neveux-Pardijon

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