MONTREAL — On Sunday, thousands of Montrealers are expected to take part in what is being described as the largest global climate change demonstration in history.
Rallies and marches are taking place around the world ahead of the UN summit on the climate crisis in New York next week.
Protesters are demanding bold climate action and an end to extractive industries, as President Obama, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other world leaders meet to discuss climate change.
“A lot of people tune out because they feel hopeless.”
Canadian author and activist Naomi Kline told Global News that the biggest issue is about believing that change is possible, and change becomes possible through collective movements and activism.
“Being told that our collective home is in deep trouble and that the future for our kids looks pretty scary is a hard idea to hold in your head at the same time as you’re living in a culture that is acting as if this isn’t happening.”
She said that if people do nothing, scientists are warning we’re headed towards a level of warming that will “change everything about our world.”
“If we change course, it requires us to change some fundamental things about our economic model.”
Watch: This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the climate
The People’s Climate March is an event that local organizers are hoping will inspire such change.
Jenny Loughran, one of the coordinators for the march, told Global News that they are expecting a large turnout for the September 21 rally in Montreal.
“It’s been amazing, the type of positive reactions we’ve been getting,” she said. “We’re estimating there will be 3,000 to 5,000 people attending the event.”
She became involved after seeing an email from Avaaz, asking people interested in organizing local climate change marches to get in touch.
She did, and was put in contact with about 70 other volunteers in Montreal who wanted to make a difference.
“We’re kind of in dire straits.”
“It’s not too late to turn around, but it will take a large global movement to do it,” she said.
“If we have communities around the globe joining together, it will be really inspiring.”
The march is set to start on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at Lafontaine Park. It will end with a pow-wow in Jeanne-Mance Park at around 4 p.m.
Café Santropol is offering free coffee to participants, there will be face painting, and in addition to speakers such as Catherine Potvin, a McGill University professor and Chair for Climate Change Research in Canada, the Raging Grannies will be on hand to sing a few songs.