A candlelight vigil was held at the Alberta legislature grounds on Sunday evening to bring attention to environmental issues and the need for action.
Christian, Muslim and Jewish religious leaders from Edmonton’s Anglican Church, Al Rashid mosque and Temple Beth Ora, stood alongside young activists who were calling on all levels of government, demanding change.
“Faith communities have long traditions of getting involved with political issues and climate change is a deeply political and justice based issue, ” explained Gabrielle Gelderman, and event organizer.
But it’s not often you hear of climate change coupled with faith or religion.
“We need all the resources we can get, and sometimes religion, philosophy, people’s deeply held beliefs give them reasons for why they care about things and give them inspiration and courage for taking risks or making sacrifices, ” Reverend Scott Sharman with the Anglican Church said.
“I think faith groups have a lot to offer in terms advocating for justice and also in offering wisdom in a problem that is deeply existential and deeply emotionally troubling for so many young people and people of all ages,” added Gelderman.
On Friday, crowds of people around the planet attend rallies demanding action on climate change.
Watch below (Sept. 20): Some Edmontonians gathered for a rally downtown on Friday to demand more action on climate change. The protest ended with a “die-in” where protesters showed what they believe will happen to humans if no action is taken on the issue.
In Edmonton, a couple hundred young people marched downtown before taking part in a “die-in” to draw attention to what they fear may happen if politicians don’t act on the issue.
“We did a die-in, which is where everyone shows what will happen if we do nothing,” said Abram Ilcisin, a 16-year-old organizer with Edmonton Youth for Climate.
“So we pretended to be dead by lying on the floor and showing that this is what our bodies will look like… if nothing is done.”
The event was also promoted by the group Climate Justice Edmonton.
Across the world on Friday, the so-called Global Climate Strike saw many children skip school to take part in the day of action meant to pressure political leaders to tackle climate change in the run-up to a U.N. Summit.
Another event is planned in Edmonton for Friday, Sept. 27.
Watch below (June 27): Alberta premier Jason Kenney and other Western Canada premiers say they discussed strategies for fighting climate change at a meeting in Edmonton.
The Edmonton Global Strike for Climate Action will see participants march from Churchill Square at noon to the Alberta legislature. Some students from the University of Alberta and MacEwan University are scheduled to attend.
“Our house is on fire – let’s act like it,” the event page reads. “Millions of children and students across the globe have been striking on Fridays to demand action on the climate crisis from all levels of government and civil society. The international Fridays for Future movement, sparked by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg‘s one-person protest, has gained widespread support from youth in Canada.”
READ MORE: City of Edmonton declares climate emergency
Sunday’s candlelight vigil is open to Edmontonians of any faith community and will feature youth and leaders from Temple Beth Ora, Al Rashid Mosque, and the Anglican Church.
“Recognizing the urgency of the climate crisis and the duty of faith communities to take a stand, hundreds of people from all backgrounds will gather to demonstrate solidarity with the Edmonton youth organizing the climate strikes on Sept. 20 and 27.”
Watch below (Sept. 21): Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg on Saturday told a U.N. Youth Summit that Friday’s coordinated strikes around the world calling for action against climate change showed that young people are “united” and “unstoppable.”
— With files from Phil Heidenreich