As more young people take the front line in the fight for climate action, Dawson College has shown solidarity for the movement by finding ways to lessen its carbon emissions and impact on the planet.
Last year, the school pledged to become carbon-neutral forever.
On Monday, they marked their commitment by planting a white pine tree — an Indigenous symbol for peace.
“We hope that the planting of a new white pine on our grounds will serve as a symbol of our desire to push for a more radical shift in the way our community fights climate change,” said Émilie Richer, spokesperson for Dawson Teachers’ Union.
Like many other schools, Dawson cancelled classes this Friday to allow students and staff to attend the Climate March.
John Nathaniel Gertler, who studies the environment at Dawson, hopes decision-makers will hear his voice.
“What I would like is for politicians, big business owners and people in power to act with the same sort of urgency and fear that I have,” he told Global News.
Coun. Sterling Downey encouraged students to take politicians to task.
“They have the right to press us, they have the right to challenge us, they have the right to hold us to the commitments that we make and to make sure that we’re doing them,” he said at Dawson College on Tuesday.
WATCH (Sept. 24, 2019): High school students weigh in on youth movement addressing climate change
More schools are stepping up to fight climate change.
Ten Quebec universities — including Concordia University, Université de Montréal (UdeM), Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), HEC Montréal, and Polytechnique Montréal — joined an international universtity movement to declare a state of climate emergency.
In doing so, they commit to becoming carbon-neutral by 2030, or 2050 at the latest, allocating more resources for climate change research, and making environmental and sustainability education more available in programs and on campuses.
During the UN Climate Summit on Monday, Mayor Valerie Plante announced her plan to reduce carbon emissions by 55 per cent by 2030.
Downey said politicians, as well as individuals, have a responsibility to guarantee the future of the planet.
“Change hurts sometimes and change upsets people’s habits and lives and ways of doing things, but it’s necessary. The status quo just doesn’t cut it anymore,” Downey said.
Dawson students said they also count on taking the climate fight to the polls on Oct. 21.
WATCH (Sept. 23, 2019): Thunberg blasts world leaders at climate summit: “How dare you!”