Montreal’s young people weren’t the only ones fighting for the planet on Friday.
Seniors gathered at the Norman Bethune statue on the corner of Guy Street and De Maisonneuve Boulevard to join in a citywide climate strike attended by Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and Green party Leader Elizabeth May.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh attended a climate change march in Victoria, B.C., on Friday as well, while Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was also in B.C. but did not attend a climate change march.
The seniors’ event in Montreal, organized in collaboration with Sustainable Concordia, invited older residents by word of mouth, placing ads in newspapers and reaching out to senior organizations.
“Seniors want to be part of the conversation when it comes to climate change. We want our presence to be known,” says senior march organizer Mark Medicoff.
With homemade signs in hand, the group marched behind an orange banner reading: “A liveable planet for our grandchildren.”
The group met up with students from Concordia University and Dawson College, marching alongside them before joining the thousands of demonstrators gathered at the George-Étienne Cartier monument.
Most elderly demonstrators acknowledged their generation is part of the reason why the planet is currently facing a climate crisis.
“We contributed to the problem in a very major way, and it’s going to be our responsibility to help resolve the problem,” Medicoff says.
“And if we don’t, we should be ashamed of ourselves.”
Protesters with the group say they see this as an opportunity to improve the planet, not only for their own grandchildren but for generations to come.
“In 20 years, I won’t be here, my grandkids will be, and I would like them to be able to live in a way that is similar to the way I lived,” says demonstrator Suzanne Belson.
Organizers hope the seniors’ march sparks a ripple of change in their lives by showing them they can help the planet not just today but every day.
“They can buy sustainable stocks that will encourage the growth of climate change, they can stop eating as much meat as they do,” says Medicoff.
“There’s a lot that seniors can do that they may not be aware of.”
WATCH: Climate activist Greta Thunberg speaks at Montreal Climate March