More than 100 people stood outside Lethbridge City Hall Friday to join the international movement against climate change.
It’s an issue one resident at the protest said has been ignored for too long.
“I’m really frustrated at the inaction of our leaders,” said Madeline Smith.
“I’m hoping that if we make enough noise, they’ll listen.”
Friday’s protest saw countless signs and demonstrated an overwhelming sense of unity, with community members singing in unison, hoping for change.
For Emily Lumley, a local resident present at Friday’s rally, the event was an opportunity to bring together like-minded individuals to create a collective voice.
“I think it’s time for us to make our voices loud, so it’s not just the same angry people you’re hearing all the time,” she said. “I don’t think of us as angry, I think of us as motivated and ready for change.”
“This is a climate emergency and change is not happening fast enough.”
Residents were also happy to offer their thoughts on what provincial and federal leaders can do to help minimize their footprints on the environment.
“We need sustainable energy,” said Lethbridge resident Mia Green.
“In Alberta, we’re so focused on oil and gas and I think it’s well time to move on from that and actually focus on things that are renewable.”
James Byrne, a professor at the University of Lethbridge, added that capitalizing on these sources of renewable energy is a valuable economic driver that’s currently going to waste.
“Climate change is the biggest economic opportunity that humanity has ever had,” Byrne said.
“It’s actually a massive opportunity for southern Alberta. We are the best place in Canada for solar and wind energy and we can combine that with our agriculture.”
WATCH BELOW: (September 2019) Global Climate Strike: Protesters march worldwide to demand climate action
Friday’s rally was part of a nationwide event, encompassing several Canadian cities and towns as part of the Global Climate Strike.
Sydney Whiting, co-organizer of the Lethbridge rally, said the idea was first inspired by Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist.
“For Greta to be 16 and to be inspiring this global movement, it’s amazing to just be a part of that,” she said.
“It’s amazing to see how many people are here. All generations have come out to support this cause, here and around the world.”
Friday’s climate change rally was not the first of its kind in Lethbridge, however Whiting said it brought out the largest crowd so far. She said the growing audience shows the movement is starting to gain traction not just locally, but across the globe.