Hundreds of students marched through Calgary on Friday to demand action on an issue they and thousands of other Canadians and people across the world say is extremely urgent: climate change.
Inspired by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, the student-planned protest brought kids out of their classroom seats and into the streets. In Calgary, the event was more popular than anticipated.
Students joined others in the Fridays For Future rally outside City Hall at noon. Students were also gathering outside the University of Calgary to have their message heard.
Many of the young people seen downtown said they were marching because they don’t get a vote in how political leaders are handling their future.
“Everyone else that is in power is going to die of old age, and we’re all going to die of climate change,“ student Larissa Shannon said from the City Hall rally.
Organizer of Friday’s march, 13-year-old Elise Zhang, said the strike has doubled, maybe even tripled in size since the first one held in March which only had about 150 people. Zhang said about 300 to 400 people joined in on Friday.
“We are not the people who created this problem,” Zhang said. “We, as youth, are members of the public who will have to live with catastrophic… like really, really bad things that will happen in the future because of this crisis.
“If we don’t do something now, if we don’t cut our emissions, we will die.”
Students also protested outside St. Mary’s High School on Friday, calling on politicians in all levels of government to do more to tackle the quickly changing climate.
“I want to be able to tell my kids that I did everything in my power to say they could see a tree on the street and they have fresh air to breathe,” Grade 10 student Gemma Dimarzo said.
“The people who are making the decisions right now aren’t advocating for the youth because we are the future.”
“The politicians have to put more effort on saving us and the world because there’s no Plan B,” said Grade 11 student Carlos Suante.
The student organizers of Calgary’s Fridays for Future rally said their demands of the governments include new Green Deal policies that would:
- Improve efficiency and accessibility to the city’s transit system and push for high-speed, efficient transportation across Canada
- Enact aggressive environmental protection laws aimed at reducing emissions by 45 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030
- Create millions of well-paying public jobs under to allow for Just Transition to a net-zero carbon economy
- Invest in the renewable energy sector and make training, employment and support of the oil and gas sector and affected workers a priority
— With files from Global News’ Tiffany Lizee