Kelowna protesters join countrywide Extinction Rebellion rally

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A handful of Kelowna protesters participated in the countrywide Extinction Rebellion on Monday. – Oct 8, 2019

A handful of Kelowna protesters took to the streets during Monday’s evening rush hour as part of the nationwide Extinction Rebellion.

Extinction Rebellion describes itself as an “international movement that uses non-violent civil disobedience in an attempt to halt mass extinction and minimize the risk of social collapse.”

READ MORE: What is Extinction Rebellion and what does it want?

“It’s so important people speak up because this is a crucial time,” protester Holly McLeod said.

“There have been forest fires. There’s desertification. I mean if you look globally, there are islands underwater,” protester Jessica Kent added. “There [are] already people being pushed off their land. A huge migration of people is happening, and it’s only going to get worse.”

While other cities saw protesters cause chaos and congestion, in Kelowna, they largely stayed on the sidewalk, displaying signs to commuters on the bridge.

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“I’m very concerned about our future. We don’t know what’s coming in as close as 10 years,” protester Karen Colterjohn said. “We’re looking at potential mass starvation.”

READ MORE: Vancouver’s Burrard Bridge reopens, arrests made after day-long climate change protest

Protesters were calling for the government to take real action, including Kelowna’s city council.

“We’re trying to get Kelowna’s city council to declare a climate emergency, which several other cities have already done,” Colterjohn said.

Protesters also want voters to apply pressure to federal leaders to tackle climate change.

“I’m most concerned about the government’s lack of willingness to do something. I think their responsibility is to protect the people and not the corporations, and I don’t see that happening at the moment,” McLeod said.

People who are already marginalized are usually hit hardest by climate change, McLeod said.

“Quite often, it’s Indigenous peoples, people who have contributed the least to climate change — they’re the ones who are suffering the most at the moment,” she added.