Thousands of Montrealers marched to demand governments act against climate change, taking part in a worldwide movement happening in 80 countries on Friday.
The movement is called “Fridays for the Future”, an initiative spearheaded by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.
Many carried signs with slogans such as “stop burying your heads in the sand,” referring to the oilsands, or “don’t be a fossil fool.”
“The Earth is dying; we need to protect it,” said Angela, who was marching with her children. “What kind of Earth are they going to live in when it’s gone?”
Protesters had a series of demands — including for Canada to commit to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.
Canada had previously committed to reaching carbon neutrality by 2050 as part of the country’s climate plan. But organizers say that won’t cut it.
“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC’s) 2050 carbon neutrality target is based on a scenario in which trees are planted in huge quantities in regions where they have historically never been and where carbon capture technologies that barely exist today are deployed on a massive scale,” wrote Pour le Futur MTL in a statement.
“Even if global carbon neutrality is achieved by 2050, this scenario only represents a 49% probability of avoiding total climate collapse.”
Organizers say the government is not taking enough measures in other areas to get there.
One of the biggest problems, protesters say, is Canada’s investment in the Trans Mountain pipeline.
Many want the government to stop putting money into fossil fuels.
“We’ve had enough, we’re fed up and it’s time to take action against climate change,” said Matthew Tussman, a McGill University student.
Protesters added that governments need to take care of social issues, because climate change affects marginalized people the most.
They mentioned vaccine inequity and redirecting police funding towards community initiatives.
That is why they marched from Jeanne-Mance park all the way to the Montreal RCMP headquarters.
“Redirecting police funding towards services that are better adapted to people’s needs creates more resilient communities and decreases circumstances that lead to crime,” Pour le Futur MTL wrote.
“Within the context of the climate crisis, where heat waves, floods, pandemics, etc. are increasingly frequent, it is essential that everyone has access to services that allow them to lead a better life, as opposed to receiving punishment that does nothing to address the root problem.”
Tussman, as many said during the march, is very worried about the future.
“Extremely nervous,” Tussman said. “It’s disheartening because we just see government after government and it’s constant inaction, it’s false promises and misleading promises, it’s ridiculous.”
Similar protests took place in various cities across Canada and Quebec.