Monday, April 13, 2015

Canada's Largest Ever Climate March

On Saturday, April 11th people from all walks of life came together in Quebec City for the largest climate themed protest in Canadian history. The Act on Climate March was timed to take place just ahead of a premiers' summit planned for Quebec City on April 14. At the summit provincial and territorial leaders are expected to discuss the role the provinces can play leading up to the COP 21 climate summit scheduled for Paris at the end of the year.

A total of 25,000 people including a number of families peacefully marched to tell Canada's provincial and territorial leaders demanding immediate action on climate change. Protestors encouraged Canada's leadership to adopt green policies, including more renewable energy and less pipelines.
Protestors specifically decried the proposed tar sands pipelines which are at odds with efforts to combat climate change. The protestors singled out a number of pipelines including the Keystone XL, Energy East, and Northern Gateway. They made the point that national emissions reduction cannot be achieved alongside expanded fossil fuel extraction.
The march was organized by a coalition of environmental groups that included Greenpeace Canada, Nature Qu├ębec, Environmental defense and others. Unions, students and aboriginal groups were also present at the march were. In addition to locals, a total of 100 buses ferried protestors to Quebec city where they marched three kilometres to the National Assembly. The protestors all donned red clothing and formed a giant thermometer in front of Quebec's National Assembly to draw attention to our warming planet. Even the police wore red hats to symbolize their support for the protest.

There were also a number of other protest across the country from Canadians to show solidarity with the Climate March in Quebec. Even those at the heart of Canada's fossil fuels industry in Alberta got involved. Edmontonians rallied for climate action on the steps of the Alberta legislature. The Organizers of the Edmonton rally reiterated the theme of the Quebec march saying politicians cannot claim to be climate leaders while supporting tar sands expansion. They also advocated divestment from fossil fuels and more renewable energy. Protestors in Edmonton urged people to keep these issues in mind when they go to the provincial polls on May 5.

Upon seeing images from the protest 350.org founder Bill McKibben tweeted, "Canada is fully awake."

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