We are in the midst of a climate crisis on Earth. Large systematic changes need to be made as soon as possible if we want to have a livable planet for future generations.
Our governments have not been listening to the decades of cries for the health of our planet from the people. Grassroots movements started by young activists like Greta Thunberg have been gaining steam, and inspiring the masses to get out on the streets and demand for change.
The long anticipated Global Climate Strikes are one such movement. Marches for climate justice will be happening worldwide between September 20th and 27th.
Montreal’s Climate Strike will be happening on September 27th at 12:00pm, beginning at the Statue of George-Étienne Cartier in Mt. Royal park. Vanier College will be meeting at 11:00am at the school’s main entrance, and at 11:45am at Rachel and De L’Espanade at Mt. Royal park.
Montreal’s climate rally back in March had one of the largest turn outs worldwide, and this upcoming one is expected to be no different. Greta Thunberg herself is even coming to join us in Montreal on the march!
Leading up to this historic day, Vanier College’s student life team and Sustainability Squad have planned many events. So if you want to get involved but are not sure where to start, be sure to check out some of the events and talks this week and next week on campus.
You can also grab a green felt circle pin in B-205 to show your support for the climate rallies and climate action.
When speaking with Marya Grant, Student Life, Sustainability, & Indigenous Student Advisor and a primary organiser of the climate strike events, she said that: “All of the things were telling your generation about your future are really bleak, and were not doing anything about it.”
Governments are not taking measurable actions against climate change, resulting in a growing distrust from the people.
Marya explained that “As students, we tell you to set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Action Oriented, Reachable and Timely). If the government are not making these types of goals when talking about climate change, how are we going to hold them accountable?”
The focus of the events for Marya is to “get students to understand the climate movement and think about ways they can be active in that conversation.”
Some reading this may be cynical towards protesting, thinking that their presence there won’t make a difference.
Marya replied by saying that Canada’s protests are at a crucial time as the federal elections are approaching, and that “this is your opportunity, as your generation and mine, to come together and say ‘we want climate on the electoral debate, and to be a key campaign issue.’ It will change the nature of the federal government this year.”
Several actions are happening in the classrooms of Vanier as well. English Teacher Mark Cohen invited The Insider to sit in on his class to speak to him and his students about their projects pertaining to climate action.
Cohen is trying to generate more interest and energy in the protest in order to get more Vanier students out protesting on the 27th. He decided to use his English class themed on dystopia titled “The Nightmare Vision”, to discuss issues of sustainability in the first third of the semester.
He never did this in his English class before, but he thought “since [the climate strike] is happening now, since it is a crisis, and it really is a nightmare vision, why not get students to make practical projects that are related to the climate march?”
And so he did, and I spoke to a handful of them about their topics and why they chose them.
One group is organising a workshop for pledge writing, and they stressed that it was important to highlight the importance of small actions that have large impacts, and they wanted their activity to be more hands on.
Another group is making their project on informing the Vanier population about how to vote, since many students are first time voters, why it is important to vote, and researching what each party’s stances on sustainability are.
When asked for his perspective on the climate strike as a teacher, Cohen said “it’s the key that young people are taking hold of this issue, and showing that its their futures that are at stake by getting out in the streets.”
And that is what I urge you to do fellow student. The climate calls for you to hit the streets on September 27th and join the fight.
Schedule of events and talks at Vanier:
Written by: India-Lynn Upshaw-Ruffner