MONCTON – Teenagers are hungry for change when it comes to climate action, and they’re backed by adults, as well some businesses and politicians.
At least 1,700 people took part in a march in Moncton on Friday, demanding all three levels of government to move away from “business as usual” and take the climate crisis seriously. Moncton is one of hundreds of cities around the world that took part in the Global Climate Strike on Friday.
The protesters also demanded a strict greenhouse gas reduction plan that will allow for a 45 per cent drop in emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050 at the latest, as recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. They want more public education, for governments to recognize and help citizen councils for the environment and climate that will be tasked at varying scales to oversee related policies and to support and implement ecosystem restoration and regeneration projects.
Youth leaders took turns speaking to a cheering crowd. Among them were Antoine Zboralski, the president of the environmental and social justice group Symbiose, which led the rally. Sarah Gingles from Bernice McNaughton High School and Krysta Cowling also spoke.
Gingles said she’s “tired” of the climate conversation being about recycling, “when nobody mentions the reuse or reduce part first.”
She urged her peers to make their choices as consumers known to polluter companies, and lead by example.
“Contact [the companies] to say why we refuse to buy their product. Why we’re not going to help them ruin the planet because if we take action, they will be forced to,” she said.
“We can’t just say that we want change and that we are the hope and we do nothing ourselves to change…You need to change yourself. I need to change myself,” she added. “We know we have to change our negative habits that harm the environment. So let’s encourage others to make those changes with us and be those leaders.”
Cowling noted Premier Blaine Higgs’ recently announced six government priorities, which didn’t include climate action. She called on Higgs to shift away from pipeline projects, shale gas development, and other fossil fuel extraction programs.
“The climate crisis is affecting our community like never before and it only gets worse without action. The climate crisis affects all New Brunswickers,” she said.
The young speakers also urged their peers to manifest their demand for change through their vote in the federal election.
Moncton Mayor Dawn Arnold said the city has taken steps by declaring a climate emergency, among other things, and said the city won’t allow the use of herbicide glyphosate in the watershed. She urged citizens to help densify the city’s core so better public and active transportation can be implemented.
Councillor Pierre Boudreau called for a fight against “misinformation that’s systematically put on every media by the oil companies, by the super rich, who control the media, especially in New Brunswick.”
Some businesses, like Cafe C’est La Vie, Calactus and VOX Interactif closed for the duration of the march. Others, like National Bank, had their employees on the street participating. OMISTA Credit Union encouraged the community to attend by sharing the march schedule in chalk in front of their office on 151 Cornhill St., along with the message “there is no planet B.” OMISTA also had some of its staff and a board director attend the march.
There is a World Climate Change March happening globally today. All members of our community are encouraged to march…
Huddle also spotted Porpoise co-founder Dan Gillis, Natalie Davison of Marrow, Cindy Comeau of C3 Leadership, Mylene Despres of La Station, Luc Doucet of Black Rabbit, Emma and Yannick Theriault of DAS Concrete and others in the crowd.
Here are some photos from the protest: