Climate activists of all ages came together for the Global Climate Strike last Friday, marching through the streets of downtown Toronto.
The march began at noon at Queen’s Park, across from the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, and the strikers dispersed after reaching Nathan Phillips Square to chant in front of City Hall.
With the weather reaching -4°C and feeling well below -10 °C, the group of protestors, albeit smaller in size compared to the numbers from two months ago, were ardent. A tentative headcount by a marshal reported approximately 5,000 participants.
The strike was organized by Fridays For Future Toronto in collaboration with other cities across the world and was arranged to take place right before the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP 25 which will be held in Madrid between December 2 and December 13.
COP 25 will not only discuss the developments regarding the Paris Agreement, which was put into action last year, but will also consider upcoming critical advances in climate change.
In an email correspondence with The Medium, Amrita Daniere, vice-principal, academic and dean at UTM, discussed the significance of this issue.
“Climate change is clearly one of the most, if not the most, important issues of our time,” said Daniere. “UTM is committed to embracing sustainability both through research and teaching but also through how we manage and build the campus.”
“I would also like to mention that UTM has recently struck a Sustainability Advisory Committee to the Principal at UTM which is meeting regularly and developing a process to create a Sustainability Strategic Plan,” continued Daniere.
The Medium spoke with John Baumann, a semi-retired elementary school teacher and one of the head marshals involved in the climate strikes of Fridays For Future.
“What [climate justice] really refers to is the inherent injustice of not only destroying our planet, but having the human victims of this destruction be the people who have least benefited from all the carbon consumption that’s gone on in the last 150 years,” said Baumann.
“Any kind of ethics dictates that we consider the other people in our world. I believe that many people think only of themselves, or their immediate loved ones […] and don’t look any further than that. I’m ashamed of that,” continued Baumann.
Baumann was very encouraged about the increasing youth involvement in climate justice activism and global climate strikes.
“I love it!” said Baumann. “You are going to be the leaders in this. You have to be and it’s your world. The consequences of inaction will be yours to deal with.”
“We need all the help we can get. This is a big battle and it needs everybody. We need all hands on deck,” said Baumann concluding his statements by calling for action and highlighting the importance of awareness among youth.
The Medium also spoke with Hailey Bernard, a high school student who had come out to her first climate strike armed with recycled signs and a large group of friends.
“We are so gifted to have this world and the fact that we’re wrecking it just really hurts my heart,” said Bernard. “We use more than we think we do. Even going thrift shopping first before you go to a retail store or a fast-fashion store is a small thing that you can do.”
The climate activists will continue to strike every Friday at Queen’s Park.