Activist and her dog set off on walk from Alberta to Ottawa to demand climate action

An Alberta activist is setting off on a months-long journey to bring a message about climate change to parliament hill — that it's happening, and it's time to pay attention.

"We're in the middle of a climate crisis and our government is not responding and most people in this country have no idea what's going on or the extent of it," says Tanya Bucknor, who goes by the name Ann Cognito. 

"There is not time to sit around like this. There just isn't. People need to know what's happening and our government needs to step up."

Cognito set off from Chestermere, Alta., on Saturday on her kickbike, towing a dog carrier full of camping equipment and supplies.

The carrier will double as a place for her trusty companion Mr. Myrtle to ride when his paws get tired.

She'll follow the Trans-Canada highway for more than 3,300 kilometres, camping and living as low-carbon as possible along the way.

Cognito, the leader of local climate action group Extinction Rebellion YYC, said the plan came about from the idea that "doing something crazy" would be the best way to raise awareness.

Lucie Edwardson/CBC

She's carrying a letter and petition for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, asking him to take further action to reduce the country's carbon emissions and to declare a climate emergency. 

"There's so many people who are just completely unaware of the extent of what is actually going on," she said.

"There was a headline a couple months ago that summed it up better than I can. It said, 'the world is burning and most Albertans want more lighters.'"