Hundreds of Montrealers march for stronger action on climate crisis

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People marched through the streets of Montreal to call on the provincial and federal governments to step up their plans to address the climate crisis. (The Canadian Press - image credit)
People marched through the streets of Montreal to call on the provincial and federal governments to step up their plans to address the climate crisis. (The Canadian Press - image credit)

Environmental groups, students and political leaders in Montreal were among hundreds that gathered to call for stronger action on climate change from governments on Saturday.

The rally, organized by members of the Réseau intersyndical pour le climat, congregated at the foot of Mount-Royal and marched through the Plateau neighbourhood to call for immediate plans from leaders to address the crisis.

"Without significant action to redress the situation and achieve the target set [under the Paris Agreement], we are all headed for disaster," organizers said in a press release.

Many at Montreal's march called for carbon neutrality by 2030 in Quebec and said they hoped Canada will cut its emissions and be a leader among G7 nations.

Kwabena Oduro/CBC News
Kwabena Oduro/CBC News

Olivier Côté, an engineer who attended the protest, says while governments must do more to fight the climate crisis, everyone needs to do their part.

"The environment is the most important fight I think we should consider," he said. "It's a situation that will get worse and worse if we don't do anything for it."

The demonstration came a day after tens of thousands filled the streets of Glasgow, Scotland, which is currently hosting the COP26 UN climate summit, calling for more concrete action from world leaders.

On Friday, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg condemned the talks in Glasgow as a failure.

Kwabena Oduro/CBC News
Kwabena Oduro/CBC News

That's why 15-year-old Mamy Sow is already stepping up. The youngest speaker at Saturday's march, Sow says it's important for youth to mobilize and fight for what is right.

"I think it's important for us to keep our planet safe and to fight for it," said Sow, who holds the title of Montreal's young minister of the environment for Sors de ta bulle (Get out of your bubble), a youth mobilization campaign on climate change in Quebec.

The presence of some of Quebec's largest unions was also strong at the march. They want all levels of government to work with them so more companies can do their part in fighting climate change.

The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press

Anne Dionne, vice-president of the Centrale des syndicats de Québec, represented over one million workers across the province at the march. She says the union is asking for immediate change.

"We need concrete action, we need structural action, we need the government to put in all the structures so we can actually reduce our consumption, reduce our emissions," she said.

At this week's UN-organized summit, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, along with more than 100 other nations, committed to ending deforestation by 2030. Canada also committed to reducing emissions by 40 to 45 per cent by 2030 and achieving net-zero emissions within the country's electricity grid by 2035.

The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press

Climate protests were also held in other cities across Europe, including London, Paris, Dublin, Copenhagen, Zurich and Istanbul this weekend.

Sow admits she's worried about the future of younger generations, who have to shoulder the effects of climate change. She says she hopes that changes will come sooner rather than later.

"Eco-anxiety is something a lot of young people are having right now because you don't really know what's going to happen, you don't know if anybody cares as much as you do," she said.

"We're mentally ready for change and we will do everything to have it."

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