Manitobans join global partners in climate strike at Legislature

On March 3, Manitobans will have an opportunity to join forces with climate advocates from around the world for the 2023 Global Climate Strike.

Organizations behind the local event include Fridays for Future Manitoba, Climate Change Connection, and Manitoba’s Climate Action Team.

On Friday, between 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m., the groups hope to see thousands from around the province converge on the north steps of the Manitoba Legislature to make their voices heard.

“A just transition that protects both people and our planet is possible,” says Bethany Daman, former Niverville resident and communications manager for Manitoba’s Climate Action Team. “Our team has created a pathway called the Road to Resilience that outlines what a transition away from fossil fuels in our province would look like. What we need now is measurable government action to help make it easier for Manitobans to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels.”

For three weeks in 2018, young Greta Thunberg sat vigil on the steps of the Swedish Parliament, protesting her government’s lack of action towards a worldwide climate crisis.

Soon after she was joined on the steps of Parliament by others. They called themselves Fridays for Future (FFF). Their collective call to action sparked international attention.

Today, the youth-led movement spans 7,500 cities across every continent.

The first FFF-initiated climate strike was held in 2019. Strikers from around the world totalled four million strong, many of them schoolchildren.

“The goal of the movement is to put moral pressure on policymakers, to make them listen to the scientists, and then to take forceful action to limit global warming,” the FFF website states. “We strike because we care for our planet and for each other. We have hope that humanity can change, avert the worst climate disasters and build a better future.”

According to Daman, the mandate of this year’s Manitoba Climate Strike is to demand that all levels of government create and implement a strategy which will reduce emissions in Manitoba by at least 50 percent by 2050.

These figures, local advocates believe, will bring Manitoba in line with the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015, which was to limit global temperature increases to 1.5 Celsius over the coming decades.

The local chapter of the FFF says there will be no march around the city’s downtown like there was in 2019. Instead the event will begin and end at the legislative grounds.

Participants of this year’s strike can expect singing, speeches, and opportunities for further action. Water and hot chocolate will be provided. School bus parking will be available.

Brenda Sawatzky, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Niverville Citizen