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Hundreds of people gathered on the grounds of the Ontario legislature on Saturday to demand that governments take stronger action immediately to reduce carbon emissions.
The demonstrators sang songs, chanted slogans and waved flags. They held signs and placards and listened to speakers. There was Indigenous drumming, singing and dancing.
Toronto residents of all ages were there.
"There's no Planet B," read one sign. "Our kids (+ 8M species) depend on us," read another.
Alice Zhu, an environmental PhD student at the University of Toronto, told the large crowd that the COP26 climate talks, currently underway in Glasgow, Scotland, must be a turning point in the fight against climate change. Zhu is a member of the People's Climate Movement.
"There is no time to waste," Zhu said.
Zhu outlined the demands of the demonstrators:
Respect Indigenous sovereignty.
Phase out fossil fuels.
A just transition for communities and workers.
Global justice around climate.
Zhu urged the federal government to step up its plans to address the climate crisis.
She added Canada must increase its pledge to the Green Climate fund for climate mitigation, adaption and green development. There should be no new fossil fuel developments and infrastructure and an end to fossil fuel subsidies, she added.
"We must leave oil in the ground," Zhu said.
During the rally, demonstrators held up a large paper mache face with hands and a globe of the Earth that displayed the message: "It's in your hands COP26."
Andria Babbington, a labour activist and the first Black woman president of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council, said people are fighting for the "four pillars of justice" — economic, social, racial and climate justice.
"We can and we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions in all sectors," she said.
Babbington noted that Ontario Premier Doug Ford, when he was first elected, immediately gutted the provincial environment ministry. She urged the demonstrators to vote him out in June 2022.
"He wasted money and precious time," she said.
Niki Moeini, a member of Youth Climate Save, said she attended the rally because she believes that the world needs to reduce its carbon emissions by changing its food production methods.
"What we are calling for is a transition to more sustainable food system," she said.
A coalition of labour, environmental and social justice groups organized the rally.
The rally comes a week after the COP26 climate talks began in Glasgow, Scotland. The talks wrap up in another week.