Protesting students want Canada to adhere to 2015 Paris Climate Agreement
500 high school students protest Friday on the Legislature lawn in Edmonton demanding climate action.
GABRIEL GELDERMAN —JUDITH GALE PHOTO
PUBLISHED SATURDAY—MAY 4
Friday afternoon, Edmonton students from more than a dozen high schools
staged a strike to demand climate action from the governments of Canada
and Alberta. More than 500 students and supporters marched through
downtown Edmonton, gathering on the steps of the Alberta Legislature to
voice their demands.
Their strike is part of a international #FridaysforFuture day of action in which tens of thousands of students, in over 725 strikes worldwide, 85 of which are in Canada, have walked out of class demanding governments bring their climate policies in line with international agreements.
A group of Edmonton students spent weeks planning the strike, following up their first event which took place on March 15 and brought in more than 400 participants.
“We’re here with the same demands as we had in March” said Yara Cabral-Seixas, a strike organizer and grade 11 student, “but now we have a name for it––a Green New Deal. A Green New Deal is a massive, post-WWII level public investment in a just transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030. And we know that a transition can only be just if it protects workers and upholds Indigenous rights.”
The students said Canada is proving that
the government isn’t committed to the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement by
continued expansion of fossil fuel extraction, continuing to subsidize
the fossil fuel industry, violating the rights of Indigenous peoples in
order to build fossil fuel infrastructure like the Trans Mountain
pipeline. They hope to see that change come October.
“This next federal election is critical, and since most of us can’t vote we’re out here in the streets to have our voices heard,” said student organizer and grade 12 student Marko Lytviak. “We want to remind every voter and politician of what the IPCC report said––the action we take in the next few years could literally determine our whole future. For our government to not take real action is frankly negligent and cruel to future generations.”
Strike organizers and participants have been further motivated to strike by the recent provincial election. “We were planning this demonstration before Jason Kenney was elected, but now it feels even more urgent. We know his policies will make a bad situation worse,” said Abram Ilcisin, another student organizer. “He is promising to double down on a dying fossil fuel industry and roll back much needed public investment in renewables; this makes me worry whether I'll be able to find good work in my future” he continued.
The students demand that all levels of
Canadian government enact a Green New Deal, a plan for a just transition
1) Act to keep global warming below 1.5°C by transitioning to a 100% renewably-powered economy by 2030 with net-zero carbon emissions, whilst also following the commitments Canada made in the Paris Climate Agreement.
2) Decolonize the land by respecting the rights, title, and sovereignty of Indigenous Peoples.
3) End all fossil fuel subsidies and new fossil fuel development, and instead use government money to fund renewable energy development.
4) Facilitate a just transition for all workers by providing retraining opportunities, creating new jobs, and maintaining pensions for retired workers, by funding renewables, public transit, education, and other climate solutions instead of new fossil fuel projects.
5) Promote and engage youth views on the future, addressing youth concerns regarding their and other generations future.