Written by Caden Shapiro
Photos by Justin Lee
“Just listen to science,” Greta Thunberg said as she marched with 300,000 people in Montreal today. After a memorable speech to UN delegates last week, she inspired hundreds of thousands across Canada to protest the ignorance of global leaders and their decisions regarding climate change. Some of those leaders seem to think the next generation of voters misunderstand the situation. US President Donald Trump referred to Thunberg’s actions on climate as “musings of a silly school girl,” while Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned children against “needless” climate anxiety.
However, as thousands of mostly students marched through the heart of Toronto today, there was no confusion as to why they were there. I witnessed the passion and urgency of those who marched. Sadly, kids had to leave school to demand a basic right: a clean environment, one that is not tarnished by shortsighted economic or political decisions, one that provides an opportunity for these kids, their kids, and their grandchildren to enjoy normal lives on a healthy planet.
Not misled, not “needless” worry, and not silly schoolchildren. It felt like we knew why we were there, why we were marching, and what we were standing up for. So I asked a few UCC students why they were there, what their biggest concern was, and what they thought of the power of young people to make change.
Ben Swan – Y12 Student
I am here because sometimes being a leader means taking action. Our current way of life is unsustainable. Young people are our future leaders, and they are the driving force behind change. They are the catalyst for the future world. We can put a unique type of pressure on current leaders and help push for change.
Krishna Bambawale – Y11 Student
I’m here because I realized our generation is going to inherit this problem, and as such, it falls on us to inspire change.
Mr Hill – English Department
I’m here to support it and you. To be inspired. I think probably the apathy of most people, myself included, is a problem. The biggest danger is people brush it off, refuse it’s happening. I hope this protest has a massive effect. As an adult, when you hear kids protesting, it makes me feel proud and excited. Though, it’s also unfortunate that kids have to be leaving school to protest something like this.
Gaurav Dogra – Y12 Student
I’m here to raise awareness and make a change. I think the biggest problem is rising sea levels. It’s essential to show kids care about these issues. I think it’s different when kids care about these issues because they have a different perspective than adults and are selective in what they care about.
Thanks for reading. Check out @TBAWUCC on Instagram for more and a recap of the March.