Council of Canadians part of People’s Climate March

September 25th, 2014

100+ world leaders gathered in NYC. 2808 solidarity events in 166 countries. The largest climate march in history.

“With a last count of 400,000 people strong, it indeed was the largest climate march in history, and one of the largest social movement moments in years.” — Andrea Harden-Donahue, energy & climate justice campaigner

On Sunday, September 21st, more than 20 Council of Canadians chapters took part in rallies and actions across Canada. In Guelph, the turnout was sizeable, with young and old coming out to draw attention to the multitude of climate change effects.

In keeping with the new environmental awareness, on Monday, September 22nd, the Rockefeller heirs announced their pledge to divest from fossil fuels to the tune of $50 billion dollars.

People's Climate Change Rally in Guelph

A crowd of over 250 concerned Canadians participated in the People's Climate Change Mobilization outside old city hall in Guelph.

Guelph joins clarion call for action
Activist says Canada’s record recently on climate change is ‘putting our head in the tar sands’

Rallying for change

Tony Saxon, Mercury staff

Roughly 250 people attended a rally for action on climate change outside Guelph’s Provincial Offences Court on Carden Street Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014. The rally was in support of a much larger gathering outside the United Nations in New York.

Guelph Mercury

By Tony Saxon

GUELPH — The call for action on climate change was heard around the world Sunday, including in downtown Guelph.

As thousands took part in the People’s Climate March in New York City, about 250 people gathered on Carden Street, as one of 2,800 smaller events in 166 different countries in support of the New York event.

The Guelph rally was organized by Steve Dyck of Citizens Climate Lobby Guelph.

“We’ll gather in support of a world we know is within our reach: a world with an economy that works for people and the planet; a world safe from the ravages of climate change; a world with good jobs, clean air and water, and healthy communities,” Dyck said prior to the event.

“To change everything, we need everyone on board.”

Numerous speakers took to the microphone Sunday, urging governments, big business and, most relevant on this day, the United Nations to take action on global warming.

Former local federal Green Party candidate John Lawson said Canada has a terrible record in the past four years of doing little towards supporting action on climate change.

“I don’t have to tell you what’s happened over these last four years. We have simply moved backwards. We put our head in the tar sands and not wanted to be part of anything,” Lawson said.

“Is Canada represented at the meeting… in New York? No,” said Lawson to chants of “shame!” from the audience.

“What we have is a situation where we are moving into a place that for our children, who we came we love, is going to leave them the most devastated planet and the most politically challenged planet we can imagine and our government is doing nothing,” Lawson said.

Mary-Kate Gilbertson of eMerge Guelph also spoke, stressing the importance of energy efficiency, natural resource conservation and awareness on the personal and neighbourhood level.

“Be the catalyst on your street. Bring your street together,” Gilbertson said. “We can actually do something about climate change.”

Local social activist Mandy Hiscocks said while global action is needed, it often takes individual action and sacrifice to help create change.

“We have to fight colonialism and we have to fight capitalism,” Hiscocks said. “We won’t keep the oil in the ground by asking nicely.

“The march in New York City today was big, it was huge, and hopefully all those people in the streets are going to encourage the UN to do something useful. But I highly doubt that it’s making any oil industry executive nervous,” Hiscocks said.

“We don’t need everyone to stand around in a designated area and march along a permitted route. We need everyone to do something.

“We have to see it as a responsibility, not a choice, and we have to take that responsibility seriously.”

Also speaking was Mayor Karen Farbridge, who spoke of the city’s initiatives over the years to reduce energy consumption, saying she believes in “thinking globally and acting locally.”

Farbridge also used the occasion to do a little campaigning, claiming there were “climate change deniers” running in the current election. Farbridge campaign literature was also made available at the event.

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