What they’re saying: Why this climate strike is so important

As more than 600 residents followed the lead of area students to strike for climate action, we paid attention and asked those leading the charge why today is so important and what Kingstonians can do to help during this climate emergency. Here’s what they said.

Aidan Tomkinson of Fridays for Future speaks at the beginning of the rally. Photo by Tommy Vallier.

[The strike] raises awareness and proves that there are people who care, but most importantly brings together communities globally. Action truly does breed hope. People living in Kingston are sheltered from the severe impacts of climate change that are happening right now. In Kingston, we have many stores that can help lead you on your path of sustainably living; Verde is located right downtown which includes many ethically sourced goods, weekly farmers markets for locally sourced food/the all year round memorial centre farmers market, cash for clothes for second hand clothes and accessories, and many, many more. You do not act slow and ponder your actions in an emergency. You need to act fast.

Aidan Tomkinson, Fridays for Future Kingston.

There’s so much that municipalities could and should do. We did, unanimously, declare a climate emergency in Kingston, so it’s really important to us to be in support of this kind of initiative. Unfortunately, [the support motion] didn’t pass unanimously, but it did pass substantially. We need upper tier governments to give, and whether we’ll ever be able to get [Premier] Ford to even recognize this, time will tell. We all have an opportunity to vote for a non-traditional government in the upcoming election. The best governments we’ve ever had in this country have been minority governments.

Jim Neill, Councillor, Williamsville District, who seconded the motion to support the climate strike at the September 17 council meeting.
Ian Arthur, MPP for Kingston and the Islands speaks at the climate strike rally in Kingston. Photo by Tommy Vallier.

I think that Greta [Thunberg] and the rest of the students that have joined her is the single most inspirational thing I’ve ever seen. People always seek to be part of something bigger than themselves, and I can’t think of a better movement to try to be a part of and to support and to help grow than this.

Ian Arthur, Member of Provincial Parliament, Kingston & the Islands.

The reality is that we’re all part of this. Getting informed about the reality of the situation is important. No matter who you are, it’s about getting out there and seeing what groups are doing things. There’s great local food things going on, there’s great renewable energy projects happening. No matter how old you are or how small, there’s always something that you can contribute to.

Dan Hendry, Co-Chair, Kingston Working Group on Climate Action.
Dianne Saxe, Former Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, speaking before the parade left market square during the climate strike. Photo by Tommy Vallier.

We’ve got to be starting to slash our fossil fuel usage and our emissions right now, and instead what are we doing? We’re increasing. Politics matter. Governance matters. Ontario had so much to be proud of until a year and a half ago… and then there was an election and it’s all been torn up and thrown out. The same thing could happen to our country next month. The status quo is stealing your future — and it doesn’t have to be like that. There are things everyone can do. Everyone can reduce their own footprint by 5 per cent per year, and everybody needs to be getting ready for the changes that are coming — but the single most important thing everybody can do is to speak up for collective action.

Dianne Saxe, Former Environmental Commissioner of Ontario.

Hey hey! Ho ho! Fossil fuels have got to go!

No more coal! No more oil! Keep your carbon in the soil!

Climate change is not a lie! Do not let our planet die!

Chants from the over 600 people who marched as part of the strike for climate change.
An inflatable globe sits inside of a casket made of reused cardboard, during the rally, which organizers called a “funeral for the earth.” Photo by Tommy Vallier.

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  1. John collins September 20, 2019

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