Today, across the globe, students and young adults in 150 different countries are taking part in a series of protests for climate change. These protests are rooted in Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg’s school strike for climate and are predicted to be one of the largest climate protests in history.
In uptown Saint John, various students are making a stand on the steps of City Hall. These students are part of a Facebook group called Saint John Student Climate Strike that regularly protests and advocates for climate change.
They meet in smaller crowds at their separate high schools then make their way towards Market Square to join the rest of their group, many of them arriving as early as 9:00 a.m. and planning to remain there until late afternoon.
Who is to blame for the climate crisis?
“The biggest threat [to the climate] would be the major companies,” says Andy Paul, a student protestor. “If the bigger companies were to go green, look into renewable energy, it would help.”
Andy Paul believes that if Canadian companies, such as Tim Hortons, were to take environmental initiative, it could make a large impact.
Kelci Tobin-Adams and Bradley Comeau, both grade twelve students at Saint John High School, agree with Paul’s statement about larger companies being a root cause of climate change.
“People need to stop putting so much pressure on themselves, we can’t do it alone,” believes Tobin-Adams. Comeau reiterates that “it’s not too late [to save the planet], but it will be soon.”
How can you help?
Comeau would like for people to know that, “Climate change is real, and don’t worry about what you can do by yourself, vote for politicians that will advocate for change.”
If you are not quite old enough to vote, Tobin-Adams says that you can also “take part in #FridaysForFuture”, which is a hashtag coined by Greta Thunberg in her school strike movements.
Kiefer Sullivan, a senior at Saint John High School, is one of the people credited with organizing the strike today.
“It’s going to have to come from a federal level, as well as provincial, you can’t just rely on individual actions even though we can do things like eating less meat. That’s good, but it’s not enough to deter the greater forces,” says Sullivan, “We need to as a country, and then on the worldwide level, focus on limiting our carbon emissions.”
He admits sadly, that “we won’t be able to change what has been done [to our planet] for years and years to come.”
“Climate change is not going away, it’s not something you can just turn a blind eye to.” says Breana Geniar, a grade nine student at Saint John High School.
Andrea Garcia and Jordan LeBlanc, both students at Saint John High, believe that we cannot blame the environmental issues of today solely on past generation’s carbon emissions.
“It started with them, but it continues with us now, so that’s why we need to change” says Garcia, “You hear [about climate change] a lot in the news and maybe post about it on Instagram, but that’s not enough.”
The next protesting event will take place in front of City Hall on September 27.
How does climate change effect you?
According to NASA, the global temperature has increased 0.8°C since 1880, over which half of it has occurred since 1975, in response to atmospheric carbon dioxide and aerosols.
This may sound like it isn’t much of a significant change, but this includes the warming of all of the oceans, as well as the land and the atmosphere.
To put it into perspective, a global temperature drop of approximately 5°C is what resulted in the Ice Age that took place twenty-thousand years ago.
It is expected that by the year 2100, the sea level will have risen from one to four feet, and that we will see increasingly worse hurricanes in the future. It is also predicted that, in about 30 years, the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free in the summer.
If you are a student and would like to participate in climate change protests, you may contact Sullivan through their Facebook page.
Some more signs from today’s protest. (Julia Kaine/The Baron)