"~100,000 Climate Protestors show up in Vancouver, over 4 million worldwide"
U-hill students Sehaj and Sally hold signs at Vancouver's Climate Strike.
Photo Credit: Kabir Hundal
Written by Kabir Hundal
“WHAT DO WE WANT? CLIMATE ACTION! WHEN DO WE WANT IT? NOW!”
We repeated as we marched from Vancouver City Hall, over the Cambie St. Bridge, and through Downtown. On September 27th, 2019, around 100,000 protestors showed up in the heart of Vancouver — this number is over 80,000 more people than expected.
Why did we protest?
Vancouver's protest was part of something much bigger, an international movement called the Global Climate Strike. All around the world, massive amounts of people took to the streets to protest for world leaders to take action — in the process, many skipped work or school. Global warming is imminent, and though small actions to reduce our personal carbon footprints are helpful, we won't be able to reverse climate change unless world leaders decide to act before 2030. Our leaders have pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2030, but we want to raise that to at least 75%.
Who organized it?
This colossal demonstration in Vancouver was organized by a group of teenagers called the Sustainabiliteens, who were responsible for organizing climate strikes one Friday a month. These monthly protests are called #FridaysForFuture and were started by a 16-year-old Swedish Climate Activist named Greta Thunberg. She protested alone in front of the Swedish Parliament and gained attention from many other youths. She is why this year's Global Climate Strike was the biggest yet.
These protests were mainly organized and performed by the youth, though not all the protestors were young. As we waited for a bus after the strike, an older woman told us about how empowering it was to see so many kids fighting for their future. “I’m old, but I still keep myself politically involved.” The exchange demonstrated that even though your actions may not affect you, it can affect others.
Mass crowds of protestors stretching from Vancouver City Hall to BC Place.
Photo Credit: Kabir Hundal
What did we achieve?
The aftermath of our pleading led to many countries and cities taking steps forward to make the earth cleaner. After Vancouver’s strike, British Columbia’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy spoke out and announced that the BC government and the BC Green Party were planning on developing a CleanBC plan to reduce pollution and progress into renewable resources and energy. Globally, uplifting announcements have been made, which include 65 countries committing to zero greenhouse emissions by 2050, or many countries donating large sums of money to the Green Climate Fund. India is to improve renewable energy technology, Pakistan is going to plant 10 billion trees over the next 5 years, and the EU says 25% of its budget will go to stopping climate change. UN Secretary-General says, “You have delivered a boost in momentum, cooperation and ambition. But we have a long way to go.”
- Hauck, Grace. “Friday's Global Strike Was Likely the Largest Climate Rally Ever.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 21 Sept. 2019, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/09/21/global-climate-strike-estimates-crowd-size-millions-worldwide/2401672001/.
- Uguen-Csenge, Eva. “Vancouver Teens Are | CBC News.” CBCnews, CBC/Radio Canada, 26 Sept. 2019, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/vancouver-climate-strike-global-thunberg-protest-1.5297743.
- “UNITED NATIONS Climate Change - Summit 2019.” United Nations, United Nations, https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/.
- Watson, Bridgette, and Andrew Kurgata. “'We Don't Want to Be Here, We Have to Be Here': 100K Strike for Climate Action in Vancouver | CBC News.” CBCnews, CBC/Radio Canada, 28 Sept. 2019, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/climate-strike-sept-27-vancouver-sustainabiliteens-1.5299721.