Around 60 people huddled outside the constituency office of MP Lloyd Longfield Friday to demand that all levels of government take more action on climate change, and promising that they’re not going anywhere until it happens.
Inspired by the call for a climate strike from 15-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, Friday’s protest in Guelph was one of many around the region, and across Canada, and capping a week of action in solidarity with the First Nations people protesting the construction of a natural gas pipeline on the unceded Wet’suwet’en territory. Guelph’s gathering was co-sponsored by the Guelph chapters of Extinction Rebellion and EarthStrike.
Dustin Brown, one of the organizers and a member of the local Extinction Rebellion branch, said that the situation is perilous given the recent U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which said that we have 12 years to stop a global temperature increase of two degrees Celsius before irreversible and devastating consequences to the planet’s ecosystem take effect
Brown said the people gathered in front of Longfield’s office already know the facts, “The problem that we face lies in the cognitive dissidence that is within the halls of the House of Commons, Queen’s Park, and Guelph’s own city hall,” he said. “I am sick of being lied to by our governments about the scale of global warming, the impacts that it promises for us, and the ineffectiveness of their responses.”
The intention of this protest is to set a stage for ongoing engagement and disruption to get action on climate change at all levels of government. The next major action for many of the people in attendance will be the vote by the University of Guelph Senate on whether or not to divest from fossil fuel companies. A rally for support will take place on Sunday January 20 in front of War Memorial Hall, and the final vote will happen at the Senate meeting on January 23.
Here are some videos from Friday’s demonstration.