The Fridays For Future Climate strikes have become a familiar site in Downtown Guelph over the last year, but they seem to have lost none of their enthusiasm. Over the lunch hour on a cold November day, nearly 200 people filled St. George’s Square to carry signs, dress in costumes, sing songs, and die-in to promote more climate action.
“Seeing you all here is wonderful,” said Abby Mason, a Grade 12 student at GCVI who was one of the speakers at Friday’s event. “Every time I come to a climate strike, I meet the amazing activists we have here in Guelph and my fear goes away. If we keep striking, if we keep coming together on days like this, positive change will occur, and it has already been happening.”
Mason noted that earlier this week, the Upper Grand District School Board passed a motion to declare a climate emergency. She said that the dangerous implications of climate change have made her afraid, but it’s actions like the one that’s been taken by the school board that keeps pushing her to act.
“The only way we can make a difference is if you keep going,” Mason said. “So please keep coming out to these events, keep educating yourself and others about this issue that the world is facing and realize that we are together in this movement.”
Elizabeth Cyr of the University of Guelph student group Fossil Free Guelph brought her group’s message of divestment to the protest. Although the U of G Board of Governors voted against fully divesting the school’s investment in fossil fuel companies earlier this year, Cyr said the fight remains very relevant.
“By investing in companies that continuously violate human rights and land rights, causing irreparable environmental degradation, the University of Guelph is complicit, in the harm perpetuated by these companies,” Cyr said.
The demonstrations also included some musical numbers, a die-in, and a call to protect the local environment by supporting native plant and tree species, which will help build animal habitat. When the speeches and the music wrapped up, the group lead a march around downtown to raise more awareness about the need for climate action.
Check out some pictures from the climate rally below: