Environment featured

‘I want to be a normal kid’ – Climate strike Halifax sends clear message to those in power

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – It was something else. So many people showed up to march and demand that politicians take immediate action on the climate emergency. When the cops say 10,000 marchers then you can bet there were a lot more than that. It was beautiful.

Here are some photos, as well as a powerful speech by one of the student strikers. I never got their name.

Before I speak, I would like to again acknowledge that we are on the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq. They have been protecting Mother Nature for much longer than we have. And now we are fighting with them to protect land, water and air that for some reason the government doesn’t think is worth protecting.

I’m hopeful. I’m fulfilled. I’m energized. I’m ecstatic. I’m excited. I’m loved. I’m loving. I’m so happy you are all here.

But I’m scared. I’m terrified. I’m frightened. I’m stressed, I’m anxious. I’m sleep deprived, I’m tired, I’m frustrated. I’m mad. I’m furious. I’m hopeless. But most of all, I am so done. I am done with fighting. I’m done with conversations. I’m done with thank yous. I’m done with striking. I’m done.

I want to be a normal kid, watching Netflix and going out with my friends. But instead I’m spending all my possible time trying to find any way to make politicians listen.

Yes, I know some of you are here. And you’re listening to me right now. But the hell with listening! Stop thanking me for doing this. I’m not doing this for you. I’m doing this for my generation, because you’re doing nothing for us.

I had an amazing experience on Tuesday night. I got to be a mediator of the climate first tour with David Suzuki, Stephen Lewis and Catherine Martin. 

I should have been savoring the moment enjoying watching incredible people speak from backstage. But instead, I was having a climate breakdown backstage, David Suzuki started talking about how much it saddens him to see children fighting this fight. And I started thinking about my life, the fact that I was still a child. And I thought, well, at least I’m doing good things with my short life. And then I thought, well, frig, my short life? why am I doing this? Why are you causing me so much stress? And by you, I mean the adults in power.

The first climate conference was in 1988. There, they decided that they needed to lower carbon emissions by 20% in 15 years. Doesn’t seem to have does it? Well, for them. It was it would take $70 billion to do that. But they would save 100 billion dollars. So why not?

To them, it didn’t make sense. Why do something for 15 years when a term is only four years?

I’ll tell you why. Because this is a survival of humanity we’re talking about. This isn’t about policies and opinions. It’s about actions and facts.

I’m tired of talking about the climate crisis. We’ve been talking about the climate crisis for 30 years. It doesn’t take 30 years to talk about this. It takes 30 seconds. Look, I’ll even put a timer on.

The climate crisis is real, it’s backed up by science. We need immediate action to avoid catastrophic damage that will lead to an uninhabitable planet for a generation and generations to come.

That immediate action needs to be adopting and implementing UNDRIP in full, protecting the groups most affected by the climate crisis, implementing a just transition to a green economy, entrenching in law, the right to a healthy environment, conserving biodiversity, separating oil and state, and lowering our carbon emissions by 75% over 2005 levels by 2030. 

See, that wasn’t too hard. I’m telling you, we have the solutions. So why aren’t we using them?

Because you’re putting profit over planet. This is our only home. We can’t just give up and let it happen. You can’t give up on us. But you have. And that is why I’m doing this, because I’m not giving up on us. I’m gonna keep striking until you give in to us.

Right now, I’m really tired of all of this. I’m tired of inaction. And I’m tired of you telling me I give you hope when I’m telling you that you messed up.

I’m tired of getting mad whenever I think of growing old. I’m tired of getting mad whenever I think of growing old with someone because I realize I won’t. I’m tired of getting sad whenever I see a baby because I know I won’t be able to raise one in this climate. I’m not asking you, I’m demanding that you take action.

The amount of times I’ve said those words and no action has followed is saddening. So I’m asking all of you here who are of voting age, demand climate action in your vote, vote for climate.

If you’re new to voting and don’t know who to vote for, you can check out Shake up the Establishment. They’ve broken down all the parties climate plans. Spoiler alert, one of these was probably written by an oil company and another one thinks pipelines equals climate action. 

I want to end my speech by saying that no matter how tired and done I am with all of this, I know that there are so many people who are feeling the same way, and the people united will never be defeated! 

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