VIDEO: Teens gather en masse across Canada to demand drastic climate action

Greta Thunberg says if adults are mocking kids, they must feel threatened

Climate change activists and students gather for a protest and “die-in” on the steps of the Calgary Municipal Building in Calgary on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish activist whose global crusade sent tens of thousands of Canadians into the streets Friday to join others around the world in demanding action on climate change, says the nasty backlash she has faced from some leaders is proof positive her message is getting across.

Thunberg has been mocked and ridiculed by some of the world’s most powerful people, including U.S. President Donald Trump, who dismiss her calls to climate action as the musings of a silly schoolgirl. In Canada, People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier called her a mentally ill pawn of adults.

But if adults are mocking children, they must be feeling the heat, Thunberg said during a news conference in Montreal where she continued to be the focal point of a massive, international day of action.

“I don’t understand why grown-ups would choose to mock children and teenagers for just communicating and acting on the science when they could do something good instead,” she said.

“But I guess they must feel like their worldview or their interests or whatever it is, is threatened by us. We should take as a compliment that we are having so much impact that people want to silence us.”

This entire week has become known as the “Week for Future,” starting with an emergency climate session at the United Nations on Monday where Thunberg lashed out at world leaders for not taking the crisis seriously enough.

Thunberg began weekly sit-ins outside the Swedish legislature last year, which over the course of a few months grew into a global phenomenon. One week ago, millions of people around the world marched in protest against governments not taking drastic climate action. Another day of global protest took place Friday, including in more than 85 cities and towns in Canada.

From St. John’s to Vancouver, and as far north as Inuvik in the Northwest Territories, tens of thousands of Canadians came out in force. They came in strollers and on skateboards, on bikes and in army boots, wearing knee braces and leaning on crutches and canes. From babies to baby boomers, grandkids to grandparents, they filled parks and the lawns of legislatures and Parliament, toting papier-mache Earths and trees, some with full potted plants on their backs.

Their message was clear: Bolder action is urgently needed to save the planet from the crisis of climate change.

READ MORE: MEC and LUSH stores to close on Friday for global climate strikes

Many of those who came out called Thunberg their inspiration.

“I think she has revolutionized how we look at activism,” said Pascal Morimanno, a 17-year-old marching in Fredericton. “She is one person but there are millions of youth out here now because of her. She is the face of new activism.”

The grassroots groups behind the Canadian marches have some specific demands, including refusing any new oil and gas projects and cutting emissions to be just one-quarter of what they were in 2005 by 2030.

RELATED: Threats, abuse move from online to real world, McKenna now requires security

KEEP READING: Canadian Indigenous teen returns to UN to call for water protection

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Carsen Gray set to launch first children’s book co-created with mom Lynn Hughan

Gray, Hughan launch ‘Twelve Months of Fun on Haida Gwaii with Mattie and Jojo’ on July 23

Federal government urged to protect rare moss clinging to life on Moresby Island cliff

Scientists say small patch of slender yoke-moss struggling to survive on square metre of limestone

Southern section of QC Main temporarily closing this month

QC Main (South) will be closed to all traffic at about 5 kilometres from July 21 to 28

From the archives of the Haida Gwaii Observer

50 YEARS AGO (1970): Nine of 12 entries in the Beach Buggy… Continue reading

BC Ferries reopens limited hot food service between Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert

Release on July 8 says hot food will be served in packaging

VIDEO: Masset Dance Troupe presents beachfront ‘promenade performance’

Troupe performed ‘A Mid Summer Day’s Dream’ for family, friends on July 4 and 5

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Most Read