Kingstonians join communities around the world to call for climate


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Hundreds of protesters gathered in City Park on Friday afternoon in solidarity with more than 1,200 communities around the world demanding urgent action on climate change.

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The event was part of Friday’s broader campaign for the future, launched by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, and many speakers called for immediate and radical action to address the climate emergency.

Event organizers were clear in their demands, calling on Canadian politicians at all levels of government to immediately end fossil fuel subsidies, cancel the Trans Mountain pipeline project and support just transition legislation. that will ensure that action on climate change is fair and provides a bright future for all Canadians.

The importance of fair and equitable climate action was emphasized everywhere, and many speakers highlighted the leadership role of indigenous communities in climate action and the disproportionate criminalization of indigenous climate activists.

According to a report by the Indigenous Environmental Network, actions rooted in indigenous rights, including lobbying, blockades and advocacy, have stopped or delayed more than 1.6 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year. Despite the construction work, indigenous demonstrators often face arrests or violence.

The use of police force against Indigenous climate activists has been observed in the Kingston area, as several people in Tyendinaga Mohawk territory were arrested last year while demonstrating in solidarity with the Wet Dams’ suwet’en against the Coastal Gas Link pipeline in British Columbia.

“Indigenous peoples should always be at the forefront of any conversation about land. Who is doing more to protect our air and water and reduce emissions? Anybody. With that, it lets us know how to help tackle the climate crisis and prevent it from happening any further, ”350 Kingston organizer Jeremy Milloy read in a statement from the Queen’s Native Students Association.

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“Our representation is necessary for any environmental decision-making. How can the government focus on reconciliation if it refuses to put our knowledge first on what is most sacred to us? We are tired of being put on the back burner. We are tired of watching our mother die at the hands of colonization. Listen to Indigenous voices; listen when we scream ‘land back’. Our resistance has already stopped many fossil fuel projects, ”the statement read.

In addition to uplifting and supporting indigenous climate leaders, event planners want to encourage people to connect with their political representatives and get involved in climate action at the local level.

“We are in a climate emergency. Sometimes it’s hard to achieve, but the planet is changing very quickly and we have to focus on what we can save right now, ”said event organizer Emily Cervenka in an interview with The Whig -Standard.

While the looming reality of climate change is frightening, event planners believe making the necessary changes will lead to positive change for the average person.

“In the short term, COVID has revealed that the way the economy works isn’t working for most people. We have a world where we have 50 or 60 billionaires who own most of the wealth, and everyone is struggling to get by. We can invest in sectors of the low carbon economy – things like health care, education and the arts, create good jobs and have a positive impact on communities. Why don’t we just focus on that instead of launching rockets into space with Jeff Bezos? Milloy said in an interview with The Whig-Standard.

In the meantime, Milloy is encouraging people to get involved.

“We need more people. We don’t have billions of dollars, we don’t have board seats. What we have are people, energy and talent. We need more people. We encourage people to start thinking, “How can I help? The biggest impact people can have is on the people around them. We need more people to talk about climate change and how we can respond to it in ways that improve our future, ”he said.

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