Today students of all ages, in Ottawa and Gatineau, took a strike from school to protest the lack of action on climate change as a part of #FridaysforFuture. Fridays for future is inspired by Swedish teenager, Greta Thunberg, who is leading students to strike for climate around the world.
The rally is run by youth and adults are invited but the structure is “youth out front – adults behind” echoing the sentiment that adults need to support and listen to the youth, the leaders of the future. The students are using their voices to demand leaders and all adults take action to ensure they have a safe and clean future and demanding they take responsibility for the earth they have given their children.
Ottawa’s first #FridaysForFuture strike was Jan. 11, 2019, continuing throughout the school year and culminating in the most attended strike on March 15, in support of the Global Climate Strike. Over 500 students and supporters protested on Parliament Hill.
Today’s event may have had fewer students but just as much spirit.
(Mia Beijer chants “whose future? OUR FUTURE” to students gathered in front of the Prime Minister’s office in Ottawa. Shelby Lisk/APTN
Mia Beijer, 16 years old, from Gatineau
“We are gathered here today because we are terrified for our futures. We are terrified because adults and past generations have not changed the system that’s killing us. We are here because the water that feeds us is dying and no one is stopping it. We are here because our land, our home and our earth is dying. What gives us life is dying. As adults I want you to reflect on this moment of silence and I want you to apologize to the youth in your life.”
(Parisa Anonby and Kate Martens stand with their sign at the youth climate march. Shelby Lisk/APTN)
Kate Martens, 16 years old, from Ottawa
“Our earth is really important to us, and our government, all they care about is money and capitalism. We’re just wanting to show that there will be no place for money if we don’t have a sustainable earth to live in. It’s important that they understand that because we are the future voters and future leaders of this planet.”
Parisa Anonby, 17 years old, from Ottawa
“Some of us, our parents didn’t let us go but we came anyway. It’s the kind of thing where are just going to do anything to bring awareness. We are sacrificing our education to be here and sometimes that’s the only way to bring change.”
(Toby Guillemette, 15 years old, Findlay Henderson, 5 years old, Penny Henderson, Zander Henderson, 3 years old, and Sonia Wesche came out as a family to support the Fridays for Future initiative. Shelby Lisk/APTN)
Tony Guillemette, 15 years old, from Ottawa
“I think what’s happening needs to change and we have to do something because they’re innocent and they deserve the best life, my cousins.”
Sonia Wesche thought it was important to bring her family to the climate march because her kids are the future. She was there with her two sons, their grandmother and her nephew.
“The future of our planet is at stake and we need to be doing something. I think the time is right. There’s political motivation, there’s leadership to some degree. We need to be pushing for action. We’re in a climate emergency and we need to be doing something about it,” says Wesche.
Future Rising Ottawa’s Facebook page says their goals are to become too connected to fail, to help youth secure a livable world and to have fun.
Future Rising Ottawa can be found on Parliament Hill every Friday raising awareness for the environment and asking adults to protect their future. The biggest strike yet is set to happen next week, September 27th, for the Global Climate Strike and will include youth, adults and all people and organizations interested.