“Fighting for a future”: Fredericton youth rally for the climate

Written by Abram Lutes on May 4, 2019

Fredericton youth leaders address the crowd at the climate strike at the New Brunswick Legislature in Fredericton on May 3, 2019. Photo by Susan O’Donnell.

Youth and students from many schools in the Fredericton area and other members of the public gathered outside the New Brunswick Legislature on Friday, May 3 for another “climate strike” demonstration. The crowd of about 200 demanded government action on climate change and environmental degradation. Demonstrations were also held May 3 in Saint John, Moncton, and across the country.

Grand Chief of the Wolastoqiyik nation Ron Tremblay greeted the gathered assembly in Wolastoquey and in English, reminding the crowd, “When we separate ourselves from the rest of creation… we become inhumane.”

New Brunswick has experienced a series of extreme weather events in recent years, including surges in water levels, dramatic storms, and flash floods. Speakers at the gathering stressed the urgency of addressing climate change as disasters are striking the province. One young volunteer described the struggle for policy changes as “fighting for a future” for youth who will live to see the most the effects of climate change.

Fredericton South MLA David Coon’s Youth Caucus circulated a petition demanding “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.” Immediate demands include the provincial government divesting from fossil fuels and investing heavily in renewable energy, constructing an inter-city electric rail system, and introducing climate change material into the New Brunswick school curriculum.

The petition cites the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report describing the devastating impacts of anthropogenic climate change and urgent need to address and reverse it. The document gives a timeline of 12 years before the most dangerous effects of climate change becomes irreversible.

The climate strike continues next Friday, May 10, at 1pm in front of the New Brunswick Legislature. 

Abram Lutes is a member of the NB Media Co-op board.

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