David Wagner was an invited speaker at the Sept. 20, 2019 climate rally and strike in Fredericton. This is his speech.
To paraphrase the great thinker and leader, Greta Thunberg: Our home, the earth, is on fire. She says she doesn’t want us to hope, because we need to panic — panic and act. How can we act? We strike.
I have been thinking about this word, ‘strike’. It means to hit.
This is a climate strike: What does that mean? We humans have been striking our mother, the earth, for centuries–beating it, tearing it apart, exploding it, burning it. Now we see the earth is striking back – with climate change: more and more hurricanes strike, more and more floods strike, more and more forest fires strike. It is a climate strike.
We humans need to stop striking our mother, stop striking the earth. This requires our individual actions and also collective action. Our individual actions will not succeed unless big business and government also act. We need to strike back against the destructive habits of our society. We hit back with collective action.
Today we walk out, and refuse to be complicit with destructive structures. We strike.
We campaign to elect leaders who take our mother earth seriously. It is not good enough for the Liberals to say “I love you” to the earth but stick with the wimpy targets set by Steven Harper. We need to elect in Fredericton a voice for reason, health & respect. We strike.
Today, and the coming days, we will disrupt the status quo non-violently. We strike.
David Wagner is a professor in the faculty of education at the University of New Brunswick.