One of the largest crowds in recent years gathered outside the New Brunswick legislature on Friday, Sept. 27 to protest politicians’ inaction in face of the growing climate emergency. École Sainte-Anne (ESA) was at the heart of it with between 600 and 700 students among the crowd of around 1,300.
Echoing Martin Luther King’s famous words, ESA student Madeleine declared in French that she had a dream of a clean planet fit for all to live in. She was one of many speakers from the school and the general public who spoke passionately: “Give us a future so that we can become adults.”
Leo Hayes high school student Nadine Woodward who has been to previous Fridays for Future climate strikes was with a big group from her school. She wishes more seniors would come out, because: “The politicians might listen to them. They don’t listen to us.” The atmosphere crackled and vibrated with the chants and shouts of support for the speakers.
Delegations and representatives from all over the province attended: Bathurst, Edmundston, Woodstock, Bouctouche, St. Louis-de-Kent, Quispamsis, Saint Quentin and many other communities. Karine Arsenau, there from Bathurst with her mother, said: “The politicians are not listening to us. They have to start now.”
From the Maritime College of Forest Technology, Molly McNeil and Courtney Bell shared the common concerns of most there about pipelines, fracking, fossil fuels, polyester and plastics. They were particularly concerned about the Arctic, the melting of the ice and what that meant for the Inuit in particular.
From the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design, Marisa Steeves, Jasmine Williams and Maeve de Volpi were concerned about bringing children into a world that may not be a fit or hospitable place for them.
David Coon, the MLA for Fredericton and leader of the New Brunswick Green Party, received a rapturous reception. In French, he spoke of “un moment historique” and led the crowd in chants of “Sauvez la Planête.”
Ron Tremblay, Chief of the Wolastoq Grand Council told the students: “I will stand in front of you to protect you. I will always be at your side. Together we can make the change to save our Mother Earth. Pick the leaders that best represent your future.”
Jenica Atwin, federal Green candidate for Fredericton, also speaking French, told the students that their passion and commitment gave her hope and courage for the future.
Milda’s Pizzas closed for two hours at lunchtime in support of the students. Milda and all her staff attended the rally. She wished that more businesses would follow her example. Radical Edge, a bike shop, also closed last week and this week for the Climate Strike and encouraged other local businesses to do the same.
Federal Member of Parliament, Matt DeCourcey, also spoke but was drowned out by the students chanting “No Pipeline.” The rally concluded with resounding chants in French to save the planet, to save our future.
Rallies, marches and climate strikes were held in more than 15 locations across New Brunswick on the same day.
NB Media Co-op member Gerry McAlister delivers The Brief in Fredericton.