Organizers of the Fridays for Future (FFF) strike that recently took place in New Brunswick were pleased with the turnout and with the engagement of the crowd at their most recent climate strike.
“I was happy to see some signs and petitions being signed, I’m just happy to see people come out and have their voices heard,” said Drew Howe, one of the strike’s organizers.
On Friday, April 1, social justice advocates, community members, leaders, and students gathered, calling for immediate action on addressing the climate crisis.
The FFF movement is an organized global climate strike movement that was started in 2018 by youth advocate Greta Thunberg. The strike has now become a yearly event that cities can register for and participate in across the globe. Fredericton has been participating in the strike since 2019.
Kelly Green, a student at St. Thomas University and organizer of the strike, spoke about the need for New Brunswick to transition from fossil fuels to more sustainable energy sources.
“We can have a just transition to clean energy- we cannot do it alone, we need support from our institutions – stop thinking about what is politically advantageous. We just need to do what is right. I think about what I will say to my grandchildren when our inaction catches up to us,” said Kelly.
Green discussed the notion of a just transition. She explained that a just energy transition would not overlook potential job losses and economic challenges that would arise from phasing out the Canadian fossil fuel industry.
Speakers at the strike included students from St. Thomas University and the University of New Brunswick, Indigenous elders, and politicians.
David Coon, New Brunswick Green Party MLA, called on the current Conservative government to use their 170 million dollars in carbon tax revenue to fund green technology – and called them out for investing in what he called “dangerous” nuclear technology.
“Use our climate tax money to tax climate change, that is the message I will bring to the government… do we want a renewable future or a nuclear future? Right now, we have the chance to make a change in the way we get around, in the way we consume, transformative change,” said Coon.
Coon suggested that the way forward for New Brunswick was to lobby municipal governments to work with provincial governments on the issue of the climate crisis.
“We’ve got change makers wherever you look but they don’t have allies in government. We have to move our municipalities to lobby the provincial government to join them,” said Coon.
Emily Green, another St. Thomas University student, and climate activist underlined the urgency and critical nature of the climate crisis.
“For decades the scientific evidence has been clear, we are in a climate crisis, and it is one that is almost impossible to reverse given our current trajectory. What will I say to my grandchildren when they ask why we didn’t do something while we had the chance and instead robbed them of their future?” said Emily.
Organizers were passing around a petition calling on the University of New Brunswick and St. Thomas University to divest from fossil fuels.