Victoria demonstrators call out governments for not treating climate change as a crisis

Demonstrators calling for more action on climate change will gather outside a building that houses local media in Victoria on Wednesday afternoon. Pictured are Victoria High students, Annarosa Ventura, Sienna Nargang and Djuna Nagasaki at the B.C. legislature on Friday, March 15 for Student Strike 4 Climate. (Lia Crowe/Black Press Media)Demonstrators calling for more action on climate change will gather outside a building that houses local media in Victoria on Wednesday afternoon. Pictured are Victoria High students, Annarosa Ventura, Sienna Nargang and Djuna Nagasaki at the B.C. legislature on Friday, March 15 for Student Strike 4 Climate. (Lia Crowe/Black Press Media)
Our Earth Our Future members Eli Anderson (left), 14, and Talia Collins, 17, speak at a demonstration in Victoria on Sept. 8 calling for governments to act on their climate change promises and impose a moratorium on fossil fuel expansion. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)Our Earth Our Future members Eli Anderson (left), 14, and Talia Collins, 17, speak at a demonstration in Victoria on Sept. 8 calling for governments to act on their climate change promises and impose a moratorium on fossil fuel expansion. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Demonstrators in Victoria on Sept. 8 called for governments to act on their climate change promises and impose a moratorium on fossil fuel expansion. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)Demonstrators in Victoria on Sept. 8 called for governments to act on their climate change promises and impose a moratorium on fossil fuel expansion. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Demonstrators in Victoria on Sept. 8 called for governments to act on their climate change promises and impose a moratorium on fossil fuel expansion. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)Demonstrators in Victoria on Sept. 8 called for governments to act on their climate change promises and impose a moratorium on fossil fuel expansion. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Doug Brubaker, left, and Michael Wood at an event in Victoria on Sept. 8 calling for governments to act on their climate change promises and impose a moratorium on fossil fuel expansion. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)Doug Brubaker, left, and Michael Wood at an event in Victoria on Sept. 8 calling for governments to act on their climate change promises and impose a moratorium on fossil fuel expansion. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)

More than 50 demonstrators gathered at the corner of Blanshard and Bay Streets on Wednesday to call for governments to treat climate change like a crisis and for a moratorium on expanding fossil fuel projects.

Opening the Victoria event was Tara Matthews. After a land acknowledgment, she said climate change has been a backburner issue in the federal election so far. The local event – like the about 60 climate demonstrations happening nationwide on Wednesday – hoped to remind politicians that voters want climate champions in leadership roles, Matthews said.

The group wants a moratorium on new fossil fuel expansion, Matthews said, to ensure “we may have a future free of catastrophic climate change and more and worse pandemics,” and a just transition act that would support workers and communities – “leaving fossil fuels behind, and not people.”

“Most of all, we want a safe and livable future for ourselves and for each other,” Matthews said.

The next speakers at the event were members of Our Earth Our Future, a group that organizes local climate strikes.

Talia Collins, 17, said it’s scary to be a teenager and not know what the planet will look like in the future. She’s contemplated if having her own kids one day is morally wrong.

“I don’t want to have children if they’re going to have to grow up in a world that will look like a hellscape,” she said. “No one is listening to us and it’s frightening to grow up under these circumstances.”

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Collins said local politicians fancy meeting with youth activists so they can post about it on social media, but their actions don’t reflect their promises. She met with John Horgan in the past, but said it felt like the Premier was talking at her, rather than listening to her concerns about the climate.

“They want to show that they listen to the youth voice, but they don’t,” Collins said.

Another Our Earth Our Future member, 14-year-old Eli Anderson, said local politicians and candidates posture as if they support youth calling for action on climate change.

“Then they do nothing we’re asking for,” Anderson said.

Speaking to Black Press Media, demonstrator Doug Brubaker said the federal parties should be “embarrassed” by how their campaigns haven’t focused on climate change so far.

“They’re afraid to address important issues,” he said.

“There really is a climate emergency,” said Michael Wood, pointing to how that’s the message of international medical groups and the United Nations. “We have very little time left.”

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