VIDEO: Teens gather en masse across Canada to demand drastic climate action

Greta Thunberg says if adults are mocking kids, they must feel threatened

Climate change activists and students gather for a protest and “die-in” on the steps of the Calgary Municipal Building in Calgary on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish activist whose global crusade sent tens of thousands of Canadians into the streets Friday to join others around the world in demanding action on climate change, says the nasty backlash she has faced from some leaders is proof positive her message is getting across.

Thunberg has been mocked and ridiculed by some of the world’s most powerful people, including U.S. President Donald Trump, who dismiss her calls to climate action as the musings of a silly schoolgirl. In Canada, People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier called her a mentally ill pawn of adults.

But if adults are mocking children, they must be feeling the heat, Thunberg said during a news conference in Montreal where she continued to be the focal point of a massive, international day of action.

“I don’t understand why grown-ups would choose to mock children and teenagers for just communicating and acting on the science when they could do something good instead,” she said.

“But I guess they must feel like their worldview or their interests or whatever it is, is threatened by us. We should take as a compliment that we are having so much impact that people want to silence us.”

This entire week has become known as the “Week for Future,” starting with an emergency climate session at the United Nations on Monday where Thunberg lashed out at world leaders for not taking the crisis seriously enough.

Thunberg began weekly sit-ins outside the Swedish legislature last year, which over the course of a few months grew into a global phenomenon. One week ago, millions of people around the world marched in protest against governments not taking drastic climate action. Another day of global protest took place Friday, including in more than 85 cities and towns in Canada.

From St. John’s to Vancouver, and as far north as Inuvik in the Northwest Territories, tens of thousands of Canadians came out in force. They came in strollers and on skateboards, on bikes and in army boots, wearing knee braces and leaning on crutches and canes. From babies to baby boomers, grandkids to grandparents, they filled parks and the lawns of legislatures and Parliament, toting papier-mache Earths and trees, some with full potted plants on their backs.

Their message was clear: Bolder action is urgently needed to save the planet from the crisis of climate change.

READ MORE: MEC and LUSH stores to close on Friday for global climate strikes

Many of those who came out called Thunberg their inspiration.

“I think she has revolutionized how we look at activism,” said Pascal Morimanno, a 17-year-old marching in Fredericton. “She is one person but there are millions of youth out here now because of her. She is the face of new activism.”

The grassroots groups behind the Canadian marches have some specific demands, including refusing any new oil and gas projects and cutting emissions to be just one-quarter of what they were in 2005 by 2030.

RELATED: Threats, abuse move from online to real world, McKenna now requires security

KEEP READING: Canadian Indigenous teen returns to UN to call for water protection

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The iconic and well-loved live music venue Logan’s is permanently closing its doors due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Google Maps)
Fernwood pub Logan’s permanently closing its doors

Live music venue unable to weather COVID-19 storm

The Starbucks at 3849 Cadboro Bay Rd. closed permanently on Sunday, Oct. 25. (Google Maps)
Cadboro Bay Starbucks closes despite petition signed by nearly 250 residents

Closure part of transition to more drive-thru locations, Starbucks spokesperson says

Shawn Magnus of Sidney Courier has partnered with Sidney Business Improvement Area Society for free commercial delivery for society members. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney business association partners with courier for free commercial delivery

Service started Oct. 26 and extends to a radius of 35 kilometres

Victoria police are searching for a suspect after a stabbing Monday night. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria police searching for suspect in late-night stabbing

Victim taken to hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries

Struggling to afford rent, Sylvia Bailey is hoping to trade her love of cooking for some more affordable accommodation. (Photo courtesy of Sylvia Bailey)
Retired Victoria woman looking to cook, clean or garden in exchange for rent

Sylvia Bailey is hoping to use her love for cooking to help afford rent

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

A picture of John taken at Children’s Hospital Vancouver last week. Photo courtesy, Alicia Sewid.
RCMP investigating after young boy run over by SUV in Campbell River parking lot

The seven-year-old has multiple injuries including a broken pelvis and was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A video message from Mrime Minister Justin Trudeau was streamed to attendees at the State of the Island Economic Summit on Tuesday morning. (Vancouver Island Economic Alliance image)
Prime minister greets Vancouver Island economic summit attendees

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance conference being held virtually this week

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

The Williams Lake Indian Band is stipulating no-go zones for mushroom picking in areas burned by last summer’s wildfires. 100 Mile Free Press photo
Who controls mushroom harvesting on Indigenous lands?

‘We don’t necessarily know where the mushrooms grow, how old the stands need to be, those types of things.’

Most Read