'We see the doom and gloom': Youths rally to demand action on climate crisis
Published Friday, September 20, 2019 8:38AM PDT Last Updated Friday, September 20, 2019 9:05PM PDT
Roughly 200 young people marched the streets of downtown Vancouver Friday, taking part in a "die-in" protest as part of a global week of action against climate change.
A "die-in" involves a group of people pretending to be dead to highlight the potential climate chaos.
"The message here is that we see the doom and gloom of the future," said Samantha Lin, an organizer with Sustainabiliteens Vancouver. "We wanted to disrupt everybody's everyday lives while everyone is on their lunch breaks, and we wanted to draw attention that this climate crisis is happening and we can't ignore it anymore."
Many of the demonstrators are children and teenagers who skipped school Friday to take part in the second global climate strike in the lead up to a UN summit – similar to an international event held in March.
"Even though we are missing school, we feel it doesn’t seem like there's much point in learning about math and social studies…when what is happening now is such a big crisis," said student Sadie Cyr.
The global protests are partly inspired by the work of Swedish teenager and climate activist Greta Thunberg, who has led weekly demonstrations over the past year calling on world leaders to take more action against climate change. She is expected to speak at the UN Climate Action Summit on Monday.
"I feel so ashamed because my generation and our children, the boomers, have partied as if there's no tomorrow. We didn’t think about the world we were leaving," said environmentalist David Suzuki.
Experts believe carbon emissions need to be reduced by 40 per cent by 2030 and a complete reduction by 2050 in order to avoid a climate emergency.
"We can't anticipate what will happen if we've gone with business as usual but I think the recent hurricane, the droughts, all of these things are signals about what's in store," Suzuki said.
Friday's "die-in" is the kick-off to a week of action across the city. Events will culminate in a massive climate strike on Sept. 27.
Dozens of events are planned in Canada from coast to coast. Around the world, teens have also taken part in events Friday. An estimated 300,000 protestors took to Australian streets, which was the largest demonstration in the country since the Iraq War in 2003. Hundreds of rallies took place or are planned in the United States, Europe and across Asia.
A full list of events planned in Vancouver is available on the Sustainabiliteens Facebook page.
With files from The Associated Press