Thousands of Halifax climate strikers demand action

“I’m not doing this for you, I’m doing this for my generation."

click to enlarge ISABEL BUCKMASTER
Isabel Buckmaster
Generations flooded the streets of Halifax as thousands of Nova Scotians united on Friday afternoon to call out government inaction and make their voices heard. The main event of K'jipuktuk- Halifax Sept Climate Action Week, strikers marched throughout the city and died-in at Nova Scotia Power before reaching their final destination: City Hall.

“I feel like there is a moral obligation to be here for the lives of everyone,” said Caroline Beddoe, one of the strikers. “As a young person growing up in this crisis, we have no sense of what the future is going to look like or if we’re going to be the last generation in this mass extinction. This rally is our way of reasserting our political agency and showing what really matters to us because this really is life or death."
click to enlarge ISABEL BUCKMASTER
Isabel Buckmaster
Lead by the youth of SchoolStrike4Climate HFX, children and adults alike gathered in Victoria Park, equipped with a variety of signs, flags and banners all demanding action from the government. By 11am, the park was packed, an overflow of people spilling out onto the sidewalk and rendering the Mi’kmaq gathering song nearly inaudible over the steady hum of protestors gearing to march. When the strike began, the march spanned several blocks, stopping traffic in its tracks and attracting many onlookers on the sidelines.

“I’m not doing this for you, I’m doing this for my generation,” said Julia Sampson, one of the organizers of SchoolStrike4Climate HFX. “It doesn’t take 30 years to talk about this, it takes 30 seconds. The climate crisis is real and we need to take immediate action”.

The strike ended with a rally outside of City Hall, calling for meaningful change and demanding the government meet their requests. Adopting and implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, providing climate aid to lower and middle-income countries and transitioning to renewable energy and sustainable transportation infrastructure in full are several of the demands according to Climate Strike Canada.

“The biggest thing we can do right now is to strike and vote for climate in the election,” said Sampson. “The government isn’t taking action and because of this, our future is being threatened. If we don’t start now than it’s going to make things even harder; We have solutions, it’s about time we start using them."

Many strikers cited not only their future but their family’s futures as their reasoning for attending the march.
click to enlarge ISABEL BUCKMASTER
Isabel Buckmaster
“I’m still young enough that I have a future and my kid has what I hope can be a long future ahead of her. I want to make sure that our government is protecting that,” said Clark MacIntosh, a participant at the rally. “We’re out here trying to hold the government accountable, to let them know that this is a huge issue to us. I think it’s important for our politicians to know that this issue is related to everything else. Climate is the most important thing”.

His daughter, Audrey Henderson, mirrored that sentiment. “I think it’s important to be here today so that we have a nice place to live instead of polluting it,” said Henderson. “It’s important that we stay alive to make sure that we are able to save our planet and so we can sass the government."

MacIntosh and Henderson were just one of many families attending the rally. Maddy and Max Norris marched because they wanted to hold the government accountable for what they are doing to the earth.
“I’m marching to save our planet because some people don’t care,” said 12-year-old Max. “We want a good place for the future and we want the government to find a solution that doesn’t cause problems for everyone else.”

Maddy, age 10, had a much more direct request: “I want the government to stop lying. It’s not fair what [the government] is doing. They keep telling us things but they’re not doing them."

The strike also presented itself as an opportunity for newcomers to climate activism to learn and grow their knowledge on sustainability and the climate crisis.

“I have two young kids—a three-and-a-half-year-old and a four-month-old—when I think about their future, I’m scared. I believe the climate crisis is going to affect me but it’s going to affect them even more,” said Simon Chiasson, another striker. “I discovered this movement a little late in life but I’m doing what I can to be sustainable. I think we need to encourage anybody who is making the little steps and convince the government that this actually matters. That’s the only way we can get change."

About The Author

Isabel Buckmaster

Isabel has been a freelance reporter with The Coast since 2020, covering a variety of topics including the environment, development, and other social issues. Before the Coast, Isabel worked at the Dalhousie Gazette as opinions editor and is going into their fourth year in journalism at the University of King’s...

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