More than 300 Calgarians march to open Climate Week protests

Fighting for the future: Strikers hold their signs and chant during the Climate Strike in Calgary on Sept. 20, 2019. More than 300 people attended the strike at City Hall Municipal Plaza, to kick off Climate Week. (Photo by Jacey Conway/The Press)

Global Climate Strike Week kicked off in Calgary with hundreds of Calgarians gathering downtown on Sept. 20, to demand action to stop global warming.

People of all ages came together, carrying signs, all bringing a similar message: the government needs to act now.

Among those taking part was federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May, who is campaigning for the Oct. 21 election.

The protest in Calgary was part of a world-wide movement, as 160 other climate strikes also took place across the globe.

“We are here today to demand that our governments take climate action,” said Katherine Arich, a Calgary high school student and member of Fridays for Future.

The strike began at noon and was followed by a Climate Expo and parade later that afternoon and evening.

The strike featured speeches from a group of youth, who are a part of Fridays for Future, an international grassroots movement inspired by climate activist Greta Thunberg.

The youth who are a part of Fridays for Future have been rallying at city hall for months leading up to the strike, demanding that action be taken by political leaders on climate change.

Demands include improvement of the city’s transit system in order to lower vehicle emissions, and greater incentives for companies to incorporate greener transactions.

Evangeline Catin, a 17-year-old graduate of Centennial High School, has been a part of the Friday protests leading up to the strike and spoke to the crowd on Sept. 20.

“Our future and the next generation’s future rely on action,” Catin said.

One protestor at the strike, Richard Ruchkall, has been protesting climate change since the early ’70s when information about carbon emissions was first coming to light.

“I cannot believe that the scientists and politicians are sticking their heads in the sand and walking away from this,” he said.

Ruchkall said he has continued striking all these years to fight for his future, and now the future of his grandchildren.

“If you blow a hole in the atmosphere, you blow a hole in our future,” he said.

After an hour of striking, Chase Cardinal, a member of Fridays for Future, led the strikers in a “die-in,” in which everyone pretended to drop dead on the pavement, to mimic the possible effect of climate change in the future.

“This represents the lives that will be lost if we do nothing about climate change,” Cardinal said.

The week following the strike was busy for climate activists all over the world as many rallied for the cause. Thunberg spoke at the UN in the General Assembly, addressing the Climate Action Summit.

“We will make them hear us,” Thunberg told more than 250,000 people at the New York Climate Strike on Sept. 21.

The Sept. 20 event in Calgary was the first of many such protests, with more than 6,200 gatherings scheduled in 169 countries and 3,150 cities.

Cheering for change: A young girl cheers as she holds her sign at the Climate Strike in Calgary on Sept. 20. People of all ages attended the strike and showed their support of climate activist Greta Thunberg. (Photo by Jacey Conway/The Press)