Plenty of news outlets have covered the gathering of 20 000 people on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill for Friday’s Climate Strike (#climatestrikecanada) with much more thoroughness than one volunteer blogger could hope to do, but here are some thoughts and musings on the day, and a couple next steps.
Things I Noticed:
- Ottawa residents are pretty creative when it comes to making protest signs. A few favourites pictured below.
- It was great to see such a diverse group of people at an eco event, including so many young people and kids. It was especially nice to see not just “the same crowd” come out to something like this. At PERC, we love all our core volunteers and partner groups, but it was a pleasant surprise to see hardly anyone I knew at the Climate Strike!
- I found it hard to see who was speaking, and a couple folks I talked to mentioned the same thing. Tricky, since the stairs people usually stand on were closed for construction, but some sort of stage would have been helpful.
- It was fun to see people being so creative at a protest. I saw groups of kids with watercolour paints working on a large poster together, a person dancing on stilts, and lots of folks with hand drums or other small, portable instruments wandering around. It gave things a festive air, and it was great to see people’s artistic sides coming out in support of something they care about.
- It was encouraging to see how laid back law enforcement was (at least while I was there). I saw lots of strike participants in friendly conversation with police officers, getting directions, etc. It was very non-adversarial, which was great.
- Also encouraging was how packed the bicycle racks were for blocks around Parliament Hill! I can’t remember the last time it took me so long to find bike parking – a problem I’d like to have more!
So what’s next?
First of all, I hope that everyone who came out and is eligible to vote on October 21st gets out and does so! Large gatherings like the climate strike are one way to make your voice heard, but participating in democracy is another, and we need all the voices. For those who were there that are too young to vote – talk to your family members! Encourage them to participate and be your voice in the upcoming election.
Secondly, participate in the election process by joining one of the Ecology Ottawa all candidates debates coming up: On Thursday, October 3, Ecology Ottawa is holding all-candidates’ environment debates in the ridings of Kanata-Carleton, Ottawa Centre and Orléans along with EnviroCentre and the Ottawa Food Policy Council. Please attend if you are able, and kindly RSVP at the links provided to join them.
Thirdly, put a few bucks towards the cause! Obviously at PERC we’d love it if you donated and subscribed to the PEN, but we’re all in this together and we’ll be happy if you instead chip in a few bucks to another group like Ecology Ottawa, plant a tree through Tree Canada, offset some of your carbon emissions, or support another climate action group of your choosing! If everyone who was at the climate strike chipped in just $5, that would be $100K towards combating climate change!