‘Lives are at stake’: Climate rally at the legislature

Dalhousie student organizes latest climate change protest

Judith Perry stood outside in the cold for two hours on Friday.

The 75-year-old was protesting inaction against climate change, like she did at a similar rally in September.

“I think it’s important to keep up the momentum or it’s going to be lost,” said Perry. “Just doing it once on a nice September day isn’t enough.”

Perry joined about 35 other demonstrators who gathered on the sidewalk in front of Province House  late Friday afternoon. They marched up George Street and around to the front of the building.

Judith Perry, Ella Dodson and Georgia Atkins attend a climate rally outside Province House on Nov. 9, 2019.   Dominique Amit

The demonstration was organized by Dalhousie law student Kristan Belanger. It was her first time organizing a protest and was planned in conjunction with a similar rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

Kristan Belanger organized the rally. Standing with her is fellow protester Erich Burton.   Dominique Amit

“My main goal was to provide a public forum for everyone. This was about average Canadians having their voices elevated,” said Belanger.

“I have definitely felt out of my depth in organizing this, but I just wanted to do any little bit that I could to try and effect positive change.”

She opened the event with a land acknowledgment and called the province out for continuing to support the coal industry, gold mining and the Alton Gas project.

Ella Dodson took part in the demonstration because she’s worried about the future.

“What the elected officials need to hear is that we cannot afford to wait,” she said. “Lives are at stake.”

Eleanor Wynn, a member of Extinction Rebellion, a global climate activism group, said she was frustrated with the government for the passing of Bill 213.

Bill 213 requires Nova Scotia to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 53 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, and for Nova Scotia to reach a net-zero carbon footprint by 2050. Dozens of people, including Wynn, attended a legislative committee meeting on Oct. 28 and called for the targets to be strengthened, yet no amendments were made.

Eleanor Wynn of Extinction Rebellion speaks at the rally.   Dominique Amit

At the mention of the bill Friday, the crowd booed.

When Lily Brookfield came forward to speak, she was greeted by cheers of encouragement. It was the 13-year-old’s first time attending a protest.

“Anyone can change the world if they try. Just by being here we’re helping,” she said.

All of the statements made at the event are being compiled by Belanger, who plans on submitting them to the legislative assembly for review.

“In the end it is legislation that governs countries and affects companies that will ensure that we along with our children and our children’s children actually have a future to look forward to,” said Belanger.

Climate strikes have become commonplace around the world since Greta Thunberg began her school strike for climate in 2018.

A previous climate strike in Halifax was held on Sept. 27.

Dominique Amit

Dominique Amit

Dominique Amit is a journalism student at the University of King's College. She hails from Stellarton, Nova Scotia. She's interested in politics and pop culture.

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