...Must be Something in the Atmosphere!
By: Miranda Lalla
With technology so readily available, it would be fair to say that the average millenial’s standard for living presupposes a degree of comfort easily attainable within their environment. Consequently, most of Generation Z can attest to being accused of “detachment;” readers of this very publication could most likely relate to having been preached to by an old relative offering a story about once surviving off of seasonal harvests. Young adults in Western society are now logically the consumers most targeted by irresponsible multinational corporations; presupposing ignorance, apathy, and greed on their part. It would take a fool, after the events of March 15th, to retain such a belief.
On March 15th, more than 150 000 students took to the streets of downtown Montreal to demand climate action and to raise awareness for the long-term effects of climate change. The aim of the movement, inspired by 16-year-old Swedish activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greta Thunberg, was echoed worldwide, as student protesters marched through cities in over 100 countries. Dawson‘s own Green Earth club spearheaded the College’s march after hosting a morning sit-in in the lower atrium. Equipped with signs, and a (seemingly) unlimited supply of chants, about 100 students marched from the De Maisonneuve entrance to the George-Étienne Cartier monument, picking up many supporters along the way.
Although Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has duped the Harper era as the “years when pollution was free,” boasting a cabinet geared towards sustainable energy, the current government appears to be at a standstill with regards to taking any drastic action. Trudeau’s government approved construction on the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion, which was done with the goal of saving the Canadian economy on oil transportation fees - a move often deemed hypocritical by environmental activists. The government stated that fossil fuels will remain part of the country’s “foreseeable future,” and, as a result of resistance from the native land and Indigenous communities that were overlooked, the project’s approval was overturned by the Federal Court of Appeals in late August 2018.
In a turn of events, the Prime Minister unveiled a new strategy last year: the introduction of a requirement for provinces to enforce “taxes of at least $20 per tonne on emissions from January 2019, with increments of $10 each year until 2022.” However, only two provinces — Quebec and British Columbia — agreed to engage in the “carbon tax” effort.
For fear of a pendulum-swing back to the conservative paradigm of Harper-esque environmental negligence, herds of students marched with one goal in mind: change. While Montreal’s youth may not face the direct consequences of climate change, one of the city’s first spring days proved that the insight, awareness, and mindfulness of one social media generation is a force to be reckoned with. On March 15th, 150 000 students united in plight. Their chants could be heard crying out a simple observation: “Hey, It’s hot in here!”