By Briahna McTigue
On March 15, 2019, Quebec will host its first climate strike. Inspired by the actions of Greta Thunberg, a sixteen year old Swedish activist, this date has been chosen as a marker for a worldwide movement. With her persistent voice and passion, Thunberg is an example of the increasingly young activists we see emerging today.
Despite her age, she has made a name for herself by challenging the generations that came before her. In an interview with CNN on December 27, 2018, Thunberg made the bold statement that “we must hold the older generations accountable for the mess they have created”. While some may argue that these words are too big for a little body, she continues to support her statements with action.
In August of 2018, Thunberg began to strike from her high school every Friday, inspiring youth worldwide. As documented in The Guardian, this young activist’s call to action has inspired more than 20,000 students. Her movement has been given a variety of names, such as: “#FridaysforFuture”, “Youth for Climate”, and “Youth Strike 4 Climate.”
As a direct result of Greta’s actions and the ripple effect it has caused the aforementioned strike was effectuated. Following this movement, a group by the name of “La Planète S’invite à L’université” took charge of Quebec’s involvement. They have also planned a second strike on September 27, following the global #EarthStrike movement.
The group’s first demand urges governments to establish an environmental education and climate awareness program for young citizens. Moreover, they are asking governments to adopt a climate law, with a goal of decreasing the planet’s overall temperature. Their final demand is to have an increased transparency of investments by educational institutions, all the while eliminating fossil fuel investments and maintaining institutional carbon footprints.
Founded on February 8, 2019, the group has accumulated over 2000 followers on Facebook. Created by students for students, the community encompassing the event is primarily composed of Quebec’s youth. In an interview with the Montreal Gazette, Léa Ilardo, one of the group’s organizers, says that the goal is to “change the paradigm and bring drastic
change. The leaders today aren’t ready to change the paradigm.”
The increase in the political participation of youth is inspiring others to step forward. With congruent ideologies, Ilardo’s words closely mirror those of Thunberg’s. At an EU conference on February 21, 2019, Thunberg defended the movement, arguing that “if you still say that we are wasting valuable lesson time, then let me remind you that our political leaders have wasted decades through denial and innaction... and since our time is running out, we have decided to take action. We have started to clean up your mess, and we will not stop until we are done.”
As a generation dedicatedly tied to our devices, we foster community and connectivity in a way that is increasingly accessible. Online activism has become a crucial tool used to propagate political movements and opinions.
As an institution dedicated to its sustainability practices, one may wonder how these values will come into play at Dawson during the strikes. We’ve talked the talk, but will we walk the walk?