Dozens of members of Canadian Youth Delegation marched downtown dressed in scuba diving gear on Nov. 12 to illustrate the problem of rising sea levels.
"We want to show that Canada is affected by climate change, and that everyone has to deal with this issue, because it affects people's everyday lives," says Robin Tress, a member of the youth delegation and one of organizers of the demonstration.
The idea for the demonstration was based on the study of climate change published in The Chronicle Herald, which shows how Halifax will look in future years as the sea level continues to rise. "Not many Haligonians understand that we are slowly sinking," says team leader Brittany Maguire. "Citizens should start to do something about it now, before it's too late."
Another delegate, Emilie Novaczek, says Halifax sees sea levels rise at a high rate. "Globally, sea level rise has been about 15-20 centimetres, but here in Halifax it's higher, and achieves 32 cm in the same time period," she says.
The demonstration started at noon on the corner of Hollis and Sackville Streets, where students gathered to wear their bathing suits, flippers, swimming caps and goggles. Novaczek gave a poster to her dog Lilly, who also participated in the march.
Then demonstrators moved to Upper Water Street, where they drew a line with chalk to show where the level of water is expected to be in the year 2100. Members say that in the future Under Water Street is going to be the new name for Upper Water.
Participant Danielle Nelson from Dalhousie says that now the main goal of the youth delegation is to turn the attention of citizens to the problem of climate change and raise awareness about this issue. Nelson also believes that citizens should write MLA requests to the government for an effective climate change plan.
Lines of students in diving gear with umbrellas and posters with statements like, "I can't swim," "Hope you have your life preserver," and "Will the dog paddle save me?" surprised passersby and drivers. Most passersby admitted that they hadn't heard anything about the march, but "the demonstration which attracts attention of social media is the best way to raise awareness among citizens," said Tony Hall, who works with the Marine Industry and was walking to his office when he noticed the demonstration. Drivers supported marchers with honks and waves.
Organizers say that this demonstration was based around talk of the sixteenth United Nations Climate Change Conference this year in Cancun. Novaczek and Tress will participate in the conference, which provides opportunities for international dialogue with politicians about climate change.
This artice was originally printed in the Dalhousie Gazette, Dalhousie University's students' newspaper.
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