November 29 was a global day of climate action, with hundreds of thousands of people taking part in actions across the world. In Ottawa, 25,000 people from across Canada came together on unceded Algonquin territory to say — and to spell in massive numbers — that climate solutions and climate justice is 100 per cent possible.
Last month, people voted for change at the ballot box, and they are continuing to vote with their feet. Trudeau was elected on the slogan of “real change,” and the climate justice movement wants to make that rhetoric a reality. People chanted, “Real change not climate change.”
This means stopping Canada’s fastest growing source of carbon emissions: the tar sands. Following the climate welcome sit-in outside Trudeau’s residence at the start of the month, yesterday’s demonstration continued to remind the new Prime Minister of the need to freeze tar sands development.
While governments have given billions to the banks and corporations responsible for the economic crisis, and billions more to the oil and gas companies responsible for the climate crisis, there’s a growing demand for the climate jobs that can address both crises. As one of the signs said, “If the climate were a bank, it would already be saved.”
World leaders are meeting in Paris, claiming to work on climate action, while at the same time launching wars that destroy the climate and denying refugees fleeing wars and climate chaos. Carrying the banner “No war, no warming,” the anti-war contingent chanted, “Stop the war on the atmosphere, refugees are welcome here,” and “War and Islamophobia go hand in hand, they sabotage climate action plans.”
Climate action is possible, and it means respecting Indigenous sovereignty and welcoming refugees, stopping wars and investing in climate jobs: A system change to stop climate change.
From the 25,000 who marched in Quebec City in April, to the 10,000 who marched in Toronto in July and now the 25,000 who marched in Ottawa yesterday, we can see the growing alliance of Indigenous, environmental and labour groups who are making climate justice 100 per cent possible.