By Darren Lum
A cool wind, with falling snow did little to diminish the heat from the fervor expressed by protesters, who gathered at the locomotive landmark in Haliburton last Friday to take a stand against the inaction by policymakers and world leaders to help resolve the climate change crisis and prioritize #peoplenotprofits.
Locally, this protest was organized by the Environment Haliburton! (EH!) and Concerned Citizens of Haliburton County (CCHC), but was part of the Global Climate Strike protests held throughout the world by Fridays for Future.
This effort is looking for an actionable resolution to the climate change crisis, but are also interested in protecting species and biodiversity, stopping colonization and retail sale of Indigenous, ancestral lands to drilling and mining corporations for extraction of fossil fuels, reparation of land and funds to Indigenous people, increase funding for adaptation to climate change and reduce CO2 emissions.
EH! vice-president Terry Moore said the protest in Haliburton was about raising awareness of the climate crisis.
“Well, I think that it’s really important that every community tries to stand up and support Friday’s for Future. This is a global problem. We have one atmosphere and we all have to be part of the solution. So, it’s really important for us to be out here today,” he said.
Moore said he is also a member for Seniors for Climate Action Now, an organization to express intergenerational support for the next generation who will inherit the Earth. Born in 1949, Moore said he feels an obligation and guilt to help the next generation with resolving the damage after damaging actions taken in his era, which is related to the of the environmental issues of today, which left the atmosphere compromised.
“As a generation, my generation is leaving a huge mess that future generations are going to have to … take the lion share of the responsibility … when the stuff hits the fan is going to be dying. Not mine,” he said, referring to rising emissions.
“I feel a responsibility for that. I got grandchildren. I got children and I don’t want to pass on a legacy for them that’s going to be poisoned,” he said.
The grandfather said his consciousness for action was raised started during the 1970s when he was in university, which at the time coincided with the start of the environmental movement.
Close to two dozen protesters showed up, but to those that attended the hour long protest said it’s not about the numbers, as it is to keep the momentum going to keep the climate crisis in the public.
“Anybody showing up is good for me. It’s not about total numbers. It’s about, really, can we build community support? Yeah, I think there’s a whole bunch of people in this community who would really want to see robust climate action and are pissed off that its not happening,” Moore said.
He added there are polls that suggest that more than 75 per cent of Canadians want to see climate action.
Greg Roe of CCHC shared the same perspective as Moore related to feeling a need to do something, which started during the 1970s when he recognized the climate was changing, but added, “Why are we here locally? I keep asking myself. And, I think there’s an adage that people need to hear or see things three times before it even registers. [They think] maybe that is real. Maybe there’s something I should do[about climate change].”
He said one thing people can do to help is to not let your vehicle idle.
“A simple thing like that. Shut off your vehicle and you’re helping to support the planet,” he said.
Roe adds he is purposeful with his drives to town, thinking of how to do more on a trip so he takes less trips with his vehicle.
This coming election is an opportunity for the public to ensure the climate change crisis is addressed by policy makers, Moore said.
“We got an election coming up in June 2. We got a government that’s nowhere on climate, less than nowhere, and, so, we got to deliver a message to our political leaders that we want to see real concrete action, not bogus climate plans, but real climate actions. So, we got a chance to say something about that on June 2.