“Get Up, Stand Up, Climate Justice Now!”
Mother nature wanted to be sure people were really serious about saving her on April 29, and we showed again that we are. Despite an incredible rain storm, over 1000 people took to the streets in Vancouver for a loud and diverse mobilization which focused on urgent climate justice issues at home and abroad. We joined over one million people in 370 sister “People's Climate Mobilizations” in the United States and Canada.
The largest mobilization was of 200,000 people in Washington, DC, where they marched to the White House to protest Donald Trump's 100th day as President. The initial call to mobilize was made in response to Trump's clear anti-planet agenda, as he scrapped environmental protection measures, appointed a climate change denier to he head of the Environmental Protection Agency, forced through approval of Dakota Access pipeline, and tried to revive the dead Keystone XL pipeline.
“Hey Hey, Trudeau, Kinder Morgan has Got to Go!”
What was originally a national call became international as organizers in Canada recognized the urgency or the situation here as well. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claims constantly to believe in protecting the environment and respecting indigenous rights – yet he has approved the Kinder Morgan and Line 3 pipelines, as well as many other dangerous resource extraction projects which contradicts those claims directly. The latest broken promise was an announcement that Canada would now delay its commitments to tackling methane emissions from the Alberta Tar Sands for another 2 years.
No wonder that groups across Canada, including next door to the tar sands in Edmonton Alberta, decided to take to the streets demanding, “Jobs, Justice and Climate.” The reality is, under Trump and Trudeau we get are getting none of the above…
In Vancouver, the Climate Convergence coalition initiated the national call-out which helped bring together different organizations from coast to coast, as well as a large group or endorsers to the Vancouver climate mobilization including grassroots organizations, environmental NGOs, trade unions, faith and student groups.
“Christy Clark, We Say No, Site C Dam has Got to Go!”
The diversity was apparent in those who showed up for the rally and stuck it out through the rain. Led by indigenous activists, their drums, and a big banner which said, “Climate Justice Now!” the route marched from the iconic Science World before taking over one of the main bridges into downtown. Significantly it stopped in front of the BC Hydro building as Fight C organizer and hereditary Chief Gordon August outlined the many reasons to be opposed to BC Hydro's Site C Hydroelectric Dam - which Premier Christy Clark is trying to force through. A recent University of British Columbia study showed that the 9 billion project will be completely uneconomical and unnecessary. This on top of the obvious fact that it is opposed by local indigenous nations and would ruin over 57,000 acres of agricultural and forested land.
“No More Pipelines, No More Tankers, Power to the People, Not the Bankers!”
The march then continued to the TD Bank Tower and took over the intersection in front. Judy Wilson, Chief of the Neskonlith Indian Band and Secretary-Treasurer of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, made clear the broad indigenous opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline and to TD's role as the principle investment broker for Kinder Morgan for the pipeline expansion. Kinder Morgan has a June 30 deadline to secure the financing for the project or risk its cancellation.
At this point marchers had been outside in the rain and wind for over 2 hours, but the chanting continued and the march actually grew larger and louder as many people walking downtown joined in. It continued through downtown with the chants ringing off the buildings until it arrived at its final destination.
“Hey Trump, Trudeau, No More Pipelines, We Say No!”
What is becoming clearer to more and more people every day is that climate change is an urgent issue. It is also clearer every day that there is a distinct line between capitalist governments and corporations on one side, and the vast majority of people around the world on the other. Their constant efforts to maximize profits above the well being of people as well as planet places all of our lives at risk. We need to keep up the pressure and keep up actions like the People's Climate Mobilizations - bringing people together so we can feel the strength of working together for common interests. Connecting local struggles to an international movement. We have everything to lose and a whole world to win, so let's fight like it!
People and Planet Before Pipelines and Profit!
System Change Not Climate Change!
Follow Thomas Davies on Twitter: @thomasdavies59
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