Environmental activists take to Halifax Shopping Centre on Black Friday
HALIFAX -- In an article published in Nature on Wednesday, climate change experts warned the earth might have already reached or surpassed catastrophic tipping points which could leave the planet an “unlivable hothouse." Painting a worrying vision of the future, the findings have inspired young people from around the world to join the Fridays For Future global movement – rallying and demanding immediate action on the pressing issue – including youth leaders in Halifax.
Despite extremely cool weather on Friday, over 200 students gathered and marched to make their voices heard on the evolving crisis facing their generation.
“We don't have that much time left to change our habits," says protest organizer, Caden Flynn.
The statistics surrounding climate change are alarming to many people, especially activists. Figures such as 5,000,000 tons of CO2 entering the atmosphere every hour are worrying; meanwhile, images of melting ice caps and the prevalence of extreme coastal storms add to the list of catastrophic misfortune.
The teens want to send a clear message with their show of protest – demanding sweeping changes and offering ideas as to how society can tackle the looming issue of climate change.
"I want a future, I want to be able to have children, I want to be able to live without anxiety about the climate crisis,” says protester organizer, Julia Sampson. “I hope the government is listening, and I want them to hear that they're not doing enough.”
Watching Friday’s protest closely was Ecology Action Centre energy conservation coordinator, Emma Norton. She says she hopes people of all ages join the movement, but notes having teens lead the charge increases the chances of making meaningful change.
“It makes me emotional,” says Norton. “It makes me inspired to see all these young people getting out and getting active in democracy.”
And the protesters are no doubt active in letting their voices be heard.
"People are starting to take notice that we're not going to sit back and let this happen without having something to say about it," says Flynn.
Following a gathering at the Halifax Common, the group of young activists took their protest to the streets of Halifax, marching on route to the Halifax Shopping Centre – a location crowded with Black Friday shoppers.
“We educate people on consumerism," says Sampson, whose protest group used signs to help to educate shoppers about the waste the busy retail season produces.
Prior to arriving at the Halifax Shopping Centre, the group expressed that they hoped to hold a peaceful protest. Despite their intentions, the group was asked to leave the mall shortly after entering the establishment.