UBC students join Greta Thunberg at climate strike in downtown Vancouver

Friday, October 25 saw climate protesters take to the streets of Vancouver again to demand more urgent climate action from political leaders.

The march was organized by the youth-run organization, Sustainabiliteens. To capitalize on their message, well-known Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg also made an appearance. She marched side by side with attendees and spoke to a crowd of between 12,000 and 15,000 people outside the Vancouver Art Gallery according to estimates from the Vancouver Police Department.

Thunberg was joined by local climate activists including Dr. David Suzuki and members of the Tiny House Warriors, an activist group protesting the building of the Trans Mountain Pipeline on unceded Secwepemc territory by strategically building houses along the pipeline route.

Many UBC students joined the march in support of the activists’ messages for further action on the climate crisis. Lizzy Ruta, a natural resource conservation major at UBC, said she came to the march to support Greta’s message. “[I wanted to] support Greta Thunberg and be with other like-minded people who also support her...for her bravery and dedication to supporting solutions for climate change,” said Ruta.

“Change is coming, whether you like it or not.”
“Change is coming, whether you like it or not.” Salomon Micko Benrimoh

But Thunberg’s presence was not the only reason for the large turnout among young activists. Second-year biology major Lucy Wall felt the need to come out to show her continued support for the cause. “I came to the last climate strike and I thought it was important to come again and show solidarity for what I believe in,” she said.

Urban forestry major, Liam Gannon, who is also part of a non-violent direct action group called Extinction Rebellion expressed frustration with the pace of climate action by politicians. When asked why he attended the rally, Gannon said, “Well, frankly, I’ve had it with government and with the inaction…and by the time everyone’s going to act it’s going to be too late.”

Gannon said he feels that his responsibility is to keep Canadian leaders from shirking their responsibilities and refusing to act on the climate crisis.

The most notable proponent of the youth’s role in fighting the climate crisis is arguably Thunberg herself, who rose to prominence by holding climate strikes outside of Sweden’s parliament. In previous climate protests and speeches, Thunberg said world leaders must be responsible for ignoring the warnings of scientists 27 years ago in Rio de Janeiro.

“Because we are not just some kids skipping school or just some adults who are not going to work,” said Thunberg to the crowd. “We are a wave of change and together we are unstoppable.”

“Change is coming, whether you like it or not,” she said as she ended her speech.