Loud students chanting “people united will never be defeated,” could be heard throughout Downtown Guelph Friday afternoon as they joined Guelph to partake in the Global Climate Strike.
Approximately 300 students marched from the University of Guelph to city hall where approximately 500 people gathered in total to assert a clear message: to fight for climate change and voice their demand for science-based action from all political parties this election.
The event was in support of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg and the Fridays for Future movement as millions of the people around the world walked out of work, schools and their homes to join people for what could be the largest climate strike in history.
“It's very inspiring to see the kids out and the parents who are willing to pull them out,” said the organizer of the event Ruth Szaefer who is also a leader with Fridays for Future Guelph.
“These kids are supposed to be in school. So that whole concept that Greta has started about striking because this is the most important thing and nothing else really matters, people are showing that they agree with that by getting out of work and getting out of school. This tops it all.”
People of all ages were seen holding hand made signs while tuning into collective chants such as ‘system change, not climate change,’ ‘we’re unstoppable, another world is possible,’ ‘water is life, water is sacred, stop the pipelines, stop the hatred.’
Vice-president of the Central Student Association Horeen Hassan was seen leading the chants.
“It's a shame that a few months back, Guelph decided to acknowledge a climate crisis rather than declaring a climate emergency so today we’re here to be loud and show the government we care,” said Hassan.
Speeches demanded action from the federal election this October and people held a moment of silence for all living species on earth.
During her speech, Szaefer held the mic and said “my only real job in this world is to protect my babies,” as she spoke to the audience to explain that the world she grew up in might not be the same for her children.
MPP Mike Schreiner at the event said it was incredible to see how the youth are coming together and leading change when other politicians are not.
“This inspires me to fight at Queens Park,” said Shreiner.
Szaefer said if nothing else, this event can at least inspire people.
“I think that people need to see that action is happening because climate change is so big and so scary and no one really knows what to do about it,” said Szaefer.
“So when they can come to rallies like this and see that other people care and other people want to act, then they're more inspired to do it themselves and we need everyone because it affects everyone.”
Global Climate Strike events will take place all week and can their information can be found here.