“Thank you all for coming out to support us! There are so many more people than we had expected,” said one youth representative from the steps of City Hall. Another shouted, “We are Generation Zed! We won’t be stopped!”
The crowd that started outside the Youth Space across from RSS blocked Washington street and one lane at a time of Highway 3-B through downtown Rossland during the lunch hour on Friday, September 27, was estimated at about 200 participants – of all ages, from babes in arms to grey-haired grandparents. Vehicular traffic was respectful and accommodated the march.
“I’m here for the children,” declared one of the more mature marchers. Another confessed, “It just hurts me to think of what the children now are going to live through, later on.”
Rossland City Council members Andy Morel, Dirk Lewis and Stewart Spooner joined the March, as did former Council member Andy Stradling. All the other current Council members were out of town, attending the annual conference of the Union of BC Municipalities.
Marchers chanted “We want change!” but made it clear that climate change was not the kind they wanted.
“We shouldn’t have to march,” said one, “but how else can we get the message across?”
A French judge seems to agree; on September 17, a news item in the Guardian reported a judge’s ruling that two climate crisis protesters who removed Emmanuel Macron’s portrait from an official building were justified in doing so because of the severity of the environmental emergency.
The judge commented that the protesters’ actions were a “legitimate call on the president.”
Another Rossland marcher pointed out that action to address climate change should have begun 30 years ago, when oil company’s own researchers warned the executives about the effects on the Earth that their products would cause. Instead, the marcher declared, the research was hidden, and oil companies began a concerted campaign and have spent millions of dollars to deflect and misinform the public. In response, another person commented that there had been warnings much earlier, and referred to a 1965 report of the US President’s Science Advisory Committee.
If marches and protests don’t seem to have sufficient effect on government action, who knows what might come next?