Rally on climate change action at Old Town Hall, April 16

Climate Change – the Time for Action Is NOW!

by Theresa Peluso

On Tuesday, April 16, at noon, at the Almonte Old Town Hall, Mississippi Mills residents have the opportunity to join the hundreds of thousands of people worldwide demanding that government leaders take action to rescue our planet, increasingly beset by unpredictable extreme-weather events, mostly the result of burning fossil fuels.

Greta Thunberg

We are inspired by the example of a 16-year-old Swedish teenager, Greta Thunberg who, alarmed by the freakish heat waves and wildfires sweeping over her country last year, decided to strike from school on Fridays and protest at the Swedish Parliament to pressure her government to act.

Greta is justifiably concerned about the forecasts issued by eminent scientists on the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who warn that there are fewer than 12 years left to halt global warming before these weather events reach the point of threatening our survival.  Furthermore, the IPCC emphasize that extraordinary efforts are needed during that time to avert catastrophic climate change. A recent Canadian government climate report states that our country is warming, on average, at a rate twice as fast as the rest of the world, and that many of the changes that have occurred are irreversible.  We are not exempt.

Last December, when Greta was invited to address the United Nations Climate Change Summit, she did not mince words.  Here’s what she said:

We are at a time in history where everyone with any insight of the climate crisis that threatens our civilization – and the entire biosphere – must speak out in clear language, no matter how uncomfortable and unprofitable that may be…Adults keep saying: “We owe it to the young people to give them hope.” But I don’t want your hope.  I don’t want you to be hopeful.  I want you to panic.  I want you to feel the fear I feel every day.  And then I want you to act.  I want you to act as you would in a crisis.  I want you to act as if our house is on fire.  Because it is.

No wonder students are striking!  As of December 2018, inspired by Greta’s example, students all over the world marched to fight for their future in at least 270 cities, including the United States and Canada. On March 15, people in Smiths Falls and Perth joined the Global Strike for Climate to tell ALL politicians, including local politicians, to take action on the climate crisis. They were not alone.  That same day, roughly 1.4 million people, all over the world, protested against insufficient action against global warming.  There were tens of thousands in Montreal alone.

Mississippi Mills residents, let’s do our part!  On Tuesday, April 16 an Earth Day/Climate Action Rally will take place in front of the Old Town Hall in Almonte from noon to 1 pm.

Also, on Monday, April 22, the 4th annual P’Earth Day Parade will start from the bandshell behind Perth Town Hall at 4 pm. Bring your signs, colorful umbrellas and good humour to these events.

Then on Friday, May 3, there will be a Canada-wide Student Strike for Climate. Local students can participate without actually leaving school by signing up online and as a private rather than public event, and they can call it a demonstration rather than a strike. They can hold the event in a school cafeteria or a classroom and share their photos on social media. On Facebook, search for “Fridays for Future Canada” for more information. For local actions join CALL – Citizens Call for Climate Action in Lanark County and Smiths Falls on Facebook. Call Anita at 613-267-0881 or Susan at 613-285-7945 for details.

I’ll be joining the April 16 demonstration on behalf of my family, especially my grandchildren, who in 12 years’ time, will be 18 and 14.  I share Greta’s alarm about their future. What about you?