Understand | Environment | Politics
Reading time: 3 minutes
Text and photos by Anne-Marie Asselin
Published March 18th 2019
On March 15th 2019, 1.5 million people around the world rallied to shout to the world that it is high time to take action for the climate. It is Montreal that has achieved the “tour de force” with the largest citizen mobilization of the day. More than 150,000 people join the march, according to Équiterre. Greta Thunberg, instigator of the #FridaysForFuture, asked the whole world for a peaceful and respectful protest, as described in her guide for the protester, www.fridaysforfuture.org.
" Imagine what we could do together, if we wanted to "
- Greta Thunberg, in her speech at COP 24, 2018, Poland.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 by 154 states in addition to the entire membership of the European Community. It has been almost 30 years now that we are discussing ways to mitigate climate change.
This year, however, was particularly remarkable. The alarming report of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), released in October 2018, has given us the long-awaited "slap in the face". Many refused to see it or even to believe it. It is now rather naïve to ignore it. The slap is:
"Limiting global warming to 1.5 ° C could be the difference between life and death for many people and ecosystems in the coming decades" , warns the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
And IPCC scientists have little hope that humanity will meet this challenge.
On August 20th, 2018, Greta Thunberg decides not to go to school until the general elections of her country, held on September 9, 2018. Her country, and many in the Northern Hemisphere, have come to cope during the summer, unprecedented heat waves and forest fires. She asked her Government that the plan to reduce carbon emissions under the Paris Agreement should be respected. She continues to demonstrate every Friday since that day during school hours. On social media, she uses hashtags #Klimatstrejka, #ClimateStrike and #FridaysforFuture. Her strike caught the attention of the entire world and inspired many other young people to join the movement.
Youth is heard
On December 4th 2018, Thunberg is invited to address COP24, the United Nations summit on climate change.
She says :
"This is the most serious crisis humanity has ever undergone [...] Our biosphere is sacrificed so that the rich of countries like mine can live in luxury. It is the sufferings of the many who pay for the luxury of the fewest. And if solutions within the system are impossible to find, perhaps we should change the system itself. "
"We did not come here to beg the world's leaders to worry [...] we came to tell you it's time for change, whether you like it or not. "
Greta Thunberg, 16 years old, is listed for a Nobel Peace Prize, for her heartfelt cry. Miss Thunberg was able to get her message across more than anyone else in the past. And Greta is not alone. In every corner of the world, young people are educating themselves and working for the environment. They put in place thousands of initiatives every second to reinvent the world they see themselves living. On March 15th, those who felt alone and isolated in this climate battle found themselves at the heart of a real human tide. More than 1.5 million people of all generations have walked the streets to support the movement. More than 2083 locations in 125 countries and on all continents have mobilized.
And now what?
Will we know how to decarbonize our atmosphere, clean coasts and our oceans, make our forests grow stronger, feed ourselves better ... heal?
A saying says: "It is only clear with the eyes of the heart."
Will we know how to listen to our heart, look into ourselves and act accordingly? Will we know how to listen to our children? Will we recognize their rights to live in a more just and healthier world?
March 15th, 2019 has made history.
The message is clear, it's up to us make a change.
The climate is changing, why not us?