Thousands join the Montreal march for climate change
As expected, 10s of thousands of activists, students, dignitaries and protesters assembled at the George-Etienne Cartier Statue on Park Ave. at the foot of Mount Royal and began marching through downtown as part of the global climate strike Friday.
Front and centre was 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who joined the Montreal march days after making an impassioned speech that went viral at the United Nations Climate Action Summit.
Thunberg had some less than flattering words for Liberal leader Justin Trudeau before the march.
"He's, of course, obviously not doing enough ... this is such a huge problem, this is a system that is wrong. So my message to all the politicians is the same: to just listen to the science and act on the science," she said.
Trudeau said before the march that if re-elected, his government will plant 2 billion trees in the next 10 years.
The crowd included thousands of young people, many of whom were inspired by Thunberg's example.
"She's an inspiration," said one young woman on the march. "She quit her school to save us, and to encourage us to walk in the streets and participate for the health of the earth."
David Suzuki was at the march and spoke about what the march and others symbolize.
"We're talking now about a real revolution," said Suzuki. "We've built a society that is totally dependent on fossil fuels for our use. The transition to renewable energy is not going to be easy. This is a massive, massive revolution."
Suzuki said politicians need to start making annual goals and not long-term reduction plans decades in the future.
"Of course we all need to do our bit, but we need some big decisions to be made now and the first one is we've got to set immediate targets every year for how much we're going to reduce our emissions," he said.
Suzuki said environmentalists have to get together and show what the average citizen can do to reduce consumption.
"It's possible to make big changes in our own lives, and I'm convinced the Canadian public is prepared to do that. We just have to show them, how do we do that."
The march is scheduled to end Friday evening.
This is a developing story that will be updated.