VIDEO: Teens gather en masse across Canada to demand drastic climate action

Greta Thunberg says if adults are mocking kids, they must feel threatened

Climate change activists and students gather for a protest and “die-in” on the steps of the Calgary Municipal Building in Calgary on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish activist whose global crusade sent tens of thousands of Canadians into the streets Friday to join others around the world in demanding action on climate change, says the nasty backlash she has faced from some leaders is proof positive her message is getting across.

Thunberg has been mocked and ridiculed by some of the world’s most powerful people, including U.S. President Donald Trump, who dismiss her calls to climate action as the musings of a silly schoolgirl. In Canada, People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier called her a mentally ill pawn of adults.

But if adults are mocking children, they must be feeling the heat, Thunberg said during a news conference in Montreal where she continued to be the focal point of a massive, international day of action.

“I don’t understand why grown-ups would choose to mock children and teenagers for just communicating and acting on the science when they could do something good instead,” she said.

“But I guess they must feel like their worldview or their interests or whatever it is, is threatened by us. We should take as a compliment that we are having so much impact that people want to silence us.”

This entire week has become known as the “Week for Future,” starting with an emergency climate session at the United Nations on Monday where Thunberg lashed out at world leaders for not taking the crisis seriously enough.

Thunberg began weekly sit-ins outside the Swedish legislature last year, which over the course of a few months grew into a global phenomenon. One week ago, millions of people around the world marched in protest against governments not taking drastic climate action. Another day of global protest took place Friday, including in more than 85 cities and towns in Canada.

From St. John’s to Vancouver, and as far north as Inuvik in the Northwest Territories, tens of thousands of Canadians came out in force. They came in strollers and on skateboards, on bikes and in army boots, wearing knee braces and leaning on crutches and canes. From babies to baby boomers, grandkids to grandparents, they filled parks and the lawns of legislatures and Parliament, toting papier-mache Earths and trees, some with full potted plants on their backs.

Their message was clear: Bolder action is urgently needed to save the planet from the crisis of climate change.

READ MORE: MEC and LUSH stores to close on Friday for global climate strikes

Many of those who came out called Thunberg their inspiration.

“I think she has revolutionized how we look at activism,” said Pascal Morimanno, a 17-year-old marching in Fredericton. “She is one person but there are millions of youth out here now because of her. She is the face of new activism.”

The grassroots groups behind the Canadian marches have some specific demands, including refusing any new oil and gas projects and cutting emissions to be just one-quarter of what they were in 2005 by 2030.

RELATED: Threats, abuse move from online to real world, McKenna now requires security

KEEP READING: Canadian Indigenous teen returns to UN to call for water protection

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COLUMN | Creating a “community of practice” inspires

Art Matters by columnist Sarah Zimmerman

Hockey puck with nails found at Terrace Sportsplex Arena

City believes it has already caused $4,000 of damage

Kitselas First Nation receives $1.2M boost for apprenticeship development program

Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education announces $7.5M for six Indigenous training programs

Terrace Skating Club takes home 24 medals from regional championships

Skaters claim top spot for fifth year in a row

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

UBC grad and sister killed in Iran plane crash had bright futures ahead, close friend says

Asadi-Lari siblings Mohammad Hussein and Zeynab were two of 57 Canadians aboard downed Flight PS752

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Coastal GasLink work camp in Vanderhoof gets approved by the ALC

The work camp behind the Vanderhoof airport was first rejected by the commission in October last year

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

Most Read