(A quick followup to the last post!) I wish so much that I had been able to join everyone at the events in Port Alberni on Friday to support the students there. It looks like it was a fantastic time. Thank you so much to those who were able to attend!
I had to be in Vancouver for union meetings (health and safety stuff). My own Federation of unions’ (FPSE) role in addressing the climate crisis was a frequent and lengthy topic of discussion. I’ll share some pictures of the protest here, but I also wanted to share a story.
I got to witness thousands of people in the streets of downtown Vancouver as I arrived there just after the huge march wrapped up. The number of people, especially school kids, was stunning.
The best part of it for me though was one very brief moment, when I saw a group of 4 girls, no more than 12 years old each, walking together down the middle of a street that had, by then, partially emptied and was otherwise relatively quiet.
They were wearing bright clothes and each was carrying a handmade sign. They were singing and chanting – just the 4 of them – with their own message of action. They were just as loud as they could possibly be and they were proud.
Every one of them had the most determined and joyful look on their faces.
The moment passed in a second without a picture, but that moment, more than all the thousands gathered at stages and lying in the street, impacted me and made me smile because I knew that all around the world there were hundreds, perhaps thousands of groups of children just like them.
Dear Editor, I feel compelled to write to you today and express hope in what all too often seems like a hopeless time. As we watch our salmon struggle to reach their spawning grounds or our weather behaving in unprecedented and increasingly destructive ways, so much of this weighs down upon us not only as a world and society, but even right here in our small town. It can all feel overwhelming.
Yet, on Friday September 20th and then again on the 27th millions of people in nearly every country and continent on the planet, took to the streets to put that hopelessness aside and demand action. It is not possible for one person to do enough to make the changes that are needed, but we all, through concerted effort from all sectors of civil society and government, can.
There have never been demonstrations of this size, across the entire world, for a single issue that affects us all on this earth. Children, adults, working people, and business owners all participated.
Some will claim the demonstrators are naïve or idealistic. Others might even insist there is nothing wrong at all, but the days of those voices having any legitimacy should now be history. The children who rallied here in Port Alberni and around the world and the adults who stood behind them are filled with hopeful purpose and our governments must acknowledge that and move forward quickly, bravely, and decisively.
Perhaps our problem this whole time was assuming government would lead, but the largest issues of society have never been solved by a politician leading people, it has been from people demanding change.
The people have found their leaders, and now, regardless of political persuasion, it is time for all levels of government to follow.
Note: I wrote this post primarily for my Facebook timeline because I felt that was the most critical place to put it. That’s where the most vulnerable audience is.
I reproduce it in full below for posterity, please do comment here on the website if you like. Thanks…
Hi everyone. It’s been awhile! 🙂 I’m sorry, I do miss the connection here a little, but don’t take this as a signal that I have returned. Being as away as I have managed to be has been great and healthy though if we have lost touch please do PM me, or email, or phone or come by the house! I would love to hear from you and see you. However, I felt compelled and decided after much thought, that given that the official start of the Canadian Election is tomorrow (Wednesday), I should write in this space once to deliver a word of caution.