Climate rally at Capital Plaza aims for federal attention

Dozens gathered downtown Wednesday afternoon, demanding urgent action on climate change. Sept. 8, 2021. (CTV News Edmonton)

Dozens gathered downtown Wednesday afternoon, demanding urgent action on climate change.

Climate Justice Edmonton organized the rally to happen in conjunction with other demonstrations across Canada, in the hopes of catching the attention of federal leaders as they prepare to debate.

“They don’t want to face the existential fear. It’s easier to do nothing, to deny it, than to actually do something about it,” said Sydney Thiessen with Climate Justice Edmonton. “We need a real leader that’s actually going to take action."

After a summer of wildfires, extreme heat, and other climate impacts, advocates say climate action needs to be at the forefront of the political conversation in order to save the environment – and the economy.

“We are going to lose much more money trying to put a band aid over all of these disasters, than [if we are] proactive and spend the money that we need to now,” Thiessen said.

Climate Justice is calling for the federal government to place a moratorium on new fossil fuel expansion, and take advantage of where the COVID-19 pandemic has left industries.

“Our economy has shrunk in the last year with COVID, and this is a great opportunity for us to grow back into a green market. We can create a transition, we can retrain workers who are predominantly in the oil and gas sector to work in our green energy sector,” she said.

In addition, advocates want to see greater investment in public healthcare to address the health issues brought on by climate change, and federal protection for Indigenous rights and sovereignty.