People from all over Toronto gathered this past Friday to raise more awareness about the climate change issue, by opening opening a dialogue into different perspectives associated with it.
As part of #Fridays for Future, also known as the Global Youth Climate Strike, over two hundred people convened near the University of Toronto’s Hart House at lunchtime. The university’s own #Friday’s for Future team joined other groups in activities around the campus.
Fridays for Future was founded by Swedish student-activist Greta Thunburg. Thunberg, 16, gained attention on social media after using school time to stage a sit-in in front of the Swedish Parliament building. The teenager hoped to gain the Swedish government’s attention, while promoting taking a more active role in deterring climate change.
Since August 20, 2018, students from over 150 countries have joined Thunburg’s cause by leaving school on Fridays and engaging in acts of activism. The largest demonstration worldwide occurred last Friday.
Jenny McQueen, a native of Liverpool, England, has been in Canada for about twenty years, and has committed much of that time to raising awareness for issues associated with animal cruelty. While handing out fliers on the lawn of Hart House, McQueen said there is a link between climate change and how animals are treated.
“I choose to not eat any animal products, whether it’s fish, dairy, [or] eggs,” she said, sporting a Go Vegan shirt and holding up a sign with an animal on it which reads “I need your voice”.
McQueen, in partnership with Be Fair Be Vegan, attended the Fridays for Future event and was talking with visitors.
“People’s health is affected by the animals, never mind the fact that the animals don’t want to die,” McQueen told the Toronto Observer. She spokes of how certain animal farming methods have contributed to destroying the planet.
“We’re talking about a mass extinction happening already. Birds are disappearing. Cattle grazing is responsible for wild animals basically being slaughtered and trapped in the wild. Animals themselves are made to cause climate gas, methane is produced by urban animals.”
John McCain, a filmmaker originally from Canada’s east coast, attended the Fridays for Future event. McCain visited the area during his free time to learn more.
“The only protests regarding climate change that I’ve heard of in the past few years have been these student walkouts, and the fact that they are taking point on this is really humbling, really inspiring,” McCain said.
Although McCain is inspired by the youth raising awareness on climate change, he still expresses some reservations about taking his own steps to deter it.
“I recycle, but that’s about it. I think climate change is a systemic problem, we’re all kind of complicit in it,” he said. “I am by no means solving this problem out here.”
McCain is deeply concerned with society’s inaction towards deterring climate change.
“It’s gotta be the greatest threat to humanity ever, right? I mean, if we don’t do something really dramatic in the next fifty years it’s potentially an extinction level event. So yeah, it’s a big deal.”