Blog Contributor: Erica Harper
Photo: Master of Sustainability students taking part in St.Catharines Climate Strike on Friday, September 27, 2019.
Global Week for the Future took place from September 20th-27th internationally and featured strikes and marches around the globe to bring awareness to the climate crisis. The attendees included people from all ages who came in impressive numbers to show their disapproval with the direction in which citizens, governments and corporations have taken our planet. Most had signs made from recycled pizza boxes and Amazon packages with slogans such as “There is no planet B” and Greta Thunberg’s famous “How dare you?” line. Reading the signs was entertaining, intriguing and sometimes disturbing, but what really captivated me were the speeches at the St. Catharines strike.
This was my first march, protest or strike of any kind and I truly did not know what to expect, but I was excited to be attending with peers from my cohort in the Master of Sustainability program. On Friday morning we took our signs and made our way downtown to the St. Catharines library and were surprised by the number of people who came to rally together. It was a well-organized event with wonderful speeches from Indigenous women, community leaders, young students and people who felt compelled to speak up in the moment. With each speech that was delivered, I got more and more emotional about the challenges that we and future generations will face. That being said, the main message throughout the day was to look inwardly and do what you can in your own life to make small differences each and every day.
Although it can be quite overwhelming, climate strikes are an opportunity to have our voices heard by politicians and large organizations to prioritize our planet in their various agendas. That being said, a system change unfortunately takes longer than a personal change and it is important to self-reflect and see what we can alter in our personal lives to make our planet a greener place.
After my experience at my first Climate Strike, I am even more motivated to learn as much as possible about Sustainability Science to make my positive mark on this planet.