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Thousands are gathering in Ottawa to protest against the global climate strike



Thousands gathered in downtown Ottawa on Friday on a global climate march.

Taylor Blewitt

Over 5000 people gathered in downtown Ottawa on Friday to take part in the Global Climate Strike to raise awareness about global warming.

The strike is one of many planned youth protests in Canada as part of a week of youth protests around the world.

In Ottawa, the march began in Confederation Park and ended in Parliament Hill.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and other civil servants joined the march.

The largest school board in Ottawa, Algonquin College and the University of Ottawa all gave a partial blessing to students who left school and went on strike.

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board said that while it would not organize field trips for students, students would not be punished for leaving school and teachers were asked to "get insight into planning important grades on September 27."

"We want our students to become citizens around the world who model ethical leadership and are ready to find innovative solutions to solve the problems of tomorrow," said the board in a statement.

The University of Ottawa encouraged students to attend, although classes were held as usual.

"The University of Ottawa is in solidarity with this global student-led movement," the university said in a statement. "UOttawa supports students' involvement in the democratic process as well as in evidence-based policy making. We understand that urgent steps need to be taken to reduce global carbon emissions to ensure a safe future for today's young people, because there is overwhelming scientific evidence that anthropocentric climate change is a reality and that without real change it will only get worse. "

In Algonquin, classes were held as usual, but the university asked lecturers to admit students who were "participating in this historic event."

"Many schools, upper secondary schools, businesses and concerned citizens around the world will stop to consider our collective responsibility for the environment," said President Claude Brulé in a statement.

"I firmly believe that we must listen to the voice of our students and take their opinions into account; many tell us that they want to express their support for this matter. I also believe that it is important for our students to be involved in the democratic process and that our College decisions should be based on our values: care, learning, honesty and respect. "

The strikes were inspired by Greta Thunberg, a fierce 16-year-old from Sweden, who contributed to the creation of the global movement.

A year ago, Thunberg left school and sat alone protesting in front of the Swedish parliament saying there was no point in going to school when the planet was in danger.

Today Thunberg is a global environmental star, adored by millions of young people and ridiculed by President Donald Trump.

He will give a passionate speech to world leaders, asking why they do business as usual in the face of a global warming disaster. "I don't want your hope," she told the World Economic Forum in Davos in a speech that became popular. "I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear that I feel every day. And then I want you to act. I want you to behave like during a crisis. I want you to behave as if the house was on fire. Because it is. "

On Friday, Thunberg spoke to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau before addressing the striking climate in this city.

"The climate crisis is an emergency, but we don't act like that," says a website dedicated to the global climate strike. "People around the world are at risk if we allow oil, coal and gas companies to pour more fuel into the fire."

Organizers are calling for a quick transition from fossil fuels that produce greenhouse gases and heat the planet.

Local organizers planned strikes in 150 countries between 20 and 27 September, with most of them taking place on two Fridays in recognition of Thunberg's "Fridays for Future", a series of student strikes around the world to raise environmental awareness.

The week "aims to inspire people around the world to demand that world leaders take action to avoid the devastating and irreversible effects of climate change," the website said.

jmiller@postmedia.com

twitter.com/JacquieAMiller


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