Cégep de l'Outaouais students march for climate justice
As leaders from around the world met in Glasgow, Scotland for the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) students from the Cégep de l’Outaouais walked the streets of Gatineau and Ottawa to hold the Canadian Government accountable to honour their climate action commitments, November 6. The student activists sent a clear message to the government that Canada must meet its commitments to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) to limit global warming to 1.5°C. “Around the world, young people and people are mobilizing for the environment. We wanted to do our part. It is our responsibility to ask our government to take the climate emergency seriously. We want less speech and more action!" Shared Katia Girouard a student at Cégep de l'Outaouais.
Through their mobilization students hope to make the Canadian government work towards implementing an international, national and local climate change action plan in order to meet the goal of not surpassing the 1.5°C target to mitigate the damage and suffering climate change has on the world and its most vulnerable populations. “Climate injustices and crises are multiplying and accelerating. Our government must play its part and respect its commitments," says Jeanne Ferland, a student at the Cégep de l'Outaouais.
Students and groups present marched to underscore their message that it is unacceptable for the Canadian government to not act resolutely in order to achieve GHG reduction and meet the target that it has committed to in the previous meetings. The evidence is undeniable, the sea levels are rising, air and water pollution are increasing, and extreme weather events are having a profound effect on the most vulnerable populations. “We know that big companies and oil lobbies are powerful and are mobilized. I think civil society also needs to mobilize so that our elected officials understand where the wind is blowing. And the wind is blowing in the direction of climate justice,” said Simon Gélinas, a student at the Cégep de l’Outaouais.
The march was organized as part of the World Day of Action for Climate Justice by the students in collaboration with their student associations, community organizations and local unions. COP26 is the 26th annual United Nations climate change conference where leaders from around the world come together and discuss how to best fight climate change. This year is unique as it marks the fifth year since the Paris Agreement, which was an agreement made with many countries around the world to commit to work together to limit global warming and aim for 1.5 degrees. In the agreement, they agreed to meet again every five years with an updated plan with the highest ambitions to fight climate change.