- The Montreal Climate Strike that took place on September 27th, 2019, is being lauded as the largest strike in provincial history.
- Half a million protesters descended on the city, demanding climate action.
- Here are the highlights. 🌎👇
If you were at the Montreal Climate Strike last Friday, you may be like me, and are wondering what you can do now. Now that the protest is over and we still have so far to go.
Unfortunately, I don't have those answers for you, though I am actively seeking them out for myself. I was one of the 500,000 people who marched down Parc and into downtown Montreal in the hopes that those with seemingly more power than us would use it towards our causes.
And with all the important federal party leaders present at one protest or another across the country, it would seem as if we had the government on our side.
Though that's not necessarily the cause, now is it? And even with an election right in front of us, it's not necessarily clear what the next move should be for those individuals that feel like something more needs to be done.
But that doesn't mean that what we have done isn't important or effective. It doesn't mean that we haven't already accomplished something by coming together the way we did...
Because if these pictures are any indication... we totally accomplished something. Something amazing.
This picture was taken just before noon, when thousands of strikers were already crowded around the Monument George Étienne-Cartier ready to march and demonstrate together.
People came from across the city and the province to stand behind the Indigenous youth who led the march along with Greta Thunberg.
Montreal truly comes alive in moments of united demonstration, and the sight of it is awe-inspiring in and of itself... not to mention people out there who are ready to act a fool to capture the experience. (Myself included.)
The young and the old came together
The kids were out in droves, of course, but that doesn't mean that our parents and grandparents weren't out there doing their part as well.
I know while I was out marching in Montreal, my dad was marching in my hometown of Mississauga, so while the youth are leading this movement, there are totally older generations who are on board.
Elizabeth May rolled up in a Tesla
The Green Party leader know how to roll up in style. She was also there around 10:30, long before the march began, toting along a reusable coffee mug - no fake straw this time, she promised me.
The Lorax made an appearance...
It makes sense that the Lorax found himself a central figure of the climate change protest, considering his wisdom on the importance of conservation, particularly on behalf of the trees.
Even the police were in the spirit
Many cops who were present to maintain publix safety did their share by using bikes! I also spoke with an officer who had left his car running and they came around and turned it off.
The sign game was very strong
Some people just brought one sign...
While others brought a lot.
Like a whole lot....
Extinction Rebellion brought signs to go around, and even hosted a Funeral for our Future, complete with a band and coffin.
Don't worry, lots of people recycled
I saw countless political posters that were used to create protest signs... while this is not legal, at a protest anything goes, so I support this.
Translation: We aren't waiting for 2034
Translation: Waiting for the end of the world
There were a bunch of amazing recycled creations and people used household objects to highlight the major issues we have with waste in our current society.
Many people made beautiful creations of art
Also recycled, these protest signs are more than just posters, they are works of art that also speak to the message of reducing greenhouse gases and deforestation.
Some people got political
Translation: Pipeline to the rescue!
It's no surprise that Trudeau took some significant hits when it came to poster board inspiration, even if he did show up at the march to participate.
Trudeau and Legault were both very present
Translation: Legault, Climatau-Sceptique
Translation: I hope Legault knows how to swim...
And it definitely wasn't just Trudeau that faced criticism by way of being featured on a poster.
Quebec's premier François Legault also faced his fair share of mockery via strike sign.
Some signs were hot
The idea that the planet or climate being hotter than [x person], or that we went overboard with Hot Girl Summer, isn't a particularly unique idea but... it's still hilarious, so there are points for that.
Others were straight-up sexy
Translation: Pipelines are like sex, not without consent.
Some people went for the tried-and-true method: sex always gets people's attention.
With the potential for word play with both heat and the planet being fucked, there's just no way the sex angle wouldn't get used.
Plus, that last one gets in the added angle of going vegan as a fantastic way to easily reduce your carbon footprint.
Sometimes it was just about the butt
Or, alternatively, food.
There is something so beautiful in the simplicity of this sign, I couldn't help but include it.
Some people focused on hope
Translation: A tree today, a forest tomorrow
There weren't a lot of hopeful signs, like this little message written on a portable garden... but there was hop in the energy of the people.
Which you could see in the inevtiable sense of humour.
But there was still a sense of humour
The Uranus joke was also one that seemed done a couple times, but again, it's fantastic. Unless you're a Taurean and you don't appreciate this attack on your home planet...
And satire was king
Of course, satire is the weapon of choice when it comes to political protest, so it was truly delightful to see so many young people sticking it to the man with good, old-fashioned satire.
The voice of the youth was heard... and seen
You could feel the youth of the crown through the signs, too. From mentions of popular culture to memes, this protest was full of puns and plays on words that come straight from my fellow youths and it feels so good.
(Please note the Aqua mention above.)
Pop culture was used to protest
Montrealers were seriously creative in their approach to making protest signs, which made being in the crowd so much more empowering and exciting.
You never knew what kind of joke, pun or punch to the man you were going to see.
Even the introverts came
Sure, big crowds are unsettling... and did anyone else go home with a wicked sunburn?
But even the introverts and anxious came out, showing just how stressful this global issue is.
In every language
Of course, you were able to find signs in both French and English.
Translation: We're not at Occupation Double, we don't have two homes.
But there was Spanish, too...
Translation: The climate will change us forever.
And Swedish, as well...
This sign "Thanks Greta" in English, French and Swedish.
The love for Greta was real
At the end of the rally, the crowd shouted their support to the young climate activist, who helped bring so many people out in our city.
There were countless signs that demanded we Make Earth Greta Again, and quoted the young activist.
Nothing was quite as powerful as that massive portrait of Greta as Joan of Arc, which stood nearly as tall as the woman holding it.
A couple signs did have some advice, though...
It wasn't all jokes and memes. Just as some signs got political, other got personal, and made real suggestions for every day people to consider. Many suggested a vegan lifestyle.
Translations: Online shopping makes up 15% of greenhouse gases.
Others demanded a more systematic change, from politics to economics.
Translation: The #1 Enemy is not one of the elements of the system, but the system itself. Could we live in a system where profit is not the fundamental pillar of society? Happiness, health, environment? YES. Another world is possible.
And several people made a point of calling out big oil companies, from Exxon to different pipeline companies, and the institutions we frequent who invest in big oil, like our universities.
So while it might not be crystal clear what we're supposed to do next, there are a couple suggestions out there.
And at this point, anything you do helps. Just trying is more than we've been doing.
Don't forget you also have the power of your vote - and the power of your voice when you find out whoever got voted into your riding.
Call them. Tell them you stand with the 500,000 people who marched in Montreal on Friday, September 27th, 2019, and that you demand change, action and a way forward.