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Climate rally demands action

Local protest joins international Fridays for Future movement.
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Climate rally
A protest urging governments to act on climate change was held outside Thunder Bay city hall on Friday, March 15, 2019. (Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com)

THUNDER BAY -- Local advocates are adding their voices to a global chorus calling on governments to take action against climate change.

A group of about 50 people gathered outside Thunder Bay city hall on Friday afternoon, joining the Fridays for Future movement that intends ro raise awareness about climate issues.

Carolyn Marelli-Dill, one of the organizers of the protest, said it's important for governments to realize the power of the people.

"We're doing this to try to call the governments to action - municipal, provincial - to make some movements on carbon emissions," Marelli-Dill said. "My biggest thing is you have to think global and act local. Just urging local businesses to reduce their single-use impacts and small movements."

Marelli-Dill pointed to Kingston becoming the first Ontario municipality last week to declare a "climate emergency" as an example of something that local advocates could encourage Thunder Bay politicians to consider.

The Fridays for Future movement began in Sweden last year when 15-year-old Greta Thunberg protested outside the country's national legislature, urging leaders reduce greenhouse gas emissions to align with the Paris Agreement. 

Maya Bishop, another organizer, said this was the first Fridays for Future gathering in Thunder Bay but the plan is to hold a demonstration at least once a month.

"As our group forms and comes together more often we'll be able to create a more concrete plan we can ask them to implement surrounding our climate future," Bishop said.

Bishop identified the protection of Lake Superior as a significant local priority.

"It's a massive body of water that if it gets polluted, then there are some dire consequences," Bishop said. "Some things that are happening with the rising of temperatures are massive algal blooms in the lake."

Marelli-Dill said it's important to start the conversation about climate change locally.

"We need to be creating stewards of the environment. The second that somebody cares about the environment is when they want to make a change," Marelli-Dill said. "It's important. It's critical and it's happening now. It's an emergency and it needs to be treated as such."





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