Sudbury’s youth climate activists head to court

Fridays For Future Sudbury marked the fourth anniversary of climate activist Greta Thunberg’s first school strike on Friday, as its members prepare to take their case to court.

The press conference, held among the trees behind Salute Coffee Company on Armstrong Street on August 26, served as a moment of reflection for the city’s young climate activists to recognize how far they have come looking to the future. do.

This year, they wanted to ask a question: what does freedom mean in the Anthropocene?

The question comes from the lyrics of Nick Mulvey’s song ‘In the Anthropocene’, which Sudbury climate activist Sophia Mathur, 15, said she first heard while attending COP26 in Glasgow in the fall 2021.

« My parents and I heard the song at the pharmacy and we really like it, » she said. « We love the message of the Anthropocene, in this world we’ve created, with the way we’ve treated our world, what does our freedom mean? »

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The Anthropocene is an unofficial unit of geologic time used to describe the most recent period in Earth’s history when human activity began to have a significant impact on the planet’s climate and ecosystem.

This question of what freedom looks like in this time is the basis of this year’s event.

For Mathur, it’s about changing our perspective: “We want (the) freedom to feel safe. We want people to think, what does your freedom mean? What is it to feel free in this world? Free from climate change and free from the fear of climate change? »

For young activists, freedom in the Anthropocene means a number of things they hope to achieve: freedom for children around the world who fear for the future; the freedom to enjoy nature and wildlife; the freedom for people around the world to feel the effects of climate change; and the freedom to be alive.

Sharon Roy, a member of the Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury, told him that means being able to enjoy the greenery of the city.

“We have incredible green spaces in Sudbury that we really need to work to preserve,” she said. « I thought it was no small irony that recently we celebrated the planting of the 10 millionth tree, when the future of Laurentian University’s green space is still uncertain (due to financial restructuring of the school).

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She added: « I want to thank the children for raising these issues, bringing them to everyone’s attention and doing so much hard work over many years to help us try to turn things around. . »

As the group worked at the grassroots level, Mathur, along with other young climate activists, is preparing to take his fight for climate justice to the courts.

On September 12, the Mathur et. Al.’s case against the Ontario government will go to trial, two years after a judge denied a motion to dismiss their complaint. Mathur and his colleagues are calling for mandatory orders tied to the province’s greenhouse gas reduction targets, arguing that current targets are insufficient to address climate change.

“We use our rights to fight for a viable future for all,” she said.

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Over the next year, Mathur said the group will focus on convincing the City of Greater Sudbury to sign the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, a global initiative proposing a phase-out of existing fossil fuel production. fossil fuels and a transition to renewable energies and other low-carbon solutions.

During the press conference, Greater Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger, who is seeking re-election, said he supports the idea of ​​the city signing the treaty, but made no firm commitment.

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« Support for the non-proliferation treaty is something that I think aligns very well with the direction the council has gone in and fully supported, » he said.

Bigger also reiterated some of the city’s future climate goals, including achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and building a new zero carbon facility to house local nonprofits as part of the Junction East project.

Like his fellow activists, Mathur is too young to vote in the October municipal elections. Although she said she was thrilled to hear Bigger’s support for their work, they have higher priorities throughout the campaign.

« When it comes to climate change, what we want to see is cooperation, » she said. “No matter who gets elected, we always want to see climate action. We always want to see them talking about it. – proliferation of fossil fuels.

Their presentation included a rendition of « Somewhere Over the Rainbow », sung by YES Theater’s Maryn Tarini, as well as the start of a new dance to the song that inspired their theme, « In the Anthropocene » by Nick Mulvey.

Fridays For Future Sudbury also invites young Sudburyers and anyone passionate about climate change to join them on the morning of Friday, September 23 to take part in the Global Day of Action. The event will take place at Founders Square at Laurentian University.

© 2022 The Canadian Press


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