Featuring the words of the speakers at the Toronto area “March to End Fossil Fuels.”
There are so many ways we need each other’s skills, care, and contributions. In family, in community - and to address the climate crisis.
That is a lofty goal! So, where do we begin?
“Whether it’s the heartbreak of mass community evacuations - too often Indigenous. Whether it’s…our fallen firefighters or whether it’s one little boy in BC who loses his life to uncontrolled asthma triggered by a wildfire, all the dots connect back to fossil fuels.“ - Dr Mili Roy MD, Ontario Regional Co-chair CAPE and Co-chair OCEC
Yes, it’s clear, to face the enormity of the crisis - we must ditch fossil fuels. But we’re pitted against the powerful threat of the industry itself.
“As wildfire smoke clogs our air, the fossil fuel industry is making record profits. As climate disasters strike around the world…our government is getting lobbied by the industry driving this crisis, up to six times a day.” - Zoe Keary-Matzner, Fridays for Future Toronto
Photo Credit @brendanmillerphoto
Meanwhile, more and more disasters show the critical need for a healthier, equitable and safer world.
“In Derna, in Libya, at least 20,000 people have died as a result of flooding last week…out of a city of 90,000 people, entire neighbourhoods flooded away. “
“They say to us that our deaths…around the world are happening because of the failures of our infrastructure. As if this climate has not been ruined by centuries of extraction of fossil fuels that have been burned and pumped into the atmosphere.” - Syed Hussan, Migrant Workers Alliance for Change
Up against these wealthy foes and disastrous impacts, we simply cannot handle this alone.
“So, what do we do? We organize…We talk about the alternatives to the bleak future our government wants to lead us to. We work for a better, more just world with our family, our friends, and neighbours…” - Tim Gray, Environmental Defence Canada
Photo Credit @mikalogue
This is exactly what happened in mid-September, when people of all ages and walks of life - from Climate Justice U of T to Seniors for Climate Action Now! came together to organize the March to End Fossil Fuels. Over 80 groups, including the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario and Noor Cultural Centre, endorsed and supported the event.
We came together to stand for climate justice, acknowledging the leadership of Indigenous nations.
“This settler colonial government has been allowed to run wild in their resource extraction on stolen land since contact and the Land Alliance [five First Nations from Northern Ontario] is making a historic stand against extraction projects destroying their territories, land and water and as usual their land defence and political courage is a rising tide that lifts us all closer to climate action and land back and it is where some of the greatest wins have been.” - Maya Menezes, Stand.earth, speaking about the Land Alliance
Photo Credit @mikalogue
We came together to stand for climate justice – economic, social, and environmental justice - acknowledging the experience of those most impacted.
“Each year 100s of millions of migrants around the world are pushed out of our homes. Not because of extreme weather events but because of the slow destruction of our communities as the air changes above us, as the land changes below us, as the water turns…. So we come here displaced because of the climate catastrophe, working in climate affected communities but denied the basic rights everyone else enjoys.”
Yet, “to change everything, we need everyone…. If you are here today, that means your boss will not deport you for joining a demonstration. If you are here today, that means you can feed your families enough to take time off to be here. …when nearly 2 million people are denied that power, we are all weaker….” - Syed Hussan
Photo at left by @brendanmillerphoto
We came together to stand for climate justice, “to question 11 million dollars per minute subsidizing the global fossil industry. To question our banks using our money to fund giant corporations which push our governments to keep fossils flowing. To question how only 25 fossil companies produced over half of all greenhouse gas emissions since 1988 and including Exxon who knew and suppressed the massive risks…because we don’t have to live this way, we can do better.” - Dr Mili Roy MD
In a recent example of our collective impact when we question the powers that be, the people of Ontario convinced Ford to keep his hands off the greenbelt. This win took every tactic, from rallies to lawn signs to the auditor general’s report. It took everyone, across the province - united.
Perhaps we can do the same thing to end fossil fuels? After all, food systems, water, air, and health are also at stake in this fight. Corporate greed is a common enemy. Fossil fuels are actually not essential - just like building homes in the greenbelt.
“Clean energy solutions are now cheaper then fossil fuels. The barriers to implementing are powerful, they’re political, they’re entrenched, but they’re also artificial and that’s our opportunity to overcome.” - Dr Mili Roy MD
The fight for a healthy world is far from over. It’s not over for those in Libya or for First Nations here in Canada. Ultimately, no-one and nothing is immune to the mounting impacts of fossil fuels - not our bodies, our pocketbooks, or our communities.
And so, we need each other more than ever, as we come together to end fossil fuels!
Photo Credit: Corey Helm
- compiled by Colleen Lynch, on behalf of the “March to End Fossil Fuels” Toronto area organizing coalition