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Massive support expected for Friday’s general climate strike

 Activists call for action on climate change in Halifax last week. A general strike to highlight environmental concerns will be held Friday. - File
Activists call for action on climate change in Halifax last week. A general strike to highlight environmental concerns will be held Friday. - File

The organizers of student strikes for climate are expecting a huge turnout this week, not only in Halifax but also in communities across the Maritimes.

Julia Sampson and Willa Fisher say the proposed general strike Friday is the culmination of a week of activities to highlight the climate crisis.

The local activists, inspired by the internationally renowned teen Greta Thunberg, joined the global movement in organizing a number of strikes on Fridays to draw attention to the issue.

“In our past strikes, we’ve had a lot of people just marching with signs, which is really great, and chanting and stuff,” Fisher said in a telephone interview on Wednesday.

“And it’s going to be similar except that we’re going to have way more people this time. Before, we were expecting something around 1,000 but we’re expecting at least double that now, because Dalhousie has granted leave to their students — and so has NSCAD to their students.”

Route for Friday's protest march. The event starts at 11 a.m. at Halifax's Victoria Park: 

So many have spoken about coming that a total of 3,000 people wouldn’t be surprising, she said.

Participants are asked to come to the back side of Victoria Park for the 11 a.m. start because the front on Spring Garden at South Park is closed for safety concerns because it is near the site where a construction crane fell on a building during hurricane Dorian.

“Basically we’re going to start at Victoria Park, we’re going to go down to Nova Scotia Power, and we’re going to do a little die-in there, just to protest that Nova Scotia Power isn’t taking enough action on climate change.” Fisher said. “And then we’re going to go up to the legislature and we’re going to protest around there and do some chants, get mad at them, maybe we can do some speeches there if there’s any way that anybody can hear us. And then we’re going to go up to city hall and there’ll be a sound system there and we’re going to do most of the speeches there and spend the rest of the time there.”

Leading in to Friday, there’s a Party for the Planet on Thursday night, starting at 9 a.m. at the Granville Mall at Duke and Granville streets in Halifax.

In Nova Scotia, climate strike events are also planned to start aboard the tall ship Gulden Leeuw sailing out of Lunenburg, at the Intersection of Commercial and Marshall Streets in Middleton, at Civic Square in Truro, Carmichael Park in New Glasgow, Pictou County, 4130 University Ave. at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, and in front of the town hall in Sydney in the CBRM.

A global map of planned events is available here.

Joanna Bull, volunteer and community engagement co-ordinator at the Ecology Action Centre, said seeing the leadership coming from youth, especially young women, is “quite humbling” as well as inspiring.

“It’s happening all over the world and it’s something that it’s one of those quantum moments, I think, where in social movements sometimes something just sparks people. And people have been sparked all over the world, inspired by Greta (Thunberg), inspired by the school strikers everywhere.”

Fisher said no one can afford to be complacent.

“These strikes are the most important thing in the world right now and I want to send the message to any parent, grandparents or adults in general that if they don’t vote for climate then they might as well be killing their children.”

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