On Friday, more than four million people in cities and towns across the globe marched in the streets for climate change. The #FridaysforFuture movement was started by 15-year old Greta Thunberg who sat in the Swedish parliament demanding action on climate change in 2018 using the revolutionary rally cry, “This is an emergency. Our house is on fire”.
Here in Kingston, the turnout was meagre—only a few hundred people turned out in the bright warm September sunshine to protest despite the global awakening and awareness on the devastating impacts of climate change.
In October, Canadians will go to the polls yet again in our next federal election. We are at a crossroads in history and yet, no one seems to be offering real change.
It’s time to we take a lesson from Frome. Situated on the banks of the Frome river in Somerset, England, a few years ago, the residents of Frome said enough. They met in a local pub and decided to run as independents in their next election. They won 10 seats on the 17-seat council. In 2015, they swept all 17 seats.
Adopting the philosophy of community and climate first, they’ve been able to transform their village. Their Share shop allows residents to borrow tools and gears at low rates. They started a community fridge, where people can donate food and garden produce, and they’ve opened shops dedicated to selling locally made goods that are environmentally friendly. The town recently raised $300,000 pounds to install solar panels on roofs.
In a powerful statement, the town residents have recently petitioned the British government to grant the River Frome the status of a person so it has rights.
Some are calling it the #MeToo Movement for Mother Nature. The goal is to ensure we respect and protect the natural world around us.
So what does all of this mean for us here in Canada? It means we are not doing enough to make real change.
Every day, fertile farmland is being developed for cookie cutter subdivisions. On Saturdays, we drive in our big cars to shop at Costco, the land of excess packaging and food shipped from thousands of miles. Those of us who are driving electric vehicles can’t find enough charging stations. We dump raw sewage into rivers and streams (unthinkable in 2019).
This week’s #HappyAct is not a happy act at all. It is a call to action. It’s time we make real change. If our politicians won’t be brave or strong enough to do it, it’s up to us.