This weekend, Climate March happened all over the world as restless citizens reminded their governments that they deeply care about the future of their planet. Here’s what we saw on the streets of Vancouver, British Columbia.
The family that protests together stays together. Image credit: Mika McKinnon
Vancouver’s Climate March happened at an interesting juncture for the country. After a decade of anti-science policies doing everything from muzzling public scientists to actively inhibiting research, the country is reeling with optimism that our newly-elected government will be different. The name-change of the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change provides hope that maybe for the first time in far too long, Canada will actually meaningfully participate in international collaborations to address the global problem. That’s the context in the north: with the 2015 Paris Climate Conference about to start, we want our government to remember they have the public support to go forth and take action.
You and me both, lady! Image credit: Mika McKinnon
The police I talked to informally estimated the turnout was approximately 4,500 people, but the crowd made up in enthusiasm what they lacked in numbers compared to other cities. Vancouver’s Climate March had the best soundtrack with marching bands, choirs, and even bagpipers mixed in with community action groups. Considering some of the city’s best events are political party fundraisers, it’s unsurprising our version of Climate March was a mobile dance party.
An orca whale and a tiger are just a few of the drummers keeping the march lively. Image credit: Mika McKinnon
Vancouver’s protesters are also shameless sign-swappers. While we captured portraits of some of our favourites, the signs didn’t necessarily start and end with the same people. The signs also morphed along the parade route: one of our local graffiti artists carried around a pair of stencils and cans of blue and green spray paint to add a weeping planet to signs that needed more graphical impact.
If we want to see change, it’s going to take all of us. Image credit: Dorien Gunnels
I don’t know if any of this will make a difference in creating meaningful changes in policy and society, but it reassures me what a diverse cross-section of people clearly care. The march had everyone from newborns to the aptly-named Raging Grannies sick of still protesting this same crap decades later, and First Nations to newly-arrived refugees. I bumped into more family, friends, and colleagues than I thought possible, and spotted even more familiar faces in photos that I missed in person. For all that climate change is an unclickable topic that everyone is sick of hearing about, people still care enough to give up a rare sunny weekend in the Pacific Northwest to politely, peacefully, and loudly demand change.
And this story was repeated all over the world. From the hundreds of silent shoes taking the place of the cancelled march in Paris to the endless crowds in Melbourne and London, people did their very best to make their voices heard. Now it’s time to see if the politicians will listen.
Did you attend a Climate March in your city? Share your photos with us!
Representatives from local First Nations groups opened the ceremonies, and welcomed the marchers onto their ancestral lands. Image credit: Mika McKinnon
Is hoping for real, committed action to address climate change a fantasy? Image credit: Dorien Gunnels
When will we decide the environmental cost of Alberta’s tar sands is too high? Image credit: Mika McKinnon
Have you seen how violent we get over hockey? Seriously, don’t frack with this country. Image credit: Mika McKinnon
Simple, yet true. Image credit: Mika McKinnon
We’re always dreaming of warmer climates in Canada, but this isn’t how we want to get them! Image credit: Mika McKinnon
It doesn’t take an elaborate sign to make your point. Image credit: Mika McKinnon
The Northern Passage moving from fantasy to a trade route is disturbing in so many ways. Image credit: Mika McKinnon
With over a thousand of exoplanets in the catalogue, we still haven’t found a second Earth. Image credit: Mika McKinnon
Care about social justice? You’d better care about climate justice! Image credit: Mika McKinnon
It’s only polite to live up to your national anthem. Image credit: Mika McKinnon
A fair wish for the holiday season! Image credit: Mika McKinnon
A full family of marchers! Image credit: Mika McKinnon
Good question. Disturbing, but good. Image credit: Mika McKinnon
Unmuzzled scientists for a better tomorrow. Image credit: Mika McKinnon
Blunt. Image credit: Dorien Gunnels
These two know what’s up and are thoroughly skeptical about further inaction. Image credit: Dorien Gunnels
Multi-generation protesting to remind everyone that economics requires being environmentally friendly enough that we’re all still alive. Image credit: Mika McKinnon
A spawn of salmon remind British Columbia that without careful management, the west coast could have a fisheries collapse just as bad as the one that’s decimated the eastern seaboard. Image credit: Dorien Gunnels
Wise advice. Image credit: Dorien Gunnels
Another multigenerational reminder that economics only gets so far without environmentalism. Image credit: Dorien Gunnels
Who will speak for the fish? Image credit: Dorien Gunnels
Need another reason to address our contribution to climate change? Image credit: Dorien Gunnels
In Vancouver, trombone is an instrument of social change. Image credit: Mika McKinnon
So many signs! So many ideas! Image credit: Mika McKinnon
Fish aren’t just important for jobs and food security: they play a fundamental role in traditional First Nations traditions. Image credit: Dorien Gunnels
Meet my mum, who took me to my first protest before I could walk, and me, following in her footsteps. Image credit: Dorien Gunnels