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'We need to go further': One year since Thunberg's Climate Strike in Montreal

MONTREAL (CityNews) – At this time last year, the world spotlight was on Montreal as youth demanded action to fight climate change.

On Sept. 27, 2019, half a million people joined activist Greta Thunberg for a climate strike, marching in the streets of Montreal.

“People as far as you can see and being at the front of that it was crazy there was a lot of tears and smiles because we had worked for months,” Emma Lim, an activist with Climate Strike Canada. She is also a McGill student.

Thunberg met with Canadian politicians who made promises but the students behind the movement say government action over the last year falls short.

“We organized the biggest protest in the history of the country how is it that no government pays attention when it comes to policy? It’s really discouraging and shows us we need to go further,”

Albert Lalonde, co-spokesperson with Ceves Climate Action Group told CityNews.

They had planned to up the pressure last spring but then COVID-19 hit.

“The pandemic has shown us that a lot of things we thought were impossible like working remotely are completely possible and very easy to enact. We kind of have a moment here where we don’t have to go back to the way things were,” said Lim.

McGill University is working on a project with the National Film Board called Pivot to inspire businesses to use the pandemic as an opportunity to come back greener.

“We’re suddenly realizing that systems can change, things can be different and we just need to press forward and make those changes,” Dror Etzion, associate professor at the Desautels faculty of management at McGill University told CityNews.

“(It’s) an opportunity for reimagination, rethinking the way we do things and a lot of them are alined with climate and sustainability issues.”

Students will be marking the anniversary with a protest on Saturday joining forces with the Black Lives Matter and migrant rights movements. Climate strikes are also planned across the country on Sept. 25.

“For sure there’s going to be people protesting and striking in the future as long as this is not solved,” said Lalonde.

“This generation is seeing things differently – I imagine there will be dramatic changes as to how societies are run and I’m looking forward to it I just hope it will happen quickly because we’re running out of time,” Etzion added.