More than 1,000 Vancouverites filled the CBC Plaza on Sunday, joining hundreds of thousands more around the world as 125 world leaders prepare to converge on New York City Tuesday in an historic UN summit on climate change.
Rallies are underway or have happened in New York City, London, Berlin, Paris, Rio, Toronto and Seattle. More than 2,000 events were registered in more than 130 countries.
The Vancouver event, which was billed as the People's Climate March, saw crowds gathering in the plaza prior to marching through downtown Vancouver. Organizers provided music and DJs, which helped contribute to the event's largely festive mood.
People's call to action
Rally participants say they hope this kind of worldwide support will move nations closer to global agreements to reduce greenhouse gas pollution.
Eoin Madden, the climate campaigner for the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, said Canadians have been far too easy on their politicians when it comes to that issue.
"Especially next year being a federal election time, start demanding climate leadership from your representative," he said. "Start asking them what are they going to do on climate? What's their party position on climate?"
Madden says people in the Vancouver area should be concerned about efforts to start expand coal, gas and oil industries along the coast.
One of the rally's organizers, Shirley Samples, said in a news release that as a port, the city "stands as an important gateway for a flood of oil, coal and LNG that would contribute substantially to increasing CO2 emissions to record levels."
Samples also criticized Prime Minister Stephen Harper's decision to skip the summit.
"The fact that our own prime minister is not attending this summit underlines the need for Canadians to take to the streets to send a clear message to Mr. Harper: 'Canadians understand climate change and we know that you have us on the wrong path'," she said.