Calgary

Climate activist Greta Thunberg says she is coming to Alberta

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg will travel to Alberta after a series of appearances in the United States.

No dates or specific locations have been announced

Climate change teen activist Greta Thunberg will visit Alberta in the near future. (Andrej Ivanov/Reuters)

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg will travel to Alberta after a series of appearances in the United States.

Thunberg made the announcement on Twitter Saturday, one day after speaking at a rally in Denver, Colorado.

Thunberg has not announced specific locations or dates for her visit to the province.

CBC News reached out to the province to inquire whether Premier Jason Kenney or any ministers would entertain meetings with Thunberg, to which the office issued the following statement:

"We trust that Ms. Thunberg will recognize Alberta's leading human rights and environmental standards, especially in comparison to oil-producing dictatorships such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela – which she will presumably visit next – as well as major growing emitters like China," the statement reads.

Lee Todd, spokesperson for the NDP Caucus, expressed his party's disappointment with provincial climate policy in a statement.

"It's profoundly disappointing that just one year ago, Greta could have seen a nation-leading climate plan that cut emissions by 50 megatonnes and supported working people producing responsible oil and gas," Todd wrote. "Today, she will see a government in denial, funding a $30-million attack machine to shut down the voices of the next generation demanding a cleaner future."

Todd wrote that previous climate initiatives led by youth had not been received properly by provincial representatives.

"When these youth came to our Legislature, they were mocked by the Premier's own staff who trolled them with signs in their windows rather than actually engaging them on this critical issue of climate change," he wrote. "If Ms. Thunberg requests a meeting, we will always consider it."

The announcement comes a few weeks after Thunberg spoke to a massive crowd in Montreal, estimated at half a million. 

There, she called for world leaders to take concrete action on climate change, adding that protests should continue until changes were implemented.

"We are not in school today, you are not at work today, because this is an emergency, and we will not be bystanders," Thunberg said during the rally, which took place Sept. 27.

Thunberg also met with Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau while in Montreal, telling him that the Canadian government was not doing enough to fight climate change.

Trudeau, speaking Sunday to reporters in Toronto, was asked whether he had any concerns for Thunberg's safety in the province.

"I am concerned, in general, with the polarization we've seen in this election," he said.

Local reaction

News of Thunberg's upcoming visit to Alberta was met with strong reactions on social media.

Priya Mignault with Fridays for Future Calgary — a local chapter of the larger movement inspired by Thunberg — said she has been attending climate strikes since March.

"She was the only person striking last year, but now there's millions, which I think is incredible," Mignault said. "I definitely think it was about time. All of us youth really needed a leader, and I think Greta just happened to be that."

Mignault said she hoped that Thunberg was aware of Alberta's context as an oil and gas industry.

"A whole lot of Albertans make their money on that and that's how a lot of Albertans are fed. So I hope she considers that," she said. "But I'm aware that a lot of us who are climate activists are trying to push for renewable energies and transition away from oil and gas."

Priya Mignault with Fridays for Future Calgary said she was very enthusiastic about Thunberg's upcoming visit. (Helen Pike/CBC)

Calgary resident Evan Kayne said he hoped those working in the oil and gas industry would use Thunberg's visit as an opportunity to learn.

"Oil and gas is not going to go away overnight, but we need to find a better way," he said. "Screaming about it, blaming a 16-year-old and getting angry at a 16-year-old girl for saying, 'The emperor has no clothes' is not the way to handle things."

With files from Helen Pike

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