Hundreds turn out at Gore Park for Hamilton's climate strike and call for action
Drums, chants, colourful signs and a big blue elephant all a part of the Friday protest
Hundreds of people holding signs and chanting slogan flooded Gore Park in downtown Hamilton to demand action on climate change.
The climate strike rally is part of a youth-led movement inspired by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg that's kick started events around the world, including demonstrations in dozens of Canadian cities Friday.
Friday's For Future Hamilton organized the event that saw young and old take to the streets.
The drumming and chants are going strong. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HamOnt?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HamOnt</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/climatemarch?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#climatemarch</a> <a href="https://t.co/CIAxtNtXBz">pic.twitter.com/CIAxtNtXBz</a>—@CBCHamilton
Lily Mae Peters, one of the group's leaders, described the response as "mind-blowing" and challenged everyone in attendance to to action.
The group issued called on residents to help improve the way public transit works, clean up area waterways and avoid single-use plastics, improve Hamiltons' eco-friendly infrastructure, leave conservation areas and the Greenbelt alone and to do research on ways they can make changes to protect the environment in their own lives.
"You need to make a change through your actions," Peters shouted to cheers from the crowd.
Eight-year-old June Bridle attended the rally along with her brother, mother and grandmother.
The carefully-coloured sign she wore demanded people defend nature. It also included a drawing of her cat, Cougar.
"I want change," she said. "I want the world to be a better place."
Bridle's mom, Robin Parsons, said he decided to pull her two kids out of class Friday because she feels understanding about what's happening in the world is an important part of their education.
"It's their future," she said, adding she's been advocating for environmental protection for years. "I think it's really good for our kids to see other children making an impact in the world, to see that their voice means something."
Grandmother Colleen Harrison said she's proud three generations of her family participated in the event, but added she was especially encouraged by her grandchildren.
"They're the ones that are going to carry it on for us, so I think it's wonderful."
Jackson Hawley and his mother, Megan worked together on his sign, which read "MISSING SCHOOL TO MARCH FOR FACTS."
"At this point it's not grandchildren that I have to worry about it's my son's future that I have to worry about," Megan said, explaining why she chose to have her son skip school to attend.
Speeches, drum circles and someone on stilts were all part of the rally. There was even a giant blue elephant flanked by signs describing climate change as the real "elephant in the room."
Members of the Crown Point Garden Club came out with creative signs, including Susan Noakes who wore a hat ringed with paper flames and pigtails as a tribute to Thunberg.
"I think it's fantastic," she said, gesturing at the shouting crowd waving banners.
"It should happen every Friday until something happens."