Manitoba students walk out of class to call for climate action
Student classroom strike part of global student protest
Hundreds of Manitoba student climate activists walked out of class and stood in the rain on the steps of the Legislative Building to demand the government action to curb global warming.
"Our futures are at risk right now," said Lena Andres, one of the student protesters. "These young people here, we don't have the right to vote at the moment. We're all too young to vote. So we're using our power, leaving school because we believe that our future is in jeopardy and we feel that we have a right to a future."
The students have three principal demands for the city and provincial governments. They want the City of Winnipeg to declare a state of climate emergency and to implement a ban on single-use plastics.
They also want the provincial government to declare support for Bill C-69, the federal environmental assessment legislation, which has been stalled in the Senate.
Friday's event was part of the Global Student Strike for Climate, one of a series of weekly walkouts by students across the globe. The strike action was conceived by Swedish teenager and climate activist Greta Thunberg, who stopped going to school and began sitting outside of Swedish parliament in protest over what she viewed as a lack of action to combat human-caused climate change.
As many as a million students around the world participated in the walkout on Friday, said Andres.
"It's impossible to ignore and we are getting things done," she said.
As evidence of the global movement's success, Andres pointed to the recent United Kingdom declaration of a state of climate emergency, and the growing number of jurisdictions that have implemented bans on single-use plastics.