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Climate change rallies held across Maritimes

Dozens of people gathered in the streets in communities across the Maritimes, part of the hundreds of climate change marches happening across the globe today.

Marches come two days before the United Nations Climate Summit on Tuesday

Protesters make signs ahead of the rally in Sydney, Cape Breton (Wendy Martin/CBC)

Dozens of people gathered in the streets in communities across the Maritimes, part of the hundreds of climate change marches happening across the globe today.

There were rallies in Halifax, Fredericton, Moncton, Charlottetown, Sydney — and many other communities across the country.

The marches come two days before the United Nations Climate Summit on Tuesday, which is aimed at galvanizing political will for a new global climate treaty by the end of 2015.

It's meant to send a message to 125 government leaders who will be meeting at the United Nations on Sept. 23 for a one-day climate summit.

About 40 people in Charlottetown gathered in front of the province's legislature Sunday. (Robyn Miller/CBC)

About 40 people in Charlottetown gathered in front of the province's legislature Sunday.

Eliza Starchild Knockwood was at the rally in Charlottetown.

"As a Mi'kmaq woman, it's my inherent responsibility to be a protector of the earth, and the waters, and to think of the next generations to come after me … So it's part of who I am and today is a very significant, special day," she says.

In Sydney, Cape Breton, about 50 people took part in the rally.

Ashlee Cunsolo Willox, a professor at Cape Breton University, was one of the hosts of Sunday's event.

"When you're living in a place like Cape Breton, to feel connected … and to really feel part of that larger event, and to then maybe feel empowered that we can all do something that we're not in this alone and we're not in isolation," she says.

Cunsolo Willox says it's easy for people to feel powerless when faced with a global crisis.

But she says people can make a difference by making changes to their own energy consumption, and calling on governments to take action

"You think, 'Wow I'm just one person, or we're just one community,' but I think we have to remember that there is hope. There are so many individuals and organizations who are doing such exciting and innovative work, that if we can all work together and leverage that, that there are things we can do, that this isn't a gloom and doom scenario — it's a strength and a hope scenario," she says.

One of the largest marches took place in New York city. Tens of thousands of people jammed the streets of the big apple to demand action on climate change.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will not be attending the United Nations climate summit. His office says Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq will represent Canada at the New York meeting.

With files from The Canadian Press

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