A small group of demonstrators disrupted traffic in downtown Victoria on Saturday as they aimed to convey the urgency of climate change’s impacts.
The group impeded traffic at the intersection of Fort and Douglas streets starting at noon and demonstrators switched the direction they blocked every couple of minutes to allow vehicles to pass. Victoria police officers helped facilitate traffic.
“I have two children and I’m terrified for what’s coming for them,” said Kelly Schaecher, while blocking the intersection and holding a banner that read “we are at a crossroads.”
She said Canada is way behind when it comes to addressing climate change and needs to catch up with what other nations are doing. Schaecher added that delaying action on reducing emissions won’t benefit industrial workers, and instead said it would be to the detriment of those who work in the oil and gas sector.
Extinction Rebellion, in a news release, pointed to the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s sixth report, released on Aug. 6, and called on the world to cut emissions by more than 50 per cent by 2030. The report, which drew from 14,000 scientific studies, said human actions are unequivocally causing the atmosphere, land and oceans to warm.
“We would rather not be causing disruption, but we feel obliged to do so in order to avoid the enormous disruptions that climate change brings,” the Extinction Rebellion release said. “In B.C., the most predictable of these includes increasingly devastating wildfires, drought, heat domes, inundation of major parts of the Lower Mainland caused by sea-level rise and the displacement of British Columbians caused by these events.”
The group is demanding climate action from all levels of government and specifically called out B.C. and the feds for moving forward with natural gas and oil sands bitumen projects, respectively.
“We believe civil disobedience is an appropriate response to the irreversible destruction of a stable climate, and the possible extinction of up to a million plant and animal species,” the release said. “We welcome people dedicated to the principles of peaceful non-violent action to join us as we continue demanding the change that is required.”
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