Friday For Future hosts sit-in at downtown Toronto intersection protest climate change

Sep 29, 2020 | News

Teen activists across Toronto joined the global day of climate action on Sept. 25, 2020. (Melanie Valente-Leite)

“The government isn’t doing enough,” Emma French, an 18-year-old activist said.

“It’s a long process, but it needs to get done. I want change.”

On Sept. 25, 2020, Friday For Future TO held a protest in the heart of a busy commercial area to demand their voices.

Protesters sat across the intersection of Bay Street and Wellesley Street with designated spots to prevent overcrowding.

Friday for Future, a global youth movement, decided on this location so the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks may hear them through the windows as their buildings are adjacent to the streets.

One of FFFTO’s main goal was to call for a global response from world leaders about the COVID-19 pandemic, to guarantee a just recovery plan for a more sustainable future.

“We are the generation that will be in danger if we don’t do anything right now,” Laura Hernandez, a volunteer at FFFTO, said.

“It’s crucial that Canada continues to stay committed to the climate.”

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke in Parliament last month, he said the government has the opportunity to “reset their priorities” and focus on Canada going green.

The excitement was soon abandoned after the Ontario Government delivered its throne speech on Sept. 23.

Activists were not happy by the neglect of Canada’s environmental issues and request the government revisit their recovery plan to include more sustainable ideas.

The throne speech, delivered by Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, outlined the government’s plan for Ontario after the economic hit resulting from COVID.

“The first foundation of the government’s approach is protecting Canadians from COVID-19,” Payette said.

“This is priority number one.”

Although COVID cases continue to increase, FFFTO will carry on with its protests and sit-ins until a change is in effect.

FFFTO was clear on preventing the spread of COVID as volunteers walked around, providing hand sanitizer and ensuring masks were mandatory so that protesters and bystanders may remain safe.

Toronto police were also in attendance and temporarily closed the streets, surround the protesters, and implement social distancing.

“It’s particularly important for youth because the rest of their lives depend on what we do now. They rely on all of us to change so that they’ll have a decent future.” Tony Rapoport, a member of Toronto350, a climate action organization, said.