The culmination of Toronto’s Global Climate Strike on Friday September 27, 2019 made history. 20,000 demonstrators flooded downtown Toronto with a dazzling array of colourful, often witty, some devastating posters, vowing to stay the course in the battle with corporate society gone mad in a race to destroy the planet.
Here are a few of my highlights (please forgive heads and banners cut off!). I was astounded at the creativity both in image and word. I managed to scribble down 80 (more or less). Not quite Mao’s hundred, but i’m sure I missed at least 80 more.
Leading the march were #FridaysforFuture, S27 Coalition Demands and #Climatestrike
Students were the large majority with parents supporting them:
- If we are done our education, why are kids schooling us?
- If you don’t act like adults, we won’t get to BE adults.
- Eco not Ego.
- The climate is hotter than my boyfriend.
(variation *The climate should not be hotter than my girlfriend, or better ‘than ME’)
Some math students: *The planet > profit. (variation *Planet Before Profit)
- Capitalism = death (or extinction).
- Water = life.
- System Change, not Climate Change.
- Cancel Capitalism and *Heat warning Heed the warning: The time is NOW.
- There’s no place like the place you live in.
(Eva from Holland and Madalena from Italy ‘It’s like we’re at home. These demos are around the world. What a huge crowd!)
Some science students: *There is no ‘planet’ B. (variation *Mars ain’t the kind of place to live in)
- Science, not silence. (variation *Science not to conquer nature but to live in it.)
- 1.5 – stay alive. (over 1.5 centigrade and we’re cooked)
Some chess players: *We’re in the Endgame.
General student angst:
- What use is money if we aren’t here to spend it?
- This is the ONLY issue.
- End capitalism before it ends us. (variation *Save the planet – End capitalism)
- Action not Transaction.
- You break it, you fix it.
- You’ll die of old age before we die from climate change.
- Think or swim.
- Boomers, we will not forget. (variation *STFU Boomers! (shut the fuck up))
- Or more simply, Fuck this Shit.
Some much less polite: *Keep earth clean. It’s not Uranus.
- Frack Off Gassholes (variation *Go frack yourself. and *Stop fracking Mother Earth,)
- Stop fucking killing us.
- Fuck ur profit.
- Did you buy Earth dinner before you fucked her?
(variation *Your mama is fucking dying!
More politely *She didn’t consent.
Even more politely (a mother carrying her baby): *Love your mother! And another mother-baby: *You only have one mother. Love, respect and listen to her!))
The vegans were among the few with a solution: *Animal agriculture – 51% of human footprint.
Veganism is the single biggest way to reduce your footprint.
- The elephant in the room is a COW.
- Fight climate change with a diet change. (variation *You can’t eat MONEY (see below))
The natives were the star: *No pipeline on stolen land.
- This moment isn’t new for the 500+ years of indigenous resistance.
Drumming and chanting set the serious but uplifting tone of the demo.
Witty: *More climate action, less hot air.
- Don’t be a fossil fool.
- Leave the oil in the soil.
- Save Earth, the only planet with cats.
- Feed G8 leaders to the Polar Bears.
- When all is said and done, more is being said than done.
- This is NOT a fire drill. (This Is Not A Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook)
- Make the Earth Great Again (MEGA)
- Be the person David Attenborough wants you to be.
- The sea is rising and so are we. (variation Oceans are rising) + *You can’t eat money.
- Standing with the trees.
- Are we in the age of stupid?
- Winter is NOT coming
Lots of anti-coal rhetoric: *It’s getting hot. Take off your coal.
A jolly green giant and helpers, a mini-float of modest cyclists: *We Have part of the Solution
Michael is chairman of the Green Committee at his apartment building (‘We reduced garbage by half with recycling. I took the day off work for this.’) *Fill the swamp. Restore wetlands. (and on the back: *Recycle refuse. Reuse rot.)
Jeff was inspired to write some poems: *My world’s on fire. How about yours? That’s not the way I like it and I’m getting really bored!
(and on the back: *The ice we skate is getting pretty thin. The water’s getting warm so we might as well swim.)
UofT students Sue (*Let’s get together and love the Earth) and Reza (*Bob Dylan quote) recalled 60s student radicalism. Anthropology student Nick does NOT want oil ‘digs’ (*Fossil fuels in the Ground).
As I was leaving Queens Park, a tree hugger and a surreptitious smoke shared a tree moment.
A nice Mexican touch as the party ended, with Lennon’s Image wafting over the thinning crowds and Monarch butterflies preparing for a long journey south:
*No creo en fronteras.
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Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia
All images in this article are from Orinoco Tribune