Garbage left behind after the Global Climate Strike in Toronto - really?!

On CBC Radio’s national phone-in show, a human named Chad Miller said “a lot of people think going out and protesting is the way to go. Having that voice is understandable, but if all these protesters start picking up garbage…what a change that would be.”

Happy faces after seeing no trace left behind at Queen’s Park.

Happy faces after seeing no trace left behind at Queen’s Park.

As the on-site Green Team at Queen’s Park on Friday, we can assure you that there was literally no garbage left behind. Out of all our events, this climate strike had the largest turn out, yet required the least clean up.

The communities that came out are the ones picking up after others on a daily basis; we need everyone, including Chad, to join us in building a better future for all.

The real picture…
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Evoke Creatives was honoured to support the Fridays For Future planning committee, who were responsible for the incredibly successful strike in Toronto. Suanny Aranguren (waste diversion coordinator) set up our water tent early in the morning so we could provide strikers with all their hydration needs. Our trusted partner Dream Zero even brought us 500+ re-usable cups to offer those that didn’t have a container. 500 cups for thousands of strikers - hm, doesn’t seem like enough hey? But, we ended up using less than half of these cups! Almost every striker that came by our water tent had a re-usable bottle.

As per usual, James Arruda (waste management coordinator) had our weighing system ready to go so we could quantify the strike’s environmental footprint. Cumulatively, we picked up the equivalent to 1 standard garbage bag. We had more volunteers than garbage bags! Gasp you should. The most common items included cigarette butts and small pieces of snack wrappers.

Similarly, in Montreal, the Globe and Mail wrote: “Montreal has a litter problem at the cleanest of times, but the protesters made their route spotless, picking up trash.” And Montreal had 500,000 strikers out! This demonstrates how small acts of concerted action can result in cleaner and more sustainable spaces. Who said individuals can’t make a difference?

Missed the strike? In lieu of a play by play…

Thousands of people came out to the Global Climate Strike in Toronto last Friday at Queen’s Park. The day began with a rally led by a diverse range of speakers, who underscored the issue of climate justice. While many strikers had signs about protecting nature and “saving” the Earth, the reality is that the Earth will be fine. As Lido Pimienta said during the concert, the Earth will regenerate.

Earth was formed 4.6 Billion years ago, with humans having a very insignificant piece of geological time. It’s cute how we think the Earth needs our help.

What is the Global Climate Strike all about then?

It’s about marching in solidarity for a Green New Deal - one that implements policies for Indigenous sovereignty, migrant justice and racial equity. These communities and their allies are rising up to voice that there are disproportionate impacts from climate change. If rich people lived close to industrial sites, in flood-prone areas, or in high rise buildings with limited ventilation during heat waves, they’d be striking too.

All that to say, Friday at Queen’s Park felt like a win, especially for us!

Top row (left to right): Daniel Iaskelevich, Gareth Jones, Vinod Sankarshanan, Suanny Aranguren, Rachel Wang. Bottom row (left to right): James Arruda and Erika Reyes. Green Team members missing from photo: Samaneh Goodarzirad, Annie Yang, Chang hoon Lee and Isha Varma.

Top row (left to right): Daniel Iaskelevich, Gareth Jones, Vinod Sankarshanan, Suanny Aranguren, Rachel Wang. Bottom row (left to right): James Arruda and Erika Reyes. Green Team members missing from photo: Samaneh Goodarzirad, Annie Yang, Chang hoon Lee and Isha Varma.

Not sure where to start in all of this?

Follow the artists who performed at the Global Climate Strike Concert. These talented youth are using their platform to spread awareness around environmental justice and action.

Follow Climate Justice Toronto for the latest news and ways to get involved!