By Jonah Rosen 2020
Marching through the streets of Montréal, sign in hand, friends at my side, I certainly felt like a part of something huge.
On Friday, September 28, a few friends and I decided to join half a million Montrealers—and one short Swedish girl—marching for our future and to halt climate change in its tracks. Dressed all in green, we chanted, sang and walked, surrounded by youth, energy and a desperate cry for some sort of change.
We certainly made a statement. We marched for half an hour (we joined mid-march). When we finally stopped, we found ourselves near a large stage where bands were performing. As the music rang out, people were chatting, waving flags, and a few climbing up lampposts to tear down Justin Trudeau’s campaign signs. I met many people that day, both young and old, from all over the country.
My friends and I then met up with another friend who was there…and suddenly noticed that we were about five feet away from the now-legendary climate activist, Greta Thunberg.
My day was made! I have one blurry picture where, if you squint and tilt your head ever so slightly, you can just make her out. Maybe one day I will show it to my kids and say I was there. I did something.
We then listened to a series of speeches that no one really enjoyed, as we were just waiting for Greta to get up there. Then, just as I was about to leave, my prayers were answered and she walked onto the stage. To my surprise, she gave a funny, witty speech full of hope and passion, unlike the ones we see so often on the Internet. She managed to segue effortlessly from jokes about maple syrup and hockey to a call for action concerning the existential threat that looms over us. Unfortunately, I had to leave toward the end of her speech to make it back to Selwyn House in time to help out at the Old Boys’ reunion. But I can tell you it was a rousing speech.
Now, I do not mean to imply that listening to Greta speak—or even showing solidarity—is nearly enough. There are so many things we, as a community and as individuals, can be doing.
As a school, however, and somewhat in response to these protests, a student-led committee has been formed, and changes are starting to be made. We’re gradually using fewer plastics and changing our habits. We are experimenting with new ways of recycling and launching several climate-based initiatives. We can do better and we must do better. Let’s just hope it’s not too little too late.