Extinction Rebellion demonstrators say they plan to spend five days camping on the street to protest government inaction on climate change.
Dozens of protesters blocked a busy intersection in downtown Vancouver on Saturday to call attention to the climate crisis.
Extinction Rebellion’s Vancouver group held a rally at the Vancouver Art Gallery at noon and then occupied the intersection of Granville and Georgia streets.
They erected a large pink boat painted with the words “tell the truth,” and held placards saying “act now” and “billions will die.”
The demonstrators plan to spend five days camping on the street as part of a campaign effort called Spring Rebellion, to protest government inaction to address the climate crisis. Extinction Rebellion spokesperson Maayan Kreitzman said they expect arrests.
“We do not want to cause disruption to people going about their everyday lives, but we have no other choice at this point,” said Kreitzman, in a statement.
“Climate disasters like melting ice caps and huge forest fires get more terrifying by the day, but instead of taking action, the Canadian government is allowing emissions and habitat destruction to increase. This is beyond bad – it’s genuinely scary psychopathic behaviour. I’m doing this for the kids I want to bring into this world.”
The Vancouver police said officers were aware of the planned protest Saturday in downtown Vancouver.
Asked whether they would arrest people camping in the street, VPD spokesperson Const. Tania Visintin said she couldn’t discuss plans.
She added that VPD officers work to provide a safe environment for peaceful demonstration.
“This includes blocking and diverting traffic from the area,” said Visintin.
Another demonstrator, Janice Oakley, urged governments to listen to the science and take every effort to protect life on Earth.
“Indigenous communities have been naming the devastations and misuses of earth materials since forever, and we settlers are mostly late to the table on recognizing our ways of life are fundamentally interconnected with the wellness and presence of a stable climate, clean air, water, foods, and whole ecosystems. Normal people are stepping up and acting with courage to challenge the legitimacy of government power through peaceful civil disobedience,” Oakley said in a statement.
The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2018 special report has said that rapid action is necessary to reduce carbon emissions to limit warming to 1.5 C. The report also points out that reducing carbon emissions won’t be enough. Countries must also capture carbon, plant billions of trees, and people must change to a sustainable lifestyle. The IPCC says “rapid change” is needed in four areas: energy generation, land use, cities, and industry.