Nanaimo community members rallied last week, demanding climate action from senior levels of government while lauding local government for its efforts to curb fossil fuel use.
The Nanaimo Climate March took place at Maffeo Sutton Park on Friday, Sept. 15, with people gathering and demanding climate justice. Members of Nanaimo city council were in attendance. Some speakers pointed to Canada’s worst-ever wildfire season, which has led to air quality concerns and displaced many B.C. residents.
Deraek Menard, a rally organizer with Extinction Rebellion Nanaimo, said greenhouse gas emissions must stop and pointed out that the event was part of a series of marches across the world called the ‘Global Fight to End Fossil Fuels.’
Nanaimo city council passed legislation last month, which will prohibit natural gas as a main heating source for new housing builds, beginning in July 2024, something Menard was pleased with.
“Many of my friends worked on the campaign to get people to actually engage with this issue,” he said. “A lot of folks stay disengaged on a municipal level, because a quote from my friend is that the federal government has all the money, the provincial government has all the power, the municipal government has all the problems, but in this case, the municipal government took power into their own hands and did something that was 100 per cent the exact right thing to do.”
As for other levels of government, Menard said they should stop subsidizing fossil fuels as quickly as possible.
“Obviously no one would suggest that we immediately turn off all the taps to all fossil fuels, we at least need diesel to drive the trucks delivering groceries … so obviously, it’s not overnight, but we can certainly do a lot better than subsidizing the industry to the tune of $19 billion a year,” he said.
Following speeches, attendees marched from Maffeo Sutton Park to Nanaimo City Hall. There were an estimated 130 people taking part.