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“Sitting at home is not the end of their activism.”
On April 3, the next global climate strike was scheduled to take place. Members of the Fridays for Future Toronto team had posted flyers on telephone poles, handed out leaflets and made a Facebook event page.
But due to the rise of a global pandemic, many in-person global climate strikes, including Toronto, were cancelled. But for those still wanting to have their voices heard, it will still happen — virtually.
“There was no question we were going to cancel it. It was just going to change format,” said Aliénor Rougeot, the head co-ordinator of Fridays for Future Toronto. “I didn’t even think for a second we would have nothing.”
Fridays for Future Toronto is a branch of Fridays for Future, which is a worldwide environmental non-governmental organization (ENGO). The organization was founded by young Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg in August 2018.
On March 11, Thunberg tweeted about moving in-person strikes online and encouraged activists to use the hashtag #ClimateStrikeOnline. “We’ll have to find new ways to create public awareness and advocate for change that don’t involve too big crowds,” she said in the tweet thread.
We can’t solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis and we must unite behind experts and science.— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) March 11, 2020
This of course goes for all crises.
Now the experts urge us to avoid big public gatherings for a better chance to #flattenthecurve and slow the spreading of the Coronavirus. 1/4 pic.twitter.com/24o3a7J9ed
Rougeot said one of the main topics for the online strikes will be advocating for global safety. “[We] want to provide people with an online rally that gives them some hope because I know right now times can be really hard,” she said. “The goal at this point is not to have bodies in the street to block things, but instead, we’re going to try to help people make the link between everything that [the pandemic] has shown, like more marginalized people are at risk.”
The strike will run fairly similar to the in-person strikes. There will be musical performances, speeches, chants and actions that attendees can take part in from home. One highlight will be the keynote speech, where “everybody stops and we all mass text together.”
“Sitting at home is not the end of their activism,” said Rougeot.
Join the online climate strike on April 3 with Fridays for Future Toronto at 12 p.m. here.