Montreal, April 21th, 2013 - More than 50 000 citizens gathered today in Downtown Montreal to signify their opposition to the pipeline projects that would bring, for the first time, tars sands oil to Quebec. The Walk for Earth focused on these themes: fossil fuels, the fight against climate change and the rights of future generations. It was part of a larger North American movement against the tar sands expansion.
The result of an unprecedented mobilization of environmental, art, labor, student and Aboriginal people movements, the Walk for Earth 2013 gave a strong signal in favor of a world free of fossil fuels. Participants were invited to ring their alarm clocks at 2 PM sharp. "A great collective awakening is now in progress. It is time to initiate a shift towards an ecological and social economy. Current practices threaten our quality of life, now and for future generations, while increasing inequalities. It is possible to do things differently", said Laure Waridel, co-spokesperson for the event with the actor Sébastien Huberdeau.
Another unique aspect of this year’s Walk is that the indigenous movement Idle No More has joined forces with the green movement by synchronizing the Quebec portion of its national mobilization with this Walk for Earth. According to Melissa Mollen-Dupuis, co-organizer of the Quebec branch of Idle No More "Canada’s Government violates aboriginal rights and those of all Canadians in order to promote an uncontrolled development of the tar sands. This oil is not ethical when it crushes our fundamental rights" she said.
This year’s Walk for Earth conveyed requests gathered in a statement signed by more than 10 000 people. "The Quebec government should oppose the expansion of the tar sands and the passage of Albertan pipelines in Quebec, which would threaten our water and our natural environments", said Christian Simard of Nature Québec. According to Steven Guilbeault from Équiterre "Quebec must act on its commitment to adopt ambitious and credible plans to reduce our oil consumption by 30% and greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25% by 2020."
"We must pull our head out of the tar sands. We are heading fast for a global warming of four degrees Celsius. The future of our children does not pass through a pipeline", said Jerome Normand of ENvironnement JEUnesse. For Patrick Bonin of Greenpeace, "The Government of Canada must immediately stop increasing tar sands production and must stop paying $ 1.3 billion of our tax dollars in annual subsidies to the oil and gas industry". According to Louise Lévesque from the AQLPA" Canada must come to its senses and re-enlist its international obligations in regards to fighting climate change, which it abnegated by withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol". " The atmosphere is not a free dump. Canada must put a price on greenhouse gas emissions and must have a credible plan to reduce GHG emissions", concluded Karel Mayrand of the David Suzuki Foundation.
The organizers of the Walk for Earth wish to thank the 50 000 Quebecers, who came today to add their voices to those of citizens mobilized across the world to defend our planet and future generations.
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