More than 50,000 Quebec students are taking to the streets this week to express their “climate rage” and denounce governments’ inability to slow global warming.
So far, fourteen student unions at both colleges and universities have accepted strike mandates to join the call of Climate Rage, a coalition that presents itself as an environmentalist and anti-capitalist. Various marches organized in Montreal, Sherbrooke and Quebec are expected to mark the culmination of this mobilization this Friday.
The movement is focused on large centers but has also spread to two campuses in Bas-Saint-Laurent. In Rimouski, the strike led to the suspension of classes at CEGEP and UQAR. In Quebec, the 6,900-member student union of the Cégep de Sainte-Foy received a one-day strike mandate on Friday to take part in a climate mobilization to which the student union of the Cégep de Limoilou is also inviting its members.
Student unions from Cégep Saint-Laurent, Lionel-Groulx College, the Universities of Montreal, Concordia and UQAM also voted to strike, sometimes for a week, often for a few days.
The Quebec College Student Federation (FECQ) and the Quebec Student Union (UEQ) will accompany their members to Friday’s marches, although both say they are not the originator of the mobilization.
“Our students believe that our governments are not doing enough to prevent climate change,” emphasizes Laurence Maillette-Léonard, President of the FECQ. Young people feel that time is running out and that it is time to take action. »
“We are tired of the lack of initiative or investment in the green transition of our universities,” adds Catherine Bibeau-Lorrain, President of UEQ. There are still universities in Quebec that heat with oil, we have to put an end to that. »
Show your “eco-anger”
The last week of September has been synonymous with climate mobilization since the arrival of Swedish activist Greta Thunberg in Montreal in 2019. This year, the calls to action have a strong revolutionary undertone, with Climate Rage wanting to “do everything possible” to advance a world “that destroys the living” to its end, to see on its ashes the birth of “a truly ecological one.” and anti-capitalist society”. »
The climatic events that have hit Quebec since the beginning of the year are fueling student mobilization. “In March, trees collapse under the weight of ice, in May forests burn, in July rivers overflow their banks, the air has been unbreathable for weeks,” says Climate Rage’s mobilization call. This result, the coalition emphasizes, follows 15 COPs on biodiversity and 27 COPs on climate change. “Thirty years after the Rio Summit,” the appeal says, “it is clear that nothing has really changed. »
The mobilization proposes to transform the “environmental fear” that affects young people into “environmental anxiety”. “Peaceful actions, compliant displays and negotiations are no longer enough,” writes Climate Rage. It became essential to increase the pressure by one level. »