Meet the activist leading Ontario's youth climate strike movement
As the leader of the Toronto, Ont. chapter of Fridays for Future, the organization started by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg in 2018, which coordinates strikes to demand action from world leaders, Alienor Rougeot will be heading the climate strike in Toronto on Friday, and will be leading Canada’s mass “teach in.”
“We’re learning facilitation techniques on how to talk to adults about the climate crisis,” Rougeot said on CTV’s Your Morning on Friday. “Because clearly they haven’t been listening.”
Rougeot says she has been a climate activist since she was ten years-old, after she learned that certain animal species were going extinct – her path then led to an interest in human rights and finally climate justice. Now in her twenties, she studies economics and public policy at the University of Toronto and says the “threat of human extinction,” is too important to ignore.
In her quest to address climate change and demand environmental policies from the Canadian government, Rougeot says that the federal election candidates are “absolutely not” focused on climate change enough.
“We’ve been talking about climate change as if it was one of a thousand other issues, as if we could keep saying ‘there’s environment on one side and then families, health and jobs on the other,’” Rougeot said. “We have to recognize that we’re going straight into a wall, and that families’ jobs and health are a climate issue now.”
Rougeot’s vision for Canada is an “energy transition” where the country “stop[s] subsidizing fossil fuels,” and begins investing in “clean energy.”
Her vision includes “people that are working in the high carbon economy, helping them, giving them the skills they need, the transition they need, the financial compensation – so that they can be in the our low-carbon economy with us.”
Rougeot says that Canada needs to be “leading by example,” in the hopes that other countries, including the main big emissions culprits such as Brazil, China and India, can follow suit.
“If we model the change, if we show how we’ve transitioned its easier for other people, whether they are grassroots… or other [world] leaders.”” she said.
The Toronto youth climate strike will take place at 12:00 p.m. Friday outside of City Hall according to the Fridays for Future website.