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North Shore activists rally for political action on climate change

Climate activists held a rally at the City of North Vancouver’s civic plaza Wednesday afternoon to call attention to climate change as an election issue.

Climate activists held a rally at the City of North Vancouver’s civic plaza Wednesday afternoon (Sept. 8) to call attention to climate change as an election issue.

“I think what we're trying to do is tell the politicians that voters really do care about the climate, and it is an election issue, said organizer Robyn Newton.

“The planet is on fire right now,” said Janice Edmonds with the group North Shore NOPE, which opposes the Trans Mountain pipeline project.

“And we need to bring attention to this to each political party. Many of the politicians are not really aware of what's going on right now. They think that it's a minor issue. And of course, millions of people think this is the most important issue in the federal election.”

Jim Stephenson was one of the speakers at the rally. Stephenson, who has previously run as a Green Party candidate, noted the UN’s first intergovernmental panel on climate change was formed in 1988, when carbon concentrations in the atmosphere were measured at 350 parts per million.

At various points in time since then, Stephenson said he’s expected significant improvements.

But that hasn’t happened fast enough, he said. Instead, carbon concentrations have risen to 413 parts per million, he said.

He urged people at the rally to study the party platforms and see if they are committed to meeting needed carbon reduction targets.

John Millar, a West Vancouver resident and former provincial medical officer, also spoke at the rally. He said many medical journals including the Lancet have also called for action on the climate emergency. “We’ve got political leadership now who are not taking adequate action,” he said.

“That's an urgent issue. And we don't have action so we're just pushing politicians to commit to taking urgent action in broad strokes, phasing out fossil fuels right now,” he said.

Millar said he’s belonged to both the NDP and the Green parties. This election, he said he’s supporting the NDP’s Avi Lewis in this riding.

Deep Cove resident Lesley Edwards said she’s torn about who to vote for.

“It’s a conundrum for me because I think the best person in my riding is not necessarily representing a party I want to vote for. And the party I want to vote for, there is a candidate but he's kind of missing in action,” she said, adding she’ll probably end up voting for the candidate rather than the party, “because I believe that you have to start politics in your own neighbourhood.”

West Vancouver siblings Danielle, Sam and Adam Wray also came out to make their voices heard on climate change.

“We really hope that our leaders will take this climate emergency seriously,” said Danielle Wray. “It’s a big task. But if we all work together, it can actually happen.”

Wray said she hasn’t decided who to vote for. “I’m still looking at all the different party’s platforms,” she said.

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