Tiohtiá:ke (Montreal) — Thousands around the world are taking to the streets demanding action on climate change, in a movement led by youth. Today, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Regional Chief Marlene Poitras, along with other members of the AFN Executive, including National Chief Perry Bellegarde, will take part in the Montreal climate march led by 16-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg. The regional chief issued the following statement:
"Today we gather with youth, in a movement created by them, for them. For too long, politicians have broken the promises they’ve made in agreements meant to tackle the climate emergency we face. They have not listened to the science. They have not listened to the wisdom of our Elders. They have not listened to our people about the environmental damage we have known for generations. But our youth have listened. They know and understand that the biggest threat to our species is climate change. Youth face the reality of a planet that will no longer be hospitable for them. That is the future they will be forced to inherit if action is not taken now. We are here today to amplify their voices in telling our world leaders, 'Are you listening now?'
“We need all leaders, regardless of stripe, to hear our call. Our planet is burning. It is too late to pursue incremental benchmarks aimed at gradually reducing global carbon emissions. We need immediate and transformative action. This is why the AFN has declared a global climate emergency, joining many governments and municipalities in echoing this statement.
"In 2019 alone, more than 10 resolutions passed at the AFN directly related to climate change adaptation and mitigation. First Nations across Turtle Island are demanding that we stop abusing our Mother Earth. The land means everything to us. Without it, we lose our traditions, our resources, our history. We lose everything that makes us who we are. The next hundred years cannot be a repeat of the last. We need to commit to a future where we will never have to reintroduce or restore sacred species, like the buffalo and the caribou.
"To the youth we join today, and to those back in Alberta marching with us as well: I hear your message, I am listening. I am taking action with you today and will continue to support making your voices heard.”