Swedish activist Greta Thunberg walks off the stage after addressing the Climate Strike in Montreal on Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Greta Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta, but doesn’t talk oilsands

Swedish teen was met with some oil and gas industry supporters who came in a truck convoy

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg stayed away from any direct criticism of Alberta’s oilsands as she took her message to the provincial capital on Friday.

The 16-year-old told thousands of people in front of the legislature in Edmonton that the future of the planet is at stake.

“We cannot allow this crisis to continue to be a partisan, political question. The climate and ecological crisis is far beyond party politics and the main enemy right now should not be any political opponents, because our main enemy is physics,” she said.

“We teenagers are not scientists, nor are we politicians, but it seems many of us, apart from most others, understand the science because we have done our homework.”

A group of oil and gas industry supporters, some who travelled to Edmonton in a truck convoy from Red Deer, held a counter-rally at the legislature, but were vastly outnumbered by climate activists.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney had said his government didn’t plan on meeting with Thunberg, and on Friday he visited a power plant west of the city that is switching from coal to cleaner natural gas.

“This is the kind of real, practical, technological solution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Kenney said.

RELATED: Grown-ups mock children because world view threatened, Thunberg says

“The truth is that the so-called climate strike movement is opposed to natural gas. They’re opposed to zero-emitting nuclear power. They’re opposed to technological solutions. They’re opposed to the entire modern, industrial economy. Their manifesto effectively calls for shutting down our entire modern economy, so that is not a real world solution.”

Thunberg has been making international headlines for criticizing world leaders who she accuses of letting down youth by doing too little to tackle climate change.

A crowd of people stretching two city blocks first marched with the teen through Edmonton’s downtown to the legislature. Edmonton police estimated the size of the crowd at between 3,500 and 4,000, but organizers said they believed it was more like 10,000.

At one point three young men tried to rush Thunberg, but organizers kept them back, said Joe Vipond with the Calgary Climate Hub. Several climate activists locked their arms around the teen during part of the walk.

“We just want to make sure she’s safe,” said Vipond.

The physician said he came to Edmonton with two busloads of Calgarians to support Greta.

“She’s the voice of this generation,” he said. “She’s put herself out there. Can you imagine as a 16-year old taking all this on? She needs all the support she can get.”

Zachary Neufeld, 18, works in Fort McMurray and went to the rally with a few friends carrying signs that read, “I Love Canadian Energy.” They said they believe in climate change, but there’s a way to make fewer emissions while keeping jobs.

“It’s really important that we keep those jobs, especially Alberta, because that’s a lot of our economy,” said Neufeld.

Colette Derworiz and Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Reporter takes to the skies: Qualicum Beach flight school now up and running

PQB News staffer Cloe Logan tries flying with instructor Mike Andrews

Parksville council members share views on affordable housing

Divergent opinions on responsibility, priorities

Massive early-morning blaze destroys unoccupied Nanoose Bay home

Firefighters from three departments called in to battle fire

Captain Dziadyk to end season with Oceanside Generals on high note

Qualicum Beach player is longest-serving player in team history

VIDEO: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%

Chief coroner says figures were down about a third in the province’s fourth year of the opioid crisis

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Royals, Elvis, Captain Cook: Hundreds of wax figures find new life in B.C. man’s home

Former director of Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum still hopes to revive wax figure tourism

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Okanagan man swims across Columbia River to evade Trail police

RCMP Cpl. Devon Reid says the incident began the evening of Thursday, Feb. 20

Most Read