After gathering Sunday at the Parksville Community and Conference Centre

Marching for climate justice in Parksville

The Parksville rally was one of more than 2,300 events scheduled on Sunday, the eve of the Paris summit

About 100 people gathered and marched in Parksville on Sunday for climate justice, part of a global effort ahead of the Paris talks this week that will involve 150 world leaders.

Before hitting the streets with signs on their way to the waterfront, the crowd listened to a variety of speakers at the Parksville Community and Conference Centre urge action at home and abroad.

“It seems like people are waking up,” said Brian Pasquill, the president and CEO of a company (Recap Power Works) that offers renewable energy solutions. “Awareness is starting to happen — people care and now we have the technology to do it.”

Pasquill spoke about things people can do in their own homes to save energy, including the use of LED lights.

“We have to start in our homes with our own energy consumption,” he said.

The Town of Qualicum Beach’s director of planning, Luke Sales, also urged people to do what they can in their homes and lives.

“At a personal level, there’s a lot we can do,” he said.

Sales pointed to transportation as “the No. 1 challenge we have,” citing statistics that show 60-70 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions come from fossil-fuel-burning vehicles. He said politicians have “competing priorities” and need to hear from the public that combating climate change is a priority.

Sales also said the most common reason cited for the lack of action on climate change is it’s too expensive and the economy is too fragile.

“We can’t afford not to take action on climate change,” he said.

Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns also provided some remarks for the gathering before hopping on a plane to Ottawa.

“The new Liberal government has made important commitments to Canadians and the world, but words must be backed by real action,” said Johns. “The climate conference in Paris will only be considered a success if countries agree on binding emission reduction targets, concrete plans and credible accountability mechanisms for reaching these targets and assisting the developing world with transition and climate mitigation.”

Electric-car-maker Randy Holmquist also spoke about the need to make changes at home. His company, Canadian Electric Vehicles, has been making electric cars for 25 years.

“We’re just this little company in Errington, but we can make a difference,” he said.

Rev. Andrew Twiddy of the Anglican parish of St. Anne and St. Edmund in Parksville spoke about his experiences recently in Rome and the leadership being shown on climate justice by Pope Francis. “If we carry on with business as usual we will not have a sustainable planet to do business as usual,” said Twiddy.

Qualicum First Nations Chief Michael Recalma opened up the meeting with a welcome and this: “We have a chance to help Mother Nature.”

The Parksville rally was one of more than 2,300 events scheduled on Sunday, the eve of the Paris summit. People marched all over Canada to send a message to the new government that climate action is a priority.

There were at least six other marches scheduled on the Island and more than 2,400 people are registered in Vancouver. It was unclear who organized the Parksville event, which was emceed by Anne O’Sullivan, who asked for donations because she said she paid for the hall. The NEWS also received e-mails about the event from local members of Avaaz, which means ‘voice’ in several European, Middle Eastern and Asian languages. According to its website, Avaaz launched in 2007 “with a simple democratic mission: organize citizens of all nations to close the gap between the world we have and the world most people everywhere want.”

Just Posted

Parksville residents hear compelling tales from recovering young addicts

Speakers emphasize need for detox and treatment centre, shelter in the area

REVIEW: ‘Grace and Glorie’ a moving tale of death and friendship

Two women convey characters convincingly and with humour

Jordie Lunn, world-renowned mountain biker from Parksville, dies in accident

The 36-year-old was with friends trail riding in Cabo San Lucas when the accident happened

Island man restores 1962 Qualicum Beach fire truck he bought for $1

Vintage vehicle in working order and ready to hit the road

B.C.’s rural paramedic program expands, with home support

Advanced care ambulance staff added for six communities

BC Ferries sees steady traffic of post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Ferries filling up fast, sailing waits at some terminals

Canadian Snowbirds plane crashes before air show in Atlanta

Pilot lands safely after ejecting from jet

Singh says NDP would form coalition with the Liberals to stop Tories

Singh was in a Liberal-held riding Sunday afternoon in Surrey where he was pressed about his post-election intentions

‘My heart goes out to the mother’: B.C. dad reacts to stabbing death of Ontario boy

Carson Crimeni, who was also 14, was bullied relentlessly, his dad says

BC Ferries filling up fast with post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Monday anticipated to be busiest day of the weekend

‘Save the kids!’ Dorian survivor tells the harrowing story of his Canadian wife’s death

Family held a funeral and placed Alishia Liolli’s remains in a niche at a cemetery in Windsor, Ont.

Okanagan woman, 91, votes at advance polls despite broken hip, shoulder and wrist

Angela Maynard has voted in almost every election during her lifetime

Heiltsuk Nation open first Big House in 120 years in northern B.C.

Opening means the community now has an appropriate space for spiritual and ceremonial events

Most Read