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

Teal Harle wraps up X Games appearance with personal bests

Finished 12th in ski big air, 11th in ski slopestyle

Campbell River Storm topple Oceanside Generals 6-3 in home victory

Storm goals scored by six different players

Hitched Wedding and Event Affair is a busy affair

This year Hitched is happening at the Comox Community Centre.

Burger and a beer for a cause? Yes, please.

John Howard Society hopes Feb. 3 fundraiser at Match will sponsor one child in KidStart

VIDEO: Boat burns in Maple Street boatyard

Firefighters were called to a boatyard on Maple St. between 14th and… Continue reading

VIDEO: Canada’s first presumptive case of coronavirus officially confirmed

Both patient and wife arrived on a China Southern Airlines flight after having been to Wuhan

Filming for Resident Alien begins in Ladysmith

Aliens and excitement take over the streets of Ladysmith during new TV series

NDP suggests easing secondary housing rules for B.C. farmland

Lana Popham proposes guest homes not just for relatives

After four sexual assaults in the same B.C. park, RCMP ask women not to walk alone

Four sexual assaults took place in Glen Park over two months

The Three Bears are down to two after baby bear carving stolen from his perch in Island community

Thief repeatedly kicked it and dislodged it from cement and rebar

BC Place lights up in purple and yellow to honour Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash

Whistleblower says Iranian-Americans questioned at Peace Arch crossing were targeted

Immigration lawyer says response from Customs Border Protection is a ‘total cover up’

‘Big money’ funding B.C. politics now mostly from taxpayers

Campaign targets $16 million and counting in ‘politician welfare’

Most Read