On September 27th, I marched with a group of at least 1,000 people from Churchill Square to the Alberta Legislature. This crowd was made up of largely high school students (and younger) who were demanding climate action. It was inspiring to be surrounded by young people so motivated by the need to try to make the world a better place for their future – and all of us.
Regular readers of this paper and those who know me in real life know that I have taken part in a protest or two over the years. I often get asked: what is the point? Keeping issues in the public eye, the media, and in the consciousness of both private citizens and elected officials is one way of taking action to effect change. It’s not the only way, but it’s an effective way to make space for ordinary people to have a platform to express their concerns in the public sphere.
However, protesting in the street isn’t for everyone. The great news is that there are other ways for people to be active citizens: write letters to the editors of your local newspapers; keep elected officials accountable by attending town halls or contacting them about issues that concern you; financially support causes you believe in, if you are in a position to do so; work on an election campaign; and, if you can, run for office yourself.
You don’t have to go it alone. Get involved in a citizen’s action group, electoral riding, and your community league. To paraphrase one of my favourite chants: there is no power like the power of the people – and the power of the people doesn’t stop.