Sudbury’s young climate activists go to court

Fridays For Future Sudbury on Friday marked the four-year anniversary of climate activist Greta Thunberg’s first school strike, as its members prepare to take her case to court.

The press conference, held between the trees behind the Salute Coffee Company on Armstrong Street on August 26, served as a moment for the city’s young climate activists to reflect on how far they’ve come while looking ahead to how much they still want to achieve.

This year they wanted to ask a question: What does freedom mean in the Anthropocene?

The question comes from the lyrics to the song “In the Anthropocene” by Nick Mulvey, which Sudbury climate activist Sophia Mathur, 15, first heard while attending COP26 in Glasgow in autumn 2021.

“My parents and I heard the song at the pharmacy and we really like it,” she said. “We like the message of in the Anthropocene, in this world that we’ve made, with the way we’ve treated our world, what does our freedom mean?”

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The Anthropocene is an unofficial geological unit of time used to describe the most recent period in Earth’s history when human activities began to have a significant impact on the planet’s climate and ecosystem.

This question of what freedom looks like in this time is the basis of this year’s event.

For Mathur, it’s about changing people’s perspectives: “We want (the) freedom to feel safe. We want people to think what does your freedom mean? What does it mean to feel free in this world? Free from climate change and free from fear of climate change?”

For the young activists, freedom in the Anthropocene means a number of things they want to achieve: freedom for children around the world who are afraid of the future; freedom to enjoy nature and wildlife; Freedom People around the world are feeling the effects of climate change; and the freedom to be alive.

Sharon Roy, a member of the Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury, told her it means being able to enjoy the city’s greenery.

“We have some amazing green space in Sudbury that we really need to work on preserving,” she said. “I found it ironic that we recently celebrated the planting of the 10 millionth tree, even though the future of Laurentian University’s green space is still uncertain (due to the school’s financial restructuring).”

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She added, “I want to thank the children for taking these issues forward, bringing them to everyone’s attention and doing so much hard work over many years to help us change that.”

As the group works at the local level, Mathur, along with other young climate activists, prepares to take her fight for climate justice to court.

On September 12, the Mathur et. Al. The case against the Ontario government is coming to court, two years after a judge denied a motion to dismiss their lawsuit. Mathur and her colleagues are seeking binding orders related to the province’s greenhouse gas reduction targets, arguing that the current targets are insufficient to combat climate change.

“We use our rights to fight for a future worth living for everyone,” she said.

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Over the next year, Mathur said, the group’s primary focus will be persuading the city of Greater Sudbury to sign the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, a global initiative that will see a phase-out of existing fossil fuel production and a Transition to renewable energy suggests other low-carbon solutions.

During the press conference, Greater Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger, who is seeking re-election, said he supported the idea of ​​the city signing the treaty but made no firm commitments.

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“Support for the non-proliferation treaty is something that I believe is exactly in line with the direction the Council has taken and which it has fully supported,” he said.

Bigger also reaffirmed some of the city’s future climate goals, including achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and building a new zero-carbon facility to house local nonprofits at Project Junction East.

Like her fellow campaigners, Mathur is too young to vote in October’s municipal elections. Though she said she’s pleased to hear Bigger’s support for her work, they have bigger priorities throughout the campaign.

“When it comes to climate change, we want to see collaboration,” she said. “It really doesn’t matter who gets elected, we still want to see climate action. We still want them to talk about it. With the local elections, many young people will pay attention to climate politics and try to keep supporting the fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty.”

Her presentation included a rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” sung by YES Theater’s Maryn Tarini, as well as the debut of a new dance to the song that inspired her theme, “In the Anthropocene” by Nick Mulvey.

Fridays For Future Sudbury also invites young Sudburians and anyone passionate about climate change to join them on Friday morning, September 23rd for a global day of action. The event will take place at Laurentian University’s Founders Square.

© 2022 The Canadian Press Sudbury’s young climate activists go to court


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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