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

Explore Vancouver Island with George Vancouver through presentation in Cowichan

Historian Eric Marshall will relate this history at the 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 27

UPDATED with VIDEO and PHOTOS: One person treated for minor burns in Crofton fire Monday morning

Firefighters were called out at 7 a.m. to a blaze at the Twin Gables Motel

Penelakut Tribe assumes ownership of iconic 49th Parallel General Store in Chemainus

Operating what’s now known as the Salish Sea Market provides economic opportunities

CVRD requests rainstorm, flood photos via online tool

Officials want to know more about how that type of event impacted the region as a whole.

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

‘Hilariously bad’: RCMP looking for couple with forged, paper Alberta licence plate

Mounties said the car crashed when it lost a wheel but the duo ran away as police arrived

Two scout leaders missing near Sooke after swollen creek traps troop

Third leader and scouts located, while search continues for two leaders who’d gone for help

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

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

Harvey Weinstein found guilty of sex crimes in landmark #MeToo trial

The cases against the Hollywood mogul started the #MeToo movement

CRA puts focus on paper returns as tax-filing season opens

The federal tax collector expects to handle about two million paper returns this calendar year out of roughly 26 million filings

Teck withdraws application for Frontier mine, citing discourse over climate change

The Vancouver-based company said it will take a $1.13-billion writedown on the Frontier project in Alberta

B.C. VIEWS: Pipeline dispute highlights need for clarity

As the B.C. treaty process grinds on, uncertainty remains

Most Read