By Jessica Berget, Editor-in-Chief
When I’m not putting together this fun little paper, I work downtown. You see fair bit of action working downtown as it tends to be incredibly busy, and the area I work in happens to be popular for protesting. Just this past Friday there was yet another demonstration held to protest climate change. I’m all for free speech, peaceful demonstrations, and taking care of the Earth, but aren’t we overdoing it a little on the climate change protests?
For one thing, Vancouver is already one of the greenest cities in the world. In fact, according to a Travel Insider article, Vancouver is second on the greenest cities of the world list, coming up behind Copenhagen, Denmark. There are also plans for the city to ban single-use plastic straws and cutlery by Earth day next year. Furthermore, this city has the lowest greenhouse gas emission per capita of any other North American city. I think it’s fair to say that Vancouver is already an incredibly eco-friendly city; I don’t really see the point in protesting climate change in a city that has already dedicated itself to rectifying the problem and has made great strides. It’s kind of hard not to sound like a broken record, plus everyone in Vancouver is already aware of climate change. If we really wanted to get to the root of the climate change issue, shouldn’t we be protesting the other countries that contribute more to pollution and carbon emissions such as China which contributes almost 27 percent of global emissions (compared to Canada’s 1.69 percent)?
Another thing I take major issue with is the consequences of these protests. For example, after one of my managers had left work, due to the protests and the streets all being closed she was unable to drive home. She had to come back to work because all the idling she did made her car run out of gas, and I’m sure this was the case for many other people driving downtown that night. It’s ironic that a protest about climate change would make people stuck idling in their cars, releasing all those carbon emissions and contributing to the climate change problem rather than helping it, as a protest should. Surely there’s a better way to protest that doesn’t involve pollution.
I’m not saying all protests are useless or that they have no place. Public protests absolutely have their place in society and taking care of the planet is definitely a contentious issue that needs to be taken seriously. However, I think climate change protests in Vancouver should be revaluated. Is this really the best way to reach the goal? Perhaps organizations should limit the number of protests they hold so that they can be taken more seriously. When there is a protest almost every week, in my experience, people generally become dismissive of and irritated by them.