Photos: Montreal marches for Earth Day
Around 7,000 Montrealers marched in the city on Saturday to mark Earth Day 2023.
The crowd started gathering at the Sir George-Étienne Cartier Monument on Mount Royal at noon. The organizers had set up tables for attendees to prepare placards, and many – particularly many of the children and parents in attendance – eagerly painted slogans calling for a livable planet. After the obligatory speeches, at around 2pm the rally began to make its way through the avenues and streets of Montreal, full of music, colour, and a hefty dose of youthful enthusiasm, helped along the way by spring sunshine.
Now a global event, Earth Day originated in 1970 in the United States. It marked a shift in public perception of industrialization and its impact on the environment, catalyzed by the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, uncontrolled lead pollution from vehicle emissions, as well as the publication of the bestselling book Silent Spring by Rachel Carson in 1962 about pollution and public health.
Inspired by anti-war activism, environmentalists followed similar strategies such as teach-ins and campus organizing to successfully mobilize thousands of schools and colleges country-wide and propel the movement to political prominence. The same year, Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The National Environmental Education Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act are some of the other early fruits of the first Earth Day.
Here in Montreal, the organizers of the march made the following official demands:
1. The acceleration of the fight and the adaptation to the climate and biodiversity crises, notably by the urgent phase-out of fossil fuels;
2. Massive investment in public services and social programs, funded by a wealth tax;
3. A just and inclusive transition for communities and workers.
These resonated with the marchers who carried placards with similar slogans, with the common theme being the urgent need to place the environment over private and corporate profit.
Here is a collection of photos that give a snapshot of the march, the messages Montrealers wished to convey, and more: