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Reclaim Earth Day 2008

Reclaim Earth Day 2008

Rally - Parade - U-Turn - Street Festival
Toronto Climate Campaign - Reclaim Earth Day 2008

“What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment.”
-- Rajendra K. Pachauri, IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), 2007

Articles and Blogs

Environmentalists Demand Harper Implement Kyoto Now - John Bonnar, Toronto Social Justice Magazine, April 23, 2008
Earth Day Divides The Planet - Daniel Cressey, The Great Beyond Nature Blog, April 22, 2008
Earth Day March Reclaims The Streets - Roger Cullman, blogTO, April 20, 2008
Is Earth Day Still Relevant 18 Years On? - Moira Welsh, Toronto Star, April 22, 2008

Pictures

Earth Day Toronto Rally - John Bonnar, April 21, 2008
PhotoTO: Reclaim Earth Day! - Miles Storey, The Torontoist, April 22, 2008
Reclaim Earth Day Pictures - Richard Norman, ecoSanity.org, April 20, 2008

Reclaim Earth Day 2008

12 noon: Rally at Yonge-Dundas Square - Toronto

On April 22, 1970, the environmental movement burst onto the political stage with one of the largest grassroots demonstrations ever seen. Let’s put the activism back into Earth Day with a rally to call on the Harper government to implement Kyoto, introduce mandatory emission reductions and support green energy.

Musical Performance - The New Kings
Glenn MacIntosh - Toronto Climate Campaign (TCC), ecoSanity.org
Host: Sandy Hudson - VP equity, President Elect, University of Toronto Students Union (UTSU)
Adam Vaughan - City Councillor, Trinity-Spadina, Ward 20
John Cartwright - President, Toronto and York Region Labour Council
Javier Davila - Teacher, Activist, No One Is Illegal
Paula Sherman (could not attend) - Assistant Professor of Indigenous Studies, Trent U; Family Head for Ka-Pishkawandemin Family Head's Council; Co-Chief, Ardoch Algonquin First Nation
Christopher Reid - Lawyer
Musical Performance - The Unity Singers
Eduardo Sousa - Regional Organizer, Ontario-Quebec-Nunavut, Council of Canadians
Dave Martin - Climate and Energy Campaign Coordinator, Greenpeace Canada
Sandy Hudson - VP equity, President Elect, University of Toronto Students Union (UTSU)

 

1 pm: U-Turn Parade

The parade route goes from Yonge-Dundas Square (Toronto) to Queen and Spadina where we will do a U-turn back to Queen and John Street. Bring your banners, placards, and noisemakers to show the Harper government that we want an about-face on climate change policy.

 

2-4 pm: Street Festival (Queen and John Street)

Join Streets are for People for a festive, interactive, all-ages celebration of Earth Day!

From Streets are for People: Invitation to Cultural Revolution

For two hours, John St. from Queen to Richmond will be a space without cars, a space where culture can once again breathe life into the city.

We're asking performers of all kinds to come out and engage the citizenry with works compelling, interactive or both. The theme is U-Turn on Climate Change and reconnecting to the part of us that is the Earth.

No tables. No stages. No power. And everything is at street level.

So far there will be a Punch and Judy puppet show (theatre available to share), a performance by the Rebel Clown Army, and many forms of interactive art and games by Streets are for People. Any musicians who attend will share in a big open jam at the end of the fest. There's no registration or schedule. It's open concept - the glorious chaos of life.

Please come and breathe a little of the Earth back into the heart of our concrete city.

For more info visit: www.streetsareforpeople.org/blog/

 

Background

In April, 1970, the environmental movement burst onto the political stage with one of the largest grassroots demonstrations ever seen. Between 20 and 25 million people, mostly in the United States, answered the call on the first Earth Day. Event organizers were shocked at the response and marveled at the crowd that drew from every constituency: students and seniors; inner cities and small towns; faith groups and hippies.

The success of Earth Day shook the Nixon White House and, over the next year, Nixon spearheaded a series of environmental reforms: creating the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); regulating fuel efficiency and emission controls in automobiles; enacting laws protecting endangered species and habitats; signing the Clean Water Act; and more. No government before or since has equaled that environmental record and it was the fear of a rising movement that forced Nixon to act.

The Canadian government also reacted to the pressure from below for environmental action by forming a new federal Ministry of the Environment (Environment Canada) in 1971, pulling together various aspects of environmental policy that had previously been under the jurisdiction of a number of disparate ministries. This was followed by the development of environmental laws governing national parks, land use, wildlife and water.

Over the years, corporations began to fund and sponsor Earth Day events, some out of sincere interest, more out of desire to buy “green” credentials. This shifted the emphasis from public rallying to put pressure on politicians and policy makers, to predominantly innocuous and symbolic events. Large scale, interconnected mobilizations were out. Decentralized photo-ops were in. The unfortunate result was, most activists began to ignore Earth Day.

 

Help Us To Reclaim It!

Today we are faced with unprecedented environmental crises on one hand, and hypocrisy and inaction on the other. The time is NOW to reclaim the spirit of the ORIGINAL EARTH DAY, to pool our best ideas and give voice to our finest thinkers.

It is NOT the time to eliminate the position of National Science Advisor, muzzle scientists in the Ministry of the Environment (Environment Canada), overrule the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and fire its president, or downplay the warnings of eminent global scientists about climate change as the Harper government has done. Mr. Harper has reneged on Canada's commitment to meet Kyoto targets, obstructed progress at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali, Indonesia, and is failing the people of Canada and the world.

Having staged the Toronto contingent of the D8: Global Day of Action this past December, the largest D8 climate rally in Canada (more than 2500 participants and extensive non-corporate sponsorship and support), we want another big turnout at Reclaim Earth Day: U-Turn on Climate Change!

An opening performance by The New Kings and a featured performance by the Aboriginal Unity Singers are scheduled to headline a rally of approximately 8 speakers beginning at 12 noon at Yonge-Dundas Square, to be followed by a family-friendly parade west across Queen Street. At Spadina, we hope to arrange an officer-assisted U-turn in the intersection around a ceremonial tree carried from the rally (among other creative and colourful flourishes of activity), then return to John St. where Streets are for People will, as they did last year, stage a fun, interactive Street Festival.

If you support our cause but cannot provide a monetary or other contribution, your official endorsement of our event would be very appreciated -- all sponsors and endorsements will be acknowledged on our website here.

Please join our efforts to voice the need for urgent, aggressive action to cut greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, to encourage ever more stringent binding emission reductions targets, and to celebrate, defend and preserve a livable world for our children and all life.

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