Chants of "System change, not climate change" rang through the streets of downtown Charlottetown on Friday.
Upwards of 100 Islanders marched through the streets as part of the local edition of the Global Climate Strike. Similar events are taking place around the world between September 15 and 17, all organized by local groups.
"It's the reality we live in. It's not going away; it's just going to escalate," said Mille Clarkes, one of the organizers of the P.E.I. event.
She said the main goal of the event was to call on all levels of government to make changes, including halting all new fossil fuel developments and transitioning to clean energy.
But on top of that, the event was an opportunity for like-minded folks to come together and counteract the sense of powerlessness that often accompanies climate change.
Everyone's going to go away with a little spark today and that spark's going to spread. — Mille Clarkes
"Young people, old people, people from all different backgrounds, just showing that this is just an issue that affects everybody. It's the issue of our age," Clarkes said.
The march started and ended at the Coles Building in downtown Charlottetown, with numerous speakers from local non-governmental organizations.
Aiming to inspire
One young attendee, eight-year-old Desmond MacPherson, said he wanted to inspire others.
"I really think that if you just start doing stuff, other people will look at you and say 'Wow, that's cool, maybe I could do that.' And then you have two people doing it. And then before you know it, you have like thousands of people doing it," he said.
Kathleen McRae from Charlottetown said she's always been a lover of nature, and took part in the hope that the event will draw more people's attention to the environment.
"I believe that we can do more — and if we can just activate people, then perhaps we can stop some of these things that are eroding in our environment," she said.
As for Clarkes, she said she was heartened to see the turnout at the event, and hopes it will inspire folks to take action.
"Everyone's going to go away with a little spark today and that spark's going to spread," she said. "I know the issue's big. I know we're not going to change the world, but we're starting somewhere and it matters."