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

VIDEO: Chilliwack arson victim lights up rural property like a runway

Chris Thompson had enough after twice having barns torched in suspicious circumstances

Car giveaway set for MEI on Friday

One lucky alumni member will receive a new Mazda 3

How would crowded Fraser Valley hospitals deal with patient surge? Officials won’t say

Amid coronavirus case and crowding issues, health officials won’t say where more patients would go

Sasquatch Mountain Aussie Day celebration raises $800

Proceeds of bikini runs, toonie tosses and more go to wildfire victims

Abbotsford Police issue 81 speeding tickets in school zones over 2 days

‘30 in 30’ traffic-enforcement blitz took place last Thursday and Friday

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Bystander who tried to help dog being attacked not liable for its death: B.C. tribunal

Owner of dog killed tried to get $5,000 in damages from man who tried to save it

INFOGRAPHIC: See how fast your B.C. city grew in 2019

The province’s fastest-growing municipalities were located on Vancouver Island

Landowner hearings begin for Trans Mountain expansion in Alberta

Detailed route talks start in Spruce Grove, in B.C. communities soon

VIDEO: Canada looking to help 126 Canadians quarantined in China for coronavirus

China has confirmed more than 4,500 cases of the new virus, with more than 100 deaths

Alessia Cara to host and perform at 2020 Juno Awards

Multi-platinum Canadian singer-songwriter also up for six awards, including Artist of the Year

Watch out for scams, clickbait in the wake of Kobe Bryant’s death: Better Business Bureau

Kobe Bryant and his daughter were killed in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles

Surrey massage therapist suspended for reading books on cellphone during treatments

Investigation sparked by patient who was concerned she’d been photographed

‘Very disrespectful’: Headstones at Okanagan cemetery damaged by excavation crew

Headstones at Enderby’s Cliffside Cemetery mistakenly driven over by excavation crew

Most Read