People were for the most part friendly and open to the Hamilton 350 Elders 4 Climate Sanity at the Festival of Friends on Saturday in lovely Gage Park, Hamilton. We each spoke with dozens of festival goers.
The Elders chose a “Friends Protect Friends from the Climate Crisis” theme to complement the festival. We spoke mostly to families with young children, and had some good conversations with parents and grandparents. MP Matthew Green saw us and offered to take and post a video of three of us.
Working mostly in pairs, we circulated through the Festival, reaching out to folks with our Your Money Can Make A Difference flyers. They urge people to take their money out of fossil banks and deposit it in credit unions. We need to let banks know we won’t tolerate their continued funding of companies such as TC Energy and Enbridge that worsen the climate crisis, desecrate sacred headwaters, and trample on Indigenous sovereignty. The Big 5 banks must divest from and defund these criminal companies to keep our business.
One woman expressed concern about how terrible what the banks and extraction companies are doing, then sighed and said, “But we can’t live without oil and gas.” (She didn’t mention coal.) This is a profound belief of many in Hamilton and around the world, and a real challenge for climate justice activists to respond to in a way that will further understanding and bring people on board to work together on mitigation. Perhaps the only answer to that woman’s assertion that makes sense is that humanity has only relied on these petro-fuels for several hundred years, so surely we can reduce our dependency and learn to go on without them in time to save ourselves, hard as that rigorous challenge may be to imagine.
Many species are gone; the hope we nurture is our desire to protect as many remaining ones as we can, along with our own future generations. The two are indivisible.
The Festival of Friends’ beautiful logo is a bird in flight. Birds, just like musicians’ talents, inspire us. We humans must use the wings of our imagination to find a completely new way of living that puts banks and companies like TC Energy and Enbridge in their place. A radical realignment of power is our only chance at survival and eventual regeneration of the ecosystem and our interconnected social system. These fossil banks and extractive companies are not our friends, nor are their grinding commercial imperatives compatible with the necessary vibrant regeneration of Earth’s air, surfaces, waters, and depths!
Two friendly people offered to take photos for us when they saw us attempting a selfie.
We should add that Gail and her neighbour Leturcia were also part of this event.