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____ Monday November 30, 2015 ____

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COP21

Nearly 500 People Marched Yesterday in Waterloo Region in support of Bold Climate Action in Paris

Waterloo Region - A diverse crowd of nearly 500 people took to the streets yesterday for a historic march through Uptown Waterloo, calling on the world’s leaders to take bold, decisive action to address the global climate crisis at COP21 -- the 2015 Paris Climate Conference This was the largest climate action rally and march in our region's history.

A broad coalition of environmental, social justice, faith, labour, community, student and indigenous groups, as well as families and concerned citizens, marched in support of justice-based climate solutions and urging our new federal government to show leadership on addressing climate change.

Mayor Dave Jaworsky welcomed the marchers at Waterloo Public Square. Mayor Berry Vrbanovic shared his experiences at COP15 and his hopes for COP21 with the crowd. “Climate change affects all of us. Canadian cities are at the forefront of climate change action. There is lots of optimism and co-ordination of effort for COP21. All voices of government are speaking with the same voice.”

Myeengun Henry, a band councillor with Chippewa of the Thames First Nation, spoke after the march on climate and social justice and told the Two Row Wampum account of friendship between peoples. “Chippewas of the Thames First Nation has been on these lands since time immemorial. We've shared the land so that we all can have the things necessary for life. As First Nations people, as the indigenous people of this land, our first and major concern is our Mother the Earth. We'll hold on to that responsibility as long as we're here. We're asking the people of this country to march with us as a nation and as proud Canadians to stand up for our Mother the Earth."

Dave Jaworsky said: “Climate change is something we are acting on here. In addition, we are acting on mitigation (of climate change effects) here.”

Bardish Chagger said: “All of us have a role to play. Our government is at the table. Our government is listening.”

Catherine Fife said: “It's important that we are together and fighting. We don't have the luxury to be passive.”

Ken Seiling said: “Municipalities are working together on this issue. Together we will make this a better place for our children and grandchildren.”

Dorothy Wilson, one of the march organizers, said: "I am a member of the Nith Valley Ecoboosters, a newly formed environmental group in the western portion of Waterloo Region, and one of the groups helping to organize the march. I am participating in this walk because I am very worried about how climate change is going to negatively impact our world and because I hope that the public demonstrations that take place today in Waterloo and around the world will increase the pressure on governments to take immediate and significant action to address this issue."

Tanya Schmah, member of Divest Waterloo, said: “I’m here because global warming threatens everything I love. We have to stop it, we know how to stop it, and what’s missing is the political will
and shared courage to act. We’re here today to support and push our leaders to take the bold action that is needed in Paris in this coming week.”

Louisette Lanteigne, one of the march organizers, said: “I've been organizing climate change marches and events in Waterloo Region for over 6 years. On October 24, 2009, we had the first climate march in the region to demand a ratified treaty to maintain CO2 levels at a maximum of 387 parts per million. On November 29, 2015, we re-united again in Waterloo Square to demand a treaty in a world where CO2 has already exceeded 400 parts per million. The last time CO2 levels were this high, humans did not exist. We are advancing on an uncharted path, but one thing is certain. Treaty or no treaty, the biggest force of change in the world is you. What you do, what you buy, what you eat and how you move can govern the fate of fossil fuel sectors, governments and banking systems. If we change, they'll change. They have no choice, but you do, so choose wisely!

Shannon Purves-Smith, one of the march organizers, said: “Money is not as important as life.”

Tracey Rayner of Waterloo Blue Dot said: “Waterloo Blue Dot believes in environmental rights for all and we are proud to be part of a growing environmental movement, both locally and globally. The Waterloo march gives our community the chance to come together and add our voice to the millions of people around the world who are demanding climate justice.”

Sylvie Spraakman, member of TransitionKW, said: “TransitionKW is here because regular citizens, like the ones in Waterloo, are ready to transition to a world not dependent on fossil fuels. But we need our governments to take action too in order to make the full transition--and we call on them to take those necessary and earth-saving steps at COP 21.”

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