Demonstrators at Yonge and Dundas streets waiting to occupy the intersection in protest. (Photo: Zahra Khozema)

Topics: Justice | Environment

Interfaith climate protest takes over busy Toronto intersection

"Faith, not fossil fuels," chanted the demonstrators

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On Monday evening during rush hour, one of Toronto’s busiest intersections was closed to traffic for a protest to push Canada to take action on the climate crisis.

Cars honked as well over 100 people, along with local faith leaders from Christian, Jewish and Muslim traditions and the climate advocacy group Extinction Rebellion Toronto gathered at Yonge and Dundas streets for 15 minutes.

“If there is no sense of urgency for all these people that are honking, because they wanna get home, at this rate, their home is not gonna be worth very much if climate change continues to accelerate,” said Imam El-Farouk Khaki of Toronto Unity Mosque, who spoke at the protest.

To watch the entire protest, check out our live video on Facebook.

Rev. Dr. Cheri DiNovo from Trinity St. Paul’s United Church organized the event, with the help of Toronto police to block off the intersection. Protesters waved banners and signs that called for climate action and chants like “faith, not fossil fuels” echoed in the busy square.

Rabbi Aviva Goldberg and Imam El-Farouk Khaki waiting to speak at the protest (Photo: Zahra Khozema)

“The reason that we have people of the book here today, Christians, Muslims, and Jews, is that we represent 24 million of the 37 million Canadians,” DiNovo said on a speakerphone.

“So don’t let any politician ever use religion as a mask for not doing the right thing on climate change.”

DiNovo, Rabbi Aviva Goldberg from the Shir Libeynu congregation and Khaki also spoke about the responsibility that people of faith have as stewards of this planet.

“It’s one of the tenets of Judaism. We have a responsibility to the earth,” Goldberg said. “We can’t stand back. Our livelihoods and our existences are being destroyed.”

The Raging Grannies singing about ending climate change. (Photo: Zahra Khozema)

All three faith leaders used the term “climate crisis” instead of “climate change” to bring urgency to the worsening matter. “This is a crisis, not just an issue, or a problem… because we’re coming close to the point of no return,” said Khaki.

The rain, pedestrian traffic and rush hour were obstacles, said Khaki, but people still came together. “Everything from the Raging Grannies, to representatives of three faith traditions and non-faith people, shows that concerns and understanding of this as a crisis is pervasive and cuts across all kinds of differences.”

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Zahra Khozema was Broadview's summer digital intern.

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  • says:

    “The reason that we have people of the book here today, Christians, Muslims, and Jews, is that we represent 24 million of the 37 million Canadians,” DiNovo said on a speakerphone.

    I severely doubt this claim.

    - - -
    “We can’t stand back. Our livelihoods and our existences are being destroyed.”
    Yet all three faiths believe that God will put an end to "days". The three faiths never state that man will end it, or are we acting on God's behalf because He lied, changed His mind or we really don't believe what He claims?