Surging temperatures demand a surge in action: Nurses call for action on climate breakdown at rallies across Ontario
As Canada grapples with its most severe wildfire season ever and world leaders prepare to attend the United Nations Secretary-General’s Climate Ambition Summit later this month, members of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) are mobilizing and calling on the provincial and federal government to put forth a science-based plan that addresses the climate emergency.
“This season's forest fires are just one example of the severity and scale of the crisis before us,” says RNAO President Dr. Claudette Holloway. “We’ve witnessed an array of extreme weather, including heat domes, flooding, and catastrophic hurricanes. And, all of this is happening at a time governments continue to support the fossil fuel industry instead of adopting sustainable energy options to save our planet.”
Holloway is calling on the public to join nurses and other activists on Saturday, Sept. 16 at Queen’s Park for the Global March to End Fossil Fuels. Organized by a coalition of climate justice organizations in Toronto, and as part of a global mobilization, the rally will demand that the provincial and federal government end their support for fossil fuels and the financial interests that are delaying action on the climate crisis. Also calling attention to the climate emergency, the Fridays for Future Global Climate Strike takes place in Ottawa on Friday, Sept. 15 on Parliament Hill. Local events are happening across Ontario – view the interactive map on fridaysforfuture.ca.
“These rallies are an important step to unify the public in demanding governments work together to take decisive and strong action at scale to combat the climate crisis and ensure Canadians do not continue to suffer from the climate disasters we are facing,” says RNAO CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun. “It is also a reminder that we can’t escape the climate crisis. The wildfire smoke that has surrounded millions of Canadians this season is impacting our health and wellbeing as well as displacing communities. This is only a taste of what is to come unless we act now.”
As of late August 2023, 15 million hectares of land across Canada – almost 27 times the size of Prince Edward Island – have gone up in smoke this year in thousands of wildfires. The fires, which led to mandatory evacuations in Yellowknife, the Northwest Territories and several other communities also threatened people’s lives forced to breathe massive quantities of harmful pollutants released in the air from the fires.
“We must stand together in solidarity to force governments to end fossil fuels and put forward a credible climate emergency plan backed by science,” says RNAO President-Elect Lhamo Dolkar. “We urge everyone to come out and make your voice heard – we need to tell Premier Doug Ford and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to behave like this is an emergency – because it is one.”
Nurses ask everyone to sign RNAO’s Action Alert to demand action now!
WHAT: Global March to End Fossil Fuels
- RNAO President Dr. Claudette Holloway
- RNAO President-Elect Lhamo Dolkar
- RNAO Ontario Nurses for the Environment Interest Group Co-Chair Josalyn Radcliffe
- Nurses, physicians and the public
- 11 a.m. ET – rally
- 12 p.m. ET – march
WHERE: In front of Queen’s Park, 100 Wellesley St. W., Toronto, Ont.
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses, nurse practitioners and nursing students in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public we serve. For more information about RNAO, visit RNAO.ca or follow us on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook and Instagram.
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