Greta Thunberg arrives in Vancouver; the climate activist

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Greta Thunberg strikes outside the Swedish parliament last summer.
Photograph: Michael Campanella/The Guardian

Thunberg is in the city to take part in a downtown demonstration on Friday at 11 a.m. A youth-led organization called Sustainabiliteens is organizing the event. With many school districts in the Lower Mainland holding professional development days for teachers Friday, large crowds of students are possible.

The 16-year-old Thunberg rose to global prominence by staging weekly climate strikes outside the parliament building in her native Sweden. Her demand for more aggressive action to combat climate change inspired the Fridays For Future movement, which has seen students around the world join in the weekly protests.

Thunberg has been in North America since late August, when she sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to attend the United Nations’ Climate Action Summit.

Last Friday, Thunberg attended a climate strike rally in Edmonton that drew thousands of people to the lawn of the Alberta legislature.

Organizers of the Vancouver climate strike say they want the newly elected minority government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to create a Green New Deal that puts science-aligned emission reduction targets into legislation.

Ira Reinhart-Smith will be among the participants in Friday’s rally. Reinhart-Smith is one of the 15 Canadian young people who will be filing a lawsuit Friday claiming young people disproportionately suffer the effects of climate change.

“We have demanded change and don’t think enough has been taken, so we feel this is the best way,” Reinhart-Smith said. “This lawsuit will show the world how serious we are.”

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