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XR Guelph Update

January was a busy month for Extinction Rebellion Guelph! We spent our time organizing and getting to a couple of actions– both on our own and in solidarity with other climate and social justice groups.

Wet’suwet’en Solidarity

On January 24th several of our members took part in a collaborative action among Indigenous people, University of Guelph students and many other community members to occupy the RBC in downtown Guelph. The purpose was to draw attention to RBC’s investment in the planned Coastal GasLink pipeline which runs through traditional Wet’suwet’en territory and to demand that RBC divest. Protesters entered the bank and peacefully read their demands to the managers and employees of the bank.

Extinction Rebellion Guelph is in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people in protecting their sovereignty and sacred inherent right to protect their land.

Feb. 6 Elementary School Teacher Strikes

On February 6th, Extinction Rebellion groups all over Ontario took to the streets in solidarity with Ontario teachers and their cause against the Ford cuts, and also to bring important news to them about destructive investments being made by the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan (OTPP) that they have the power to change.

A group of students from North Somerset, England have filmed an open letter appealing directly to Ontario teachers to take a hard look at the environmental and social impact of their pension fund. These students are about to be directly impacted by Bristol Airport Expansion which is owned by the OTPP. The planned expansion puts profits before people and will pose an enormous human and environmental cost.

Teachers deserve true retirement security and the fossil fuel sector is expected to lose value in the coming years. Teachers have pressured their pension managers to divest before. Now they have the force and momentum to do so again.

We support our teachers and we know, that once informed, our teachers will put the necessary pressure on the OTTP to protect young people, both here in Ontario and around the world.

If you know a teacher, please consider asking them if they know how their pension plan is investing their retirement funds.

Upcoming Events

Monday, Feb. 10th Solidarity With Wet’suwet’en

As part of the International Days of Action in Solidarity with Wet’suwet’en, the Indigenous Student Association of the University of Waterloo invites you to come out to stand in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people who are defending their land from forceful paramilitary occupation. To learn more about this event, check out their Facebook page.

Tuesday, Feb. 11th Ontario and Newham England OTPP Airport Protest

Despite a motion passed by the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (and a similar motion expected from the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation) directing their representative on the Ontario Teachers’ Federation to divest from fossil fuels, the OTPP isn’t listening. Youth from Bristol have begged the plan not to expand their local airport, but the Pension fund managers are ignoring them. The pension fund is also expanding the London City airport in the face of considerable local opposition.

The local Extinction Rebellion groups in the UK (XR Newham) has contacted XR Ontario asking for support in fighting the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan’s (OTPP) decision. XR Newham will be protesting this on Feb. 11th. They are live-streaming their action and we will have the video on our social media accounts. They have asked Ontario groups to show support in any way they can.

Here in Ontario, Extinction Rebellion Toronto is hosting a protests outside of the Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan offices on February 11. They will be offering passersby the choice of free coal (provided by the pension plan) and free apples (provided by actual retired teachers). This is a non-disruptive action is designed to inform teachers and the general public of the toxic (and financially risky) investments in their pension plan.

Feb. 28 – Mar. 1 Rebel Knowledge Symposium: Moving from Climate Crisis to Climate Justice

Hosted by OPIRG at the University of Guelph

Rebel Knowledge is an annual social and environmental justice symposium that brings together activists, radical academics, critical researchers, and community organizers to learn, share, and strategize. Aiming to bridge divides and build relationships, Rebel Knowledge is a convergence of academic and community research and activism. This year, the symposium is geared towards people who are involved in climate justice struggles, those who want to get involved, and those whose organizing and research are valuable contributions to the struggle. The goal is to develop a more effective, intersectional and intergenerational movement around climate change.