Why Vancouver will never be the same after today's speech by teenage climate revolutionary Greta Thunberg

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      The vast majority of Canadian media outlets haven't devoted a great deal of attention to the environmental protests that have taken place in Britain this month. 

      But those who've been paying attention are aware that it's become a rebellion, attracting the support of broad segments of well-educated people.

      To put it bluntly, they're freaked out about the future, given the trajectory of rising greenhouse gas emissions.

      "The climate crisis is one of the most, I would say the most, existential crisis facing our communities in the world today." Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of the Lancet, a prestigious medical journal, said this week. "Doctors and all health professionals have a responsibility, an obligation, to engage in all kinds of nonviolent social protests to address the climate emergency. That is the duty of the doctor."

      This is the backdrop for Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg's visit to Vancouver today.

      She'll speak at a climate strike on the north side of the Vancouver Art Gallery at a rally taking place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

      Fittingly, she'll be in šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square, which was renamed last year in honour of the region's Indigenous heritage.

      Expect to hear some of her trademark phrases, like:

      * "Our house is on fire."

      * "How dare you?"

      * "No one is too small to make a difference."

      These are inspiring words for young and old.

      And these remarks by a global icon are going to breathe energy into the nascent Vancouver climate rebellion, which has been fairly tepid in comparison to what's happening in Britain.

      Only 10 people were arrested in an October 7 protest on the Burrard Bridge in Vancouver. Nobody was arrested when Extinction Rebellion went on a snakewalk through the streets of Vancouver on October 18, escorted by Vancouver police.

      That compares to more than 1,800 arrests in London during two weeks of protests this month.

      But Thunberg's arrival in Vancouver is going to up the ante going forward.

      More young people will be mobilized. More older adults will reflect on the horrific state that they've left the planet in for future generations.

      For the first time in millennia, human beings are having serious conversations about whether their species could go extinct as a result of mass industrialization and the relentless increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases. 

      It's hard not to see how a more vigorous extinction rebellion won't arise in Vancouver in the face of this situation.

      Thunberg has been the catalyst in Europe and she's now becoming the catalyst in North America.

      That's why her visit to Vancouver is so significant.