Climate Justice (Level 2 — What Are Human Rights?)

Explore the connections between human rights and climate change that are at the heart of the climate justice movement.

June 2022 to December 2024

A crowd of youth hold protest signs and stand behind a large banner that reads “La Terre Mère,” or “mother earth” in English. Partially obscured.

Canadian Press, photograph by Paul Chiasson

Exhibition details

The exhibit “Climate Justice” highlights the connections between human rights and climate change, foregrounding youth activism and voices.

Striking for the Climate

Thousands of people are holding protest signs and banners while marching in a street.

Climate strikers filling the streets of Montréal, September 27, 2019.

Getty Images, photograph by Martin Ouellet-Diotte

In 2019, youth worldwide go on school strikes. Instead of going to class, they take over city streets. Loudly, boldly, they denounce inaction on climate change. They fill the streets and protest with signs expressing anger about their uncertain future. They fear nothing will change – except the climate.

Greta Thunberg went on a school strike in 2018. At age 15, she ignited a global movement. Five hundred thousand people took to the streets of Montreal with her on September 27, 2019. There were more strikes in 150 cities around the world on that day.

Protecting the Land and Water

Several large triangular banners hang from the bottom of a large bridge.

Banners designed by Indigenous artists hanging from the Iron Workers Memorial Bridge to block oil tanker traffic, Vancouver, 2018.

Greenpeace, photograph by Tim Aubry

Many Indigenous youth are opposed to the exploitation of fossil fuels. They stand against pipelines to prevent harm to the land and all its living beings. They denounce the impacts of oil and gas projects on communities already experiencing discrimination, abuses and violations.

The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion brought Indigenous land defenders and climate activists together in waves of protest across Canada. A 40‐foot by 10‐foot (12 metre by 3 metre) protest banner designed by a young Tsleil‐Waututh artist from unceded Coast Salish lands in British Columbia, Ocean Hyland, hangs from the ceiling of the gallery.

Video: Banner designed by Indigenous artists hanging from the Iron Workers Memorial Bridge

Code Red for Humanity

Vertical stripes arranged with shades of blue on the left and shades of red on the right.

Stripes illustrating global warming between 1850 and 2020. They show a progression from blue (cool) to red (warm). The planet is warming because of human activity. The burning of fossil fuels is the main source of greenhouse gas emissions. Like a blanket, the gases wrap around the earth and cause the temperature to rise and rise.

Ed Hawkins:

Climate change is widespread, rapid and intensifying. Science tells us this with numbers and models. People around the world experience it in their everyday lives. Communities least responsible for the emissions causing global warming are those whose health, livelihoods and rights are most negatively impacted.

Around the world, higher temperatures, unpredictable rainfalls, floods and droughts are causing dire health consequences for poor and vulnerable communities.

A woman holds a scuffed black rubber bag with a roughly shaped curved metal handle spanning the top.

In Chad, where handmade waterskins like this one are often the only means to access water, food and water insecurity are made worse by climate change.

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

Climate Justice opens in the What Are Human Rights? gallery on Level 2 in June 2022 and runs until December 1st, 2024.