04/21/2013 05:57 EDT | Updated 06/21/2013 05:12 EDT

Thousands march in Montreal for Earth Day

Even though Earth Day is officially tomorrow, Montrealers got a head start this afternoon and hit the streets for the environment.

This year’s Earth Day march was specifically targeted against oil sands, said Patrick Bonin, a campaigner for Greenpeace.

“We need to reduce our oil consumption and this is not what we’re seeing from the federal and the provincial [governments],” he said.

He pointed to Enbridge’s attempts to have Line 9, a pipeline that travels through southern Quebec, reversed.

“We’re asking the government… to get a real plan in terms of climate change,” Bonin said.

Karel Mayrand, the Quebec director for the David Suzuki Foundation, echoed that sentiment.

He said Canadians are being told by the federal government and by oil companies that there are no choices but to expand oil production.

He said there was a lack of dialogue between the government, the public and members of the scientific community.

“Instead of actually taking part in the normal democratic processes, people have to go out in the streets,” Mayrand said.

Last year’s Earth Day march coincided with the height of Quebec’s student movement, which celebrated the 22nd of every month with a massive demonstration.

This year's marchers travelled from Place des Festivals on Jeanne-Mance Street to Place du Canada near Bonaventure train station.

The demonstration was more subdued than last year's, and a number of what Mayrand said were middle class families with children came out to lend their support.

“They have this profound belief that the decisions they make today will actually build a future for their children,” he said.