Youth Climate Thinkers Get Political
Youth climate leaders from across Atlantic Canada spent the weekend at Thinkers Lodge in Pugwash where they grappled with the impending catastrophe of climate change.
Twenty young people, ranging in age from 15 to 29, spent three days in deep discussion culminating in personal and poetic statements on what needs to be done to lessen the impact of runaway carbon dioxide emissions affecting our atmosphere.
The youth coordinator of the retreat says, “This weekend has been powerful and transformational.” Lily Barraclough said, “These Thinkers have been brave, vulnerable, and open with each other.”
Barraclough says the climate issue is wrapped in other injustices including white supremacy, patriarchy, poverty, extraction, genocide of Indigenous people, colonization, and multiple other forms of oppression.”
The youth leader added, “The time to change our system, the one that has led to climate destruction, is now. There is no time to wait.”
Following the retreat, the thinkers planted a red oak as a symbol of hope and commitment. The ceremony included a traditional smudging and water offering led by two young Mi’kmaq women: Hannah Martin of Tatamagouche and Paulina Meader of Membertou.
A commemorative plaque will be installed at the site noting, “On this land of Mi’kma’ki, we are planting this tree to acknowledge the previous seven generations who built this world and to protect the Earth for the next seven generations. To combat the climate crisis, it is up to us to break the systems that are meant to destroy us.”
There was a certain sense that these thinkers were calling everyone to action. Kassidy Bernard of We’ko’gmaq First Nation admitted she had never voted before but she declared she will vote in the next election and urged others to follow. Bernard emphasized the need to support the green movement through the political process.
Barraclough reiterated the group’s overarching vision for the future “leaves no one behind and ensures a liveable climate and society for everyone.”
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