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Council of Canadians helps organize PowerShift youth climate conference

The Council of Canadians helped to organize the PowerShift conference in Edmonton (Treaty 6 territory) this weekend.

Edmonton-based Council of Canadians organizer Diane Connors was part of the core organizing team, reached out to youth across the country, made local connections for the event, integrated arts into the programming, ensured there was accessible space for involvement from communities we are in solidarity with, and moderated a panel this weekend.

Last week, Metro News reported, “Organized by youth, Powershift brings together leaders in the environment, indigenous communities and alternative energy workers. The conference first started as a national event in Ottawa in 2009, it branched out regionally between 2012 and 2015 and for the first time will be held in Alberta. …The conference will feature conversations on renewable energy meant to get young people thinking about jobs in the sector. …As well, the Indigenous groups have had a central role in organizing the conference. Questions of self determination, land sovereignty and looking at how the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples form a key conversation on climate justice.”

CBC notes, “The conference began Friday and featured sessions focused on social justice and advocacy, Indigenous issues, campaign organization, and the economics of sustainability. The conference is geared towards youth aged 16 to 30, but welcomed all ages.”

And CKNW reports, “A unique showcase dedicated to educating Alberta’s youth about climate change is set to wrap up this weekend. The University of Alberta is the site of Power Shift Alberta, a climate change conference aimed at youths. The event is hosted by the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition, and featured speakers, workshops and panels exploring solutions in a collaborative setting.”

Quotes from panelists collected by Diane on Saturday include:

– “People say we’re lucky to have oil, but water is the most important resource we are blessed with. This is what we’re fighting for in the fracking issue.” – Aiyana Jane, feminist land defender from Treaty No. 6 Territory

– “It was hard, but it was all worth it to get the moratorium. It can be hard being against fracking in First Nations – some Chiefs and people are for it. But we all need to work together to protect the water and the land – we are all treaty people” – Darlene Meguinis, Tsuu T’ina First Nation

Diane says, “I cannot describe the heart-busting feeling of love I had for all these people while hearing them talk about better futures, stories of solidarity, and their visions for a different world. People power!”

For more updates from PowerShift Alberta, please click here.

Further reading
Council of Canadians supports PowerShift conference, April 1-3 (Feb. 25, 2016)