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UPDATE: Council participates in CYCC ‘Power Summer’ camps

This past summer the Council of Canadians participated in the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition’s ‘Power Summer’ camps across the country. The intent of the regional camps was to train grassroots youth organizers from coast to coast and to help build the climate justice movement.

THE PRAIRIES (July 15-17)
by Scott Harris
The Prairie iteration of the cross-Canada Canadian Youth Climate Coalition Power Summer Camps took place at Camp Meywasin, on the shore of Alberta’s Wabamun Lake.

Wabamun, which is ringed by three operational coal-fired plants – including Keephills 3, Canada’s most recently built coal plant – and was in 2003 the site a 1.3 million litre oil spill in 2005, offered a fitting location for a training camp focused on climate justice.

With participants from all three Prairie provinces in attendance, the camp began on Friday morning with a workshops on anti-oppression within the climate justice movement and continued with an in-depth look at history of First Nations peoples in Canada and the importance of the nation-to-nation relationship created through the treaty process.

Appropriately, given the proximity to some of the country’s largest coal generating plants, Friday evening featured a presentation on the just-approved Maxim coal plant by the Pembina Institute’s Tim Weis. The rush approval of the plant – blatantly intended to evade announced federal regulations on new coal plants – and the strategies needed to stop the plant coming on-line became one of the focal points of strategy discussions the next day. The evening also included a presentation and discussion of the role of art and culture in activism.

The second morning of the camp was focused on the history and theory non-violent direct action and civil disobedience, and how such tactics fit into overall campaign strategies. The afternoon was devoted to a more in-depth look at how to develop effective campaign strategies and to identify appropriate tactics. The day’s training concluded with a role-play that offered participants the opportunity to integrate the day’s information in planning a mock direct action aimed at an announcement by Maxim Coal representatives.

As with other camps, Sunday focused on train-the-trainer workshops on the CYCC’s Wings of Change campaign.

ONTARIO (August 19-21)
by Maryam Adrangi
The camp took place at Unicamp (just north of Toronto) and these folks have been very involved with the campaign against the proposed Melancthon Quarry. In fact, there were “Save our Water, Stop the Quarry” buttons everywhere.

Workshops began Friday morning and most of the day was filled with workshops on climate justice and anti-oppression. On the Friday night, Carl Cosack from the North Dufferin Agricultural and Community Taskforce came to speak to the participants and got folks really interested. He gave a very clear background on the situation and what is happening now. He spoke about Foodstock (October 16th) and encouraged some of the participants to get buses of people out to support the event.

Saturday was great. The morning was all campaign strategy and planning workshops and the afternoon and evening was all non-violent direct action facilitated by myself and Natalie Caine from Greenpeace. The case study we used the entire day was the Melancthon Quarry. Looking at who were targets in the campaign and how to develop strategies to engage particular targets, and how (if) would folks take direct action during the Stop the Quarry campaign (i.e. our role plays focused on the quarry).

On the Sunday, participants did workshops on some of CYCCs campaigns and how to get involved with teach-ins and the Council’s systemchange.ca project.

It was generally a really fun weekend.

BRITISH COLUMBIA (July 22-24)
ATLANTIC (August 12-14)

We will have reports on our participation at these camps shortly.

To read more about ‘Power Summer’, please go to http://www.ourclimate.ca/wordpress/projects-campaigns/power-summer/.