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Youth draw line in the sand on Parliament Hill: Climate demands delivered

Today, I walked to Parliament Hill to join youth with the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition deliver a message to MPs.

With their ‘wind turbine’ and ‘line in the sand’ they delivered a set of demands to MPs outside of Parliament Hill.

I arrived at the beginning of the action, a number of MPs were scheduled to come out a little later to receive the demands.

The demands are part of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition’s Wings of Change campaign.

Both Maude and the Council of Canadians have endorsed the campaign.

The objectives of the campaign are:

1. Secure the endorsement of all five national political party leaders for our call from youth of Canada.

2. Educate youth across Canada to understand climate change and what it means for them, and their future.

3. Empower and inspire youth and adults from coast to coast to take action to build the safe, clean and just future that we need create.

The CYCC is inviting all politicians to join them by signing onto their demands, and calling on the leaders of each federal political party to publicly sign on by November 4th. If all party leaders have not signed on by that date, they will organize a delegation of youth to go to Parliament Hill to get their signatures.

You can find out more about the campaign here: Wings of Change Campaign

Here are their demands:

Our Generation, Our Future, Our Demands.

We are young people from across Canada, asking you to listen.

As the arctic is melting before our eyes andas small island nations disappear beneath rising sea levels, we see our government failing to act on the greatest crisis of our time. We are crossing the tipping point, knowing that this is the world that we are inheriting, but we refuse to pass this crisis on to our children.

This is a call to action.

We know that the enormous challenges we currently face are also powerful opportunities, and that the solutions to the climate and energy crisis can also pave the way to recovery from our current economic crisis, through the creation of jobs, a renewed investment in arts, culture and education, and a shift towards an economic and political system that reflects the needs of our generation. Our country must take this chance, and work on building healthy, fair and sustainable communities.

Our demands are simple:

1. Justice across generations

Young people today, and future generations, have the right to live on a healthy planet that is free from the dangerous impacts of climate change.

2. Justice between people of the same generation

Climate change is disproportionately harming the health and livelihoods of those least able to influence decisions made at national and international levels. Efforts to tackle climate change must take into account the needs of those at greatest risk, such as Indigenous people, women, people of colour, workers and communities across the Global South, and to do this effectively, decision-makers need to start listening to their voices. Such efforts must address the injustices we see across the world today, not enhance existing inequalities. Everyone deserves a community and environment in which they can live safely.

3. Youth participation and deliberation in government decision-making

As youth, we are inheriting the legacies of past generations. The impacts of climate change and the responsibility for mitigating them will fall squarely on our shoulders. Policies on climate change mitigation and adaptation will have long-lasting impacts on the lives of young people and we must be actively involved in shaping them.

4. Just transition to a Green Economy

Communities and workers must not be forced to choose between making a living and preserving the planet. As more and more youth struggle to find meaningful employment and pay down mounting debt, we expect an immediate strategy for a just and timely transition towards meaningful, green jobs for all.

5. Energy for today, tomorrow and the future

Fossil fuel extraction is feeding the system of production and consumption that in turn fuels climate change. Justice across and between generations, on the other hand, requires an immediate plan to transition to a zero carbon economy. As a nation with a large supply of oil and gas reserves, it is our responsibility to become a leader in transitioning away from fossil fuels in order to become a leader in renewable energy production.

Youth in Canada are already building the solutions we need, from local food production and sustainable transportation, to a green and just economy that provides stable employment for people of all generations while addressing the moral and legal obligations to reduce our emissions and address the climate crisis.