#PowerShift: Youth to gather for climate justice this week in Ottawa

The Council of Canadians is proud to help sponsor PowerShift Young and Rising, a climate justice convergence organized by youth, for youth in Ottawa February 14 to 18.

The first PowerShift in Canada happened in 2009, and since then the annual or semi-annual gatherings have mobilized passionate young people from many walks of life to explore ways of taking action to confront the climate crisis.

As their website explains, “PowerShift is about youth learning from each other, learning together, and using that knowledge to develop common strategies for creating visionary change. PowerShift aims to ensure that once the convergence is over, the youth climate movement continues to grow through our networks, continued capacity building, and strategic action.”

From Aamjiwnaang to Wet’suwet’en, it’s critical that frontline land and water defenders and communities of colour fighting for a livable future can access events like Powershift. That’s why  one-third of the gathering’s budget is allocated to bursaries for their Frontline Fund and Needs-Based Bursaries.

Bronwen Tucker, the Council of Canadians’ new Energy and Climate Justice campaigner, is deeply involved in the youth movement that is pushing for a 100% renewable future.

She recently sent this message about PowerShift to Council supporters:

I’m 26 years-old, which means I’m part of the first generation to feel the impacts of climate change, and the last that can do something about it.

Politicians have been stalling on acting on climate change for my whole life. But young people like me all over the world are starting to take bold action. We’re holding climate strikes, running fossil fuel divestment campaigns, taking direct action to stop pipelines, and confronting environmental racism in our communities.

I believe this rising tide of youth action is one of our best hopes to build the just transition to a renewable economy we need.

The problem is, there are precious few places for young people to learn organizing skills and build relationships with others trying to grapple with the overlapping crises of climate change, inequality, and racism.

That’s why I’m so excited that in less than a week, hundreds of young people from across Canada will gather in Ottawa on the lands of the Algonquin Anishinabe for a for-youth, by-youth convergence called PowerShift: Young and Rising.

This year’s convergence will continue the legacy of past PowerShifts to build a strong movement to keep fossil fuels in the ground and build a 100% renewable future.

Here are some of the incredible workshops and keynotes the PowerShift convergence has planned:

• Panels, workshops, and planning spaces to craft the planks for what a “Green New Deal” (a bold, justice-based plan to overhaul our energy system) would look like in Canada;

• Tactical action trainings led by young climbers from the U.S. who flew a banner that read “RESIST” off a crane in front of the White House after Donald Trump’s election;

• A performance night with the Ottawa River Singers, Socialist Hip Hop and other performers;

• And a powerhouse line-up of keynote speakers including Kanahus Manuel, Eriel Deranger, Harsha Walia, Sean Devlin, Manitoba's former Grand Chief Derek Nepinak, plus more exciting workshop facilitators and panelists.

Read more about PowerShift and register.

If you can, donate to help the Council bring youth to Ottawa for this incredible event.