In Search of Fairness, In Search of Climate Justice

November 13, 2016 10:22 AM

Growing up as the eldest daughter of three in an immigrant South Asian family, fairness was not always easy to come by. “Christa, you have to be a good example for your brothers, you can’t go out gallivanting with your friends!”, “Christa, you have to keep your grades up, where is the remaining five percent? “Christa, you have certain responsibilities as a girl!” “Christa, you have …” -- you get the idea. I became quite accustomed to the idea of unfairness, but that didn’t mean I didn’t try to fight it. My parents will be more than happy to confirm that  I am their most stubborn, difficult, and persistent child. I recognized unfairness when I saw it and was relentless in the pursuit of justice in my household, my tiny brown fists always clenched and always up. My parents would have never have imagined that this was actually the best training I could’ve asked for to combat the horrors that awaited in the “real world”. [...]

It is time for Canada to commit to climate leadership

November 03, 2016 8:22 PM

I care about the safety and well being of my family, my friends and my community. I want to live on a planet that is healthy, strong and economically and environmentally resilient. We know that our future is being threatened by the climate crisis. So when I hear that new fossil fuel infrastructure is still being approved by the Canadian government despite mass opposition from community members and Indigenous peoples, in 2016, it frustrates me. [...]

COP21: A Ghost Story

January 28, 2016 2:29 PM

In the month since COP21, there has been no shortage of commentary and analysis of the talks. You can read about how COP21 was historic, the world’s greatest diplomatic success, and the end of the fossil fuel era. You can also read about how it’s a frayed life-line for the world’s poorest people, a sham, and the disappointing but inevitable result of a corporate circus.  You can read about how it’s not enough from the perspective of a young Canadian who attended the conference. And you can read about what it was like to be a young feminist activist speaking out on the conference. [...]

CYD Open Letter to Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna

December 08, 2015 6:25 AM

  Dear Minister McKenna, As members of the youth, we have grown up in a world where those most responsible for perpetuating the climate crisis hold a disproportionate amount of financial and political power. On the other hand, those that are most vulnerable to extreme climate events—predominantly racialized and Indigenous groups—are also the ones that are already the most marginalized. We call upon the Canadian government to play an active role in reversing this damaging power dynamic by shifting power away from corporations that are exacerbating this crisis. We need to see you promoting solutions that empower the Indigenous and frontline communities most impacted by climate change. [...]

Just Transitions, False Solutions, and Bullshit Detectors

November 28, 2015 5:20 AM

This blog was written by Stephen Thomas a member of the Canadian Youth Delegation to COP21. This blog was written in support of the Just Transition pillar of the CYD’s work, found immediately following this blog.   The Climate Justice movement is calling for tremendous change between now and 2050 – a 35-year window of opportunity to decarbonize our economies. We understand both the gravity and enormity of the transition for which we advocate. This transition will work to fundamentally change many of the social and economic systems that we belong to, today - and we wouldn’t have it any other way. This must happen quickly, but more so, this must happen justly. But what does a justice-based solution framework look like?         [...]

Respecting indigenous land rights: Too Good to be Trudeau?

November 26, 2015 1:32 PM

This piece has been authored by Ben Donato-Woodger member of the Canadian Youth Delegation and organizer with Toronto 350. When Justin Trudeau’s Government promised to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP, ratified by the UN in 2007), I was skeptical. It’s positive. It’s symbolic. It’s not a victory yet. I wrote my undergraduate thesis in rural Indonesia on the implementation of a REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), a UN programme that seeks to stop deforestation. In Indonesia, this means protecting forests on indigenous lands from the explosive growth of oil palm. Government officials said they had received the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) of Indigenous landholders. And yet, most people I interviewed seriously doubted the programme’s motives, did not understand what REDD+ was, and the government officers I interviewed who managed the programme viewed masyarakat (Indonesian for ‘society’ or ‘the people living there’) as a rambunctious rabble in need of guidance. FPIC was part of the checklist of processes officials were obligated to undertake rather than an imperative to build meaningful relationships and accountability.     [...]

AB's Climate Plan

November 24, 2015 8:35 AM

By: Nimra Amjad The Canadian Youth Delegation to COP21 welcomes the Alberta government’s Climate Leadership Plan as an important, historic step towards curbing emissions, capping carbon-intensive growth and facilitating the transition to cleaner economy. Basically...  To start off with, there is now a limit to growth in the tar sands. Let that sink in.   [...]

Tackling Misperceptions: Changing the Conversation on Climate in Canada

November 18, 2015 2:40 PM

By Brenna Owen Last month I returned to my alma mater, Queen’s University, on Homecoming weekend. One night I inevitably found myself at Queen’s Pub chatting with fellow alumni. I answered a few questions about what I do from someone I’ll refer to as Mr. Alum, who graduated from Queen’s Law in 1990. We got talking about Canada’s role in combating global climate change. The conversation unfolded in a familiar pattern, as I found myself defending the need for ambitious climate action from both moral and economic perspectives. I want to take this opportunity to tackle a couple of Mr. Alum’s misperceptions head on. [...]

What Happens When We Really Do Heave Steve?

October 18, 2015 2:13 PM

Almost a month go, the CYD gathered in person to get to know each other, and to talk about our strategies for COP21 in Paris. Inevitably, the election pervaded discussions about the upcoming UN climate negotiations: “What will a new (or not) government mean for the climate?” Our personal Facebook and Twitter feeds have been bursting with relevant articles on Prime Minister Harper’s abhorrent treatment of Indigenous peoples, of his suppression of voters, and of his government’s assault on science. According to the polls, we will see Stephen Harper ousted on October 20th and Justin Trudeau become Canada’s new Prime Minister. Harper, the man we have been rallying against with increasing intensity for an entire decade, will be relegated to sit in opposition or leave the House of Commons entirely. [...]

Unravelling Landscapes -- Climate Chaos in 2015

August 06, 2015 3:38 PM

By Atiya Jaffar Growing up, I was a child of many worlds. I tiptoed over the hot sand on the beaches of Karachi. Pakistan, until waves of cool water washed over my feet. I boarded ferries on the Bosphorus in Istanbul, mystified every time by the ability of a thin channel of water to divide a city over two continents. And as I moved even farther West, into the Coast Salish lands that some identify as Vancouver, I found myself sprawled on the ground, completely taken by the magnificent forests-- as an adolescent, I could have sworn that the trees stretched into the heavens. [...]