COLUMN: Nelson youth present climate change petition to parliament

From columnist Laura Sacks

By Laura Sacks

Recent L.V. Rogers grads Alyssa Taburiaux and Linn Murray know climate change is affecting them now and will impact their futures.

With that in mind, the pair drafted a petition asking for action on global warming and recently asked local MP Wayne Stetski to present the petition in the House of Commons.

The petition asks for a detailed climate action strategy that includes science-based targets for greenhouse gas reduction with a plan to meet them.

They also request a comprehensive and steadily rising national carbon price and elimination of fossil fuel subsidies, with redirection of investments into renewable energy systems, energy efficiency, low-carbon transportation, and job training.

“The idea for this petition came when we were in Ottawa lobbying for climate solutions last November,” said Murray. “We heard from MPs from all parties that climate change is an urgent issue. But many of them feel they aren’t hearing from enough Canadians to support the kind of bold actions that are required to seriously address the issue, and are tied down by partisanship.”

“We hope that this petition from our youth perspective will give them pause to reflect that this is an urgent issue that directly impacts our generation,” added Taburiaux. “Our actions or inactions today will be felt for generations.”

MP Stetski was extremely receptive to the presenting the petition.

“There is no doubt that our young people are going to face many challenges due to the effects of climate change,” said Stetski.

“Having youth as part of this conversation is incredibly important and I look forward to presenting this petition and bringing their calls for real action from the government to the floor of Parliament.”

This petition was already presented once in Parliament by area MP Richard Cannings. As more signatures are gathered, Cannings offered to present the petition again.

The petition calls on the House of Commons to support the future of young Canadians by fulfilling Canada’s obligations under the Paris Agreement.

It states that youth are concerned that current actions of the federal government are failing to meet those commitments, leaving them with an uncertain future in which they can grow, survive, and thrive

The young petitioners also stress that “youth want jobs that are sustainable – not for short-term gain at the expense of future generations.”

Taburiaux and Murray have been very active members of the local chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL). Their travel expenses to Ottawa were crowdfunded by many donations from our local community.

Taburiaux, who is attending Selkirk College this fall, enjoys her work as a climate activist because she says CCL is different “in the way it pushes for change by creating mutual understanding and finding common ground. It is about treating all people and opinions with respect, and empowering citizens to speak up and use their political and personal powers.”

Murray is also studying at Selkirk this fall.

“From my experience, the youth at CCL are highly informed, passionate, and skilled, and feel strongly that collaboration across party lines is the best way to tackle climate change,”he said.

A parliamentary petition is a means to have one’s voice heard in parliament, and the government is officially required to respond to its requests.

With this summer’s epic smoke, wildfires, hurricanes and floods, people are waking up to the true risks of climate change. This petition demonstrates to elected officials that youth, and those who care deeply about youth, expect our government to take climate action seriously.

Laura Sacks heads up the local chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby. She can be contacted at ccl.westkootenay@gmail.com.

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