Reflections and Looking Forward

Youth are far too often left out of the important discussions of today, even though we will be the ones who suffer their repercussions and have to clean up after the careless generations that came before us. 13 months ago a group of high school students set out to reclaim our decision-making power of the issues that will define our future. In February 2014, youth activists from across the province joined forces with Kids for Climate Action to create the movement that you now see before you--Defend Our Future. The mission was simple: create a platform for us, the youth of BC, to stand up and be heard by our elected representatives. We had one clear message: we need you to defend our future.

Just over 13 months ago high school students all across BC gathered at their MLAs’ offices as part of a province-wide day of action to demand that our government take action on climate change and re-commit to BC’s legislated 2020 GHG emission targets. This unprecedented day of action was met with mixed results; from MLAs that locked students out of their office and refused to meet, all the way to Andrew Weaver, who found it so inspiring that he included a quote from our movement in his Reply to the Throne Speech. But regardless of the response of their MLAs, these passionate, driven students spoke with integrity and eloquence regarding why BC must recommit to our 2020 targets. They spoke with media, other students, their MLAs and the occasional curious passer-by. They showed that youth do care about the issues that will shape our future.

Now, in just 6 days, youth will again gather at their MLAs’ offices to have conversations about coal exports in BC, and, in particular, the proposed Fraser Surrey Docks direct coal transfer facility--which would have devastating consequences on the local, national and international environment, contribute to climate change, and impact local health and local economies. What we are asking is very simple; that all MLAs step up and commit to halt all new thermal coal exports from the British Columbian coast line.

I take great issue with anyone who tells us that we are the “leaders of tomorrow” because we are very much the leaders of today. This is our future and if we don’t step up and defend it, who will? On April 8th please join us in asking our politicians to do their job: Defend Our Future.