On September 20th, millions of people walked out of their offices, homes, parents took kids out of school, and joined the Global Climate Strike. Signs, songs, speeches and throngs of people gathered with the common interest to stand up for our planet. 

The entire Waterlution team from our Founder and President to the many Youth Advisory Board volunteers gathered among friends, family and coworkers in their respective communities. Here’s a highlight of our team across Canada participating in the Climate Strike, sharing our personal hopes, goals and future action to protect our planet from climate change. 

Toronto, ON

“Over the next 5 years I hope to see empathy and integrity be pillars of the new low carbon world we build. We need our world leaders fighting for environmental protection, in their country and globally, so that everyone can have access to clean air and clean water. Climate change is already disproportionately hurting the most vulnerable and it is time to put an end to that.”

Emma Hill, YAB Toronto
Squamish, BC

“In the next 5 years, I want to see governmental support for fast unimaginable shifts in our western lifestyle. I want to see all single-use and low quality plastics banned, and similarly for plastic-based fabrics and any low-quality products that end up in a landfill within a few years. Beyond this… I want to see place-based, watershed-based land use planning that puts environmental health (and OUR HEALTH) first!!

I want to see innovation in small scale and large efficient food production that considers the water-energy-food nexus. I want to see tax breaks and incentives for people who grow their own food, live in tiny/alternative homes and produce little waste. I want everyone to listen to the stories and teachings of indigenous people, so everyone can further recognize the importance of caring for our earth. I want to see support and openness for alternative low-impact lifestyles- more people working from home, huge incentives for solar panels and other green energy options. I want the world to be bold in reaching the UN 2030 SDG targets! #OneWorld

Olivia Allen, Project Lead for Youth Services
Toronto, ON
Squamish, B.C.
Montreal, QC

“I am striking because I believe we all have a part in protecting the planet and its people, and because we need to unite and understand each other’s stories for this to happen. Over the next 5 years I would like to see governments act by listening to the IPCC report page 108 that states that to limit the global mean temperature to 1.5oC would, “require large-scale transformations of the global energy–agriculture–land-economy system.” This is the systematic change that is required to stop the climate crisis. I would also like to see this action taking place with the understanding that climate change disproportionately harms marginalized people. We need to continue having people unite and learn through one another to act on protecting the earth.”  

Sydney wrote a piece about Climate Stress, click here to read it.

Sydney Stevenson, YAB Montreal
Montreal, QC
Victoria, B.C.

“I’m striking because protecting and preserving our planet should be our top priority. Always.  I want to see our leaders make evidence-based decisions that take into account the immense ecosystem services a healthy planet provides.”

Megan Kot, Former YAB Victoria B.C.
Ottawa, ON

“In the next 5 years, I would like to see the Great Lakes protected with the legal rights of a person. I hope that all the waters become protected with legal personhood. With these rights, polluting the waters would be illegal. This would change the way people interact with water. This would stop the ways industry pour toxic waste into the waterways. As Grandmother Josephine said, “the water is sick…and people need to really fight for that water, to speak for that water, to love that water.” We need to walk together and fight for this land and these waters.”

Stephanie Woodworth, YAB Ottawa
Ottawa, ON
Vancouver, B.C.

“I’m striking because I want industry to hit net zero emissions ASAP, I want companies to take responsibility for ocean plastics and I want to stop the mass extinction.”

Felicity Feinman, Former YAB, Vancouver
Vancouver, B.C.
Victoria, B.C.

“I’m striking because we need to protect the earth that sustains us. I have a duty to use my voice and privilege to advocate for those (humans and non-human animals) who are affected by climate change and cannot speak out.”

Kirsten Mathison, Former YAB, Victoria
Victoria, B.C.
Vancouver, B.C.

“I strike because we need all our voices to echo and all our actions to unite in demanding climate justice; specially to ensure that the voices of those who are most vulnerable and affected by climate change are amplified. I strike to stand in solidarity with all the climate warriors around the world who risk their lives everyday standing up for Mother Earth. I stand proud and amazed at the bravery and leadership of incredible youth and women.”

Melany Sanchez, YAB, Vancouver
Vancouver, B.C.
Toronto, ON

“Why did I strike? I wanted to lend my voices to those who are not being heard. To help amplify the voices of the marginalized communities who are at the frontline of this fight. I want to lend my presence to those who couldn’t be there. Cherished love ones and friends who have left us too soon. I want to lend my time to a future I want to build and share with you all. I wanted to lend my ears to hear and listen from those around me. To learn the stories and letting them know that they are not alone in this fight.”

Da Chen, Toronto, YAB
Toronto, ON

“Climate change has been front and centre of my life, work and concerns for two decades. It is a regular conversation at our dinner table, and has tested my communication skills on how to be honest, not scaring my son to a point of paralysis, providing him and his friends with ideas for a sustainable future and explaining governments, global inter-connectivity and what role we can play at the household and local level. Having worked and lived in many countries around the world and having lived in three provinces and one territory (Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and the Yukon) and delivered programs across most corners of Canada, I have been fortunate to learn from multiple perspectives. The positive I see is a global movement that is taking climate change seriously and it was important to take part in the climate strike to be part of this movement. The less positive is a Canadian, American and global deadlock on conflicting priorities, and at best seeing incremental climate change policies. In the Canadian context, my biggest desire is for all political parties to work together, and for a thorough effort for Ottawa to work with Western provinces. To reduce the speed of climate warming, government policy is what is needed, this is nearly impossible at the federal level without serious work together, where trust is rebuilt. Functioning and positive partnerships happen when all decision makers give up something, to create something new together.  No one agenda can be pushed through as that breeds winners and losers and fight or flight actions. It is hard work, really hard work, yet honest, respectful dialogue is needed. This can be started before the next US election, yet a more progressive POTUS will assist speed up this process in Canada too. Canada must also seek out the right global partners (as Canada does not have the global population and therefore power to go it alone), to build future scenarios and strategies to adapt to climate change realities while simultaneously building resilient economic opportunities and communities.”

Karen Kun, Founder and President of Waterlution with her son Max and his friend, Toronto
Hamilton, ON

“Everything is connected. Without climate action front of mind, we are saying that we don’t value the future of water, animals, trees, air and every other natural phenomenon most of us take for granted everyday. Our children will pay for inaction and so I see no other option but to stand up for my own child and her future. I strike because policy-makers need to do better in controlling carbon emissions on a large scale. I’m personally committed to learning how to reverse patterns and habits that puts consumption and consumerism before climate action. I hope you’ll join me.”

Laura Palumbo, Communications Manager, Waterlution & Great Art for Great Lakes

CALL TO ACTION

  • Vote! And vote for leaders that take climate change seriously!
  • Read your city, provincial and federal climate policies (stay tuned for a new blog to come on this one!), read reputable global news, and read the IPCC Report available here. The most important global initiative is the Paris Agreement and reading and what countries, including Canada, signed on to work towards. Learn about the SDGs (another blog coming out soon on this too!!
  • Talk to those in your circles and start a climate conversation
  • Don’t vilify other points of view and try to understand others
  • Hangout with people that may see the world differently and become a bridge builder
  • Consider your higher education choices (college or university) and a career in climate change-related fields (water-related and climate-related go closely together).
  • Learn as much as you can about economics, global investing–climate change policies and economics are linked
  • Support youth-led climate action (and even better, join if you can!)
  • Be aware of what you can do yourself, such as buying less. Ask yourself, “do I really need this?”
  • Choose sustainable food choices as much as you can or afford
  • Anything that is not great for the planet… try and do a bit less!