By now most of us have seen the "vote mob" phenomenon sweeping across Canada. It can't be denied that when each successive mob grows larger than the last, something is stirring, but it also begs a question. What next?
Each vote mob video ends with a call to "join the movement" and by definition, movements should go somewhere, so again we ask. What next?
During an election campaign we all have the tendency to avoid the truth, a truth that we all recognize, but are worried about being cast as too radical, or unrealistic if we speak it. The truth I refer to is that no matter the outcome of this election, the system will still be broken. There will still be millions of people in this country who are dis-empowered by government who they feel does not represent them, the majority of whom have little to no say in the halls of power.
We will still be told that to stopping the destruction of thousands of acres of boreal forest to expand the tar sands is not economically possible, or that a just transition to a new energy economy is not practical. But we know that this cannot be the way.
Our generation has inherited the task of stewarding our society from a system based on unlimited growth on a finite planet to one in which people and the planet are the real bottom line.
So what is the good news?
During the recent PowerShift conference in the United States, President Barak Obama told a group of young organizers that it was up to them to push him, to make the politically impossible into the possible by forcing his government to act. Here in Canada, it is our responsibility to stand up and make inaction on climate change an indefensible act, because to knowingly perpetuate this crisis is an open threat upon our future, and the future of people across the globe.
I don't know about you, but when someone threatens my future, I fight back.
Right now we have the chance to become the movement that our generation needs. We have the chance to draw a line in the sand and tell the politicians "this far and no further." We can make history, but not if we stop at the ballot box.
To steal a metaphor from Tim DeChristopher, now facing up to 10 years in prison for stopping an illegal land auction in Utah, the fight for our future is a lot like a football game. There are a few of us on the field, digging in our heels and pushing as hard as we can to win, but the reality is that the other team is bigger, they have more money, and they have paid off the referees. We are getting beaten up and bloodied. Yet there are thousands of people in the stands, they are watching, they are cheering and they are hoping that we win, but if we have any chance of winning this, it's time to rush the field.
If we want to change this country, it is time to stop playing by the rules of a game that is rigged so our generation cannot win. So when we ask what's next? Here's our answer.
On April 22 the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition is launching our own platform. Five demands, the result of months of coast to coast consultation. We are calling on each and every federal party leader to live up to that title and sign on as a commitment to work with our generation to take on the climate crisis and build a more just nation and world in the process.
No more will we simply make statements or calls to action, we are drawing that line in the sand and we are building the world we need. We are making demands because our future is at stake, and while we strive for co-operation, we will not be told to compromise our future.
We will hold our politicians accountable.
We will change the debate.
And we will not inherit a planet in crisis.
Check out our website this Friday to sign onto our demands, and to find out how you can join the campaign for our generation.
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