Don't mourn, organize! For B.C.'s climate justice movement, the fight is just getting started

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Take a deep breath, the sky is not falling.

I want you to forget about the results of the B.C. election for a moment, resist the urge to come to quick conclusions about the failure of X or Y.

 Remember that there is no silver bullet solution, the NDP weren't one before this election and there certainly isn't one afterwards.

In fact, when you really think about it, all this means is that we're back where we were one year ago -- faced with the task of building a movement that has the power to create the kind of change we want. The only real lesson from this election for me is that that movement is not big enough or bold enough yet.

The good news is that election or no election, there are still communities all along the carbon corridor fighting new tar sands pipelines. There is still an unbroken line of resistance to tar sands crude through the interior, the fight against fracking is escalating, and you can be pretty certain no one is giving up the coast anytime soon.

Last October, thousands of people showed up in Victoria ready to risk arrest to stop tar sands pipelines and tankers; those people and that passion has not disappeared. Even more recently, the Northern Gateway review process was protested by thousands more. As I write this, the Unis'tot'en continue to assert their sovereignty, blocking the dreams (and the right of way) of Chevron and Apache's pipeline barons.

Take a deep breath, because this fight isn't over, it's just getting started.

Of course, the fight from here isn't going to be an easy one. We need to challenge the ways that we've organized in the past and focus on building an unstoppable movement. This means taking direct action, this means civil disobedience on a scale that hasn't been seen in B.C., or Canada, since the 'War in the Woods.'

There's an old labour saying, "don't mourn, organize!", and as cliche as it's become in these moments, it's no less true. It's important to learn from our mistakes, but let's not become mired in reflection, paralyzed by self doubt or trapped in the endless search for a silver bullet. What we need is silver buckshot.

This means constantly building and strengthening the ties between movements. As a climate movement we need to recommit to developing and strengthening our roles as allies for Indigenous communities on the frontlines of anti-extraction struggles. We need to recognize that climate justice needs to be steeped in, connected to and in support of a wider definition of struggles beyond our own.

The fight to keep our planet from cooking needs a strong, mobilized B.C. now more than ever, so let's get to work.

This October, PowerShift BC is going to be the largest youth led climate justice gathering of its kind in B.C. Help make it happen.


Cameron Fenton is the National Director of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition.

Photo: Zack Embree

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