You went to festivals, I go to strikes.

When you think of your 20s, what comes to mind? For me, it will be the threat of human extinction.

On Monday June 17th, the Canadian federal government declared a climate emergency. For the young people striking for climate every Friday since the beginning of the year, it was like a dream come true….

But the honeymoon was short. Less than a day later, that same government approved a pipeline project which will enable more oil extraction, transportation and consumption than we should allow given our international commitments. Needless to say, all Canadian youth strikers demanding climate action realized it was not yet our time to get back to our regular student lives.

As our last Toronto rally of the year approaches, I can not help but reflect on the situation. Who would have thought “the most wonderful years of my life” would mostly be spent organizing strikes, filing demonstration notices and answering dozens of emails everyday?

Our last rally* of the academic year will somewhat address this usual situation. We will start by chants, to give us energy. We will then have a few speakers who all will be answering the same question: if you were not fighting for climate justice, what would you be doing right now? I for one, would be enjoying my summer as a university student, attending festivals, seeing family and working to save up for a tattoo or a trip to Latin America, maybe.

On March 15th, 1.4 million students around the world participated in a climate strike. May 3rd was a day of national climate strike action in Canada with thousands of students participating. On May 24th, we even walked through Bay street to call on the private sector to help. Since then, we saw empty promises, plans that lacked ambition or real ideas, and a brand new pipeline…

Did we not scream loud enough?

Canada is warming up twice as fast as the rest of the world and we are already experiencing the floods and fires that come as consequences of climate change. We no longer have time and Canada must act with courage and determination now. We must act as a society who acknowledges that the climate crisis is a human rights crisis, from which none of us will benefit in the long term, most of us will be hurt in the short term, and some of us already suffer as I write.

Just like older generations must resist the urge to tell us how easy we have it, how we didn’t witness the wars or how we are too addicted to our phone, younger generations must resist the urge to blame our elders for the state of Earth. Wether or not they are to blame does not matter anymore**. As of right now, we need all generations to come together. Because we are, in the end, all one generation: the last generation capable of saving ourselves from extinction.

We are, in the end, all one generation: the last generation capable of saving ourselves from extinction.

Stay put for a follow up on what you can do to act on the climate crisis.

*Friday, June 28th, 12:30 at Queens Park in Toronto/Tkaronto.
**This excludes those in positions of power who knowingly took and take decisions that harm our Earth and its people, both in the public and in the private sector. They must be held legally accountable, and the youth strikers who will soon be judges, doctors, politicians and entrepreneurs will not forget.

Climate Justice Activist originally from South of France, now a settler in Toronto . Organizer with Fridays for Future Toronto.

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