By Megan Sutton
From Thursday, February 14th to Monday, February 18, 2019, this four-day climate event will host workshops, panel discussions, keynote speakers, and performances, all in pursuit of young people tackling and solving the climate crisis. They ask, "We are the generation that has the power to counter the damage done, and build the future we know is possible. Will you rise with us?"
And indeed, we are in the midst of a climate crisis. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's latest publication, Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, warned of the future impacts of climate change. Average global temperatures have already risen 1°C due to emissions released by human activities, and may reach 1.5°C as early as 2030. If emissions continue to rise and temperatures exceed 2°C, it will result in, "severe, pervasive, and irreversible impacts". Impacts of the 1°C temperature rise are already being felt – the 2017 hurricane season was one of the most destructive on record, 2018 was the 4th warmest year on record, with 2016 as the warmest, and a hole two-thirds the size of Manhattan has just been discovered in one of the most important glaciers in Antarctica. In order to stabilize warming at 1.5°C, emissions must be cut by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, requiring rapid decarbonisation.
The role of youth in this movement, and in leading rapid decarbonisation, cannot be overstated. Greta Thunberg, the sixteen-year-old climate activist from Sweden, started her now famous climate strike last year, demanding that her government undertake radical decarbonisation in response to climate change. Greta has since spoken at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP24, in Katowice, Poland, and more recently, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Furthermore, youth from all around the world have begun striking.
Sierra Club Canada Foundation, including Sierra Youth, are committed to furthering the role of young people in fighting the climate crisis. Just last July, Sierra Youth hosted a three-day youth conference in Ottawa, the Youth Career Connect Conference, which connected conference attendees with leaders in the sustainability sector in Canada. The second annual conference will be held in Toronto in mid 2019, on a date to be determined.
Join the Sierra Youth and other climate leaders in Ottawa to help further this incredibly important movement. More information on the event, including how to register, can be found here. There are three free registration spots for Sierra Youth members at PowerShift – email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.