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We are in a Climate Emergency

Parsa Albeheshti

Photo credit: Marco Verch (trendingtopics), (CC BY 2.0)

I'm 16 and a student at Earl Haig. On Friday September 20, my classmates and I joined the youth of the world in organizing a climate action week here in Willowdale. Why, you ask? Because we are facing an existential climate crisis. A crisis that has been deliberately manufactured by large corporations and people who are decades my senior. We are teetering on the brink of disastrous consequences and they can be averted given the proper political will. The far more terrifying crisis, however, lies in the indifference of our leaders towards this issue and their apathetic reluctance to recognize its urgency or to address it by standing up to corporations and the fossil fuel industry. As youth living on the brink of this growing crisis, we realize that those currently in power have a vested interest in the destruction of our planet and can never be trusted to prevent it. Furthermore, most people in positions of power are too old and privileged to ever feel the urgency to act on it. So the responsibility falls onto me and my classmates to act. Our generation is the first of many direct victims of climate change, and we need to tackle these issues, raise our voices, organize and make sure that the people in power can no longer ignore this man-made disaster. There is no issue more significant to students than the environmental crisis that threatens our future. The first step is recognizing the reality of what is going on. That's why at Earl Haig Secondary School, we, the students, are declaring a climate emergency. We understand the dangers of global warming, and its impact on issues of racial, migrant and economic justice, as well as its intersectionality with colonialism, capitalism, misogyny and the attack on our public services including our education. We recognize the often ignored findings of climate scientists across the world, and we believe it to be our collective duty to organize on a mass scale and take local action in order to pressure our leaders to, well, lead. Our demands are clear: we call on our governments to join us in declaring a climate emergency at the local, provincial and federal levels. We demand that our city councilor and members of both federal and provincial parliaments representing our home community of Willowdale hear our voices and communicate our message to the government. We call upon the Canadian government to make a strong commitment to meet its obligations under the Paris Climate Agreement and do its part to keep global warming lower than 1.5 degrees Celsius. This is only the beginning. Following Greta Thunberg’s call to strike for climate and in solidarity with the global movement, we are also organizing a school-wide climate strike on Friday September 27. We will not only protest at school but will take our voice to Queen’s Park to demand climate justice from our elected officials. I will continue to write about our stories, demands and fight for our future throughout this important week.

This article was originally published by The Willowdale Advocate.

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