PowerShift BC: Youth Gathering for Climate Justice (part 1)

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Clockwise from top left: Elder Rose [ ] and Ta’Kaiya Blaney, Neelam Khare, Satsi Naziel, Kiera-Dawn Kolson, emcees Khelsilem Rivers and Kelsey Mech, David Suzuki, organizers Cameron Fenton and [ ]. Center: Crystal Lameman.

“I come as an elder without an agenda,” were keynoter David Suzuki’s opening words at the Friday October 4 keynotes for PowerShift BC 2013. He closed acknowledging that the indigenous people have what is needed now [a deep connection and passion to protect the land].

Suzuki’s stirring talk was preceded by keynotes from a half-dozen indigenous women. Each laid out the challenges of their land and people against the assaulting onslaught of tar sands, pipelines, coal trains, fracking and more. I cheered such a high representation of women, and especially indigenous women. It was mirrored by a strong indigenous presence among an audience of passionate youth coming to share and train, “together building a movement for our generation.”

PowerShift BC took place in Victoria, Coast Salish Territories, British Columbia on October 4-7. Their vision: “PowerShift BC is a gathering organized by youth for youth that focuses on climate justice. We will bring together 1000 youth from diverse backgrounds to learn, develop their skills and build the movement for climate, environmental and social justice.”

Two full days of workshops and panels were culminated in a mass civil disobedience march to demand of the BC Legislature a just and sustainable future, not a cave-in to Big Oil  pushing to turn BC into a Carbon Corridor.

We only happened to be in Victoria at this time, and are glad we came to the two evening keynotes. It’s inspiring to get a taste for the youth and indigenous activism movement, their exuberant passion and dedication. After all, they’re the ones working for their livable future – as well as that of many others. [www.wearepowershift.ca/about_powershift_bc].

Here’s the video of David Suzuki’s keynote.

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