Youth summit on climate change wraps up
Youth from across the North were in Yellowknife this week for the second Young Leaders’ Summit on Northern Climate Change, held Nov. 10–12.
The aim of the summit was to prepare the youth to speak nationally and internationally on the effects of climate change in the North. The first was held in Inuvik, N.W.T., in 2009.
The conference wrapped up on Saturday with a screening of multimedia projects created during the summit by the participants, which they can use in their advocacy work.
"I'm very interested in hearing other people's stories because I know it's not just happening in Rankin or in Nunavut," said Kelli McLarty of Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. "It's happening around the world. Hopefully through learning, through others, we can communicate it and raise awareness."
The decision Thursday by the U.S. government to consider rerouting the Keystone XL oil pipeline following protests in both the U.S. and Canada was a big topic of discussion, and had many of the participants excited.
Kathleen T'seleie, 17, of Norman Wells, N.W.T., said she's inspired by the movement that fought the pipeline project.
"It makes me feel hopeful," she said. "As long as we get these people together we can accomplish anything we want. I mean [Thursday] we witnessed that. I think we should be very hopeful for our future."
Fort McPherson, N.W.T., elder Charlie Snowshoe, who spoke at the conference on Friday, said he wants the youth to be inspired by those who fought for change and to learn from them.
"I know there's a lot of young people that are educated and are smart," he said. "They get frustrated. They try to do something and they give up. But the elders never gave up. They got together and they said 'no pipeline.'"
Kim Rapati came to Yellowknife from Hay River, N.W.T., to share stories on the effects of climate change, and said she will leave inspired.
"We all have stories and all of our knowledge is important," she said. "If we can share it and tell our stories to the rest of Canada it's a powerful thing."
Activist Clayton Thomas-Muller of northern Manitoba, who gave the keynote address at the summit, said he has a lot of hope for the younger generation.
"I believe they're going to rise up," he said. "Our native people have prophecies about this generation, and I think we will see them manifest."