“And don’t let anyone put you down because you’re young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity.”
—1 Timothy 4:12 (The Message)
“To live with respect in Creation” is one of the calls of the United Church’s A New Creed. Youth, young adults, and people of all ages and generations must now draw boldly on their faith to strengthen our shared future.
We are in a climate emergency. On November 29, 2019 the next major global climate strike for everyone will take place. The youth-led movement demands local governments and leaders take real and immediate action to solve this crisis. Events were also held across the globe by young climate activists the week of September 20–27, 2019.
At least 40 communities are continuing to hold strikes, protests, and demonstrations every Friday across Canada. You can be active in caring for creation by striking with others in your community, as well as planning to participate in the next major global strike on November 29, 2019.
Youth can find like-minded people and groups to connect with on Fridays for Future Canada’s event map. If you can’t find a local group to join, you can start your own! Plan to register your event with Fridays for Future.
More information and resources youth can use to plan a climate strike are available from Fridays for Future and Global Climate Strike. More tips for youth climate strikers are available under Downloads, below.
Youth strikers have asked that parents, adults, members of faith communities, and the general public join them in striking for climate action.
Fridays for Future is a youth-led movement. In the spirit of allyship, United Church people and faith communities are invited to support and follow the lead of striking young people who are seeking the support of all generations to confront the climate crisis. Tips for adult allies are available under Downloads, below.
Some other helpful online resources for adult allies include this promotional toolkit, ways you can support school climate strikes, this climate resistance handbook, and information from Climate Strike Canada.
Please pray for those involved in the Fridays for Future movement and share this Take Action on social media. Use the hashtags #UCCan, #ClimateStrike, #EarthStrike, and #FridaysForFuture.
For a list of resources and more ways to get involved in climate justice, visit the United Church's page on climate change.
On May 24, 2019, students walked out of schools around the world to demand that their governments take action. This includes implementing laws that would drastically decrease greenhouse gas emissions and make significant investments in renewable energy. United Church youth are taking the lead and calling for government action to solve the climate crisis. Visit this blog post about striking for the climate by activist and M.Div. student Aidan Legault for one example.
The climate strikes are inspired by Greta Thunburg, a 15-year-old Swedish student who sat in front of her local parliament building in protest over the lack of action being taken by the Swedish government to resolve the climate crisis. Her actions have spurred a global movement, inspiring students in over 100 countries to take the same action.
Greta is just one of the many youth and young adults who have stepped up to advocate for Mother Earth by calling on governments and leaders to halt climate change and care for the planet we all depend on. Autumn Peltier, a 15-year-old Canadian water protector and activist from Wiikwemkoong First Nations on Manitoulin Island is a leader in environmental advocacy; she has been fighting for water conservation and Indigenous water rights since the age of 8. In 2016, she confronted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about the Canadian government’s policies on oil extraction and pipeline projects.
Speaking at the United Nations Global Summit on Climate Change in 2019, her powerful words reminded leaders that “we can’t eat money and we can’t drink oil.” Autumn is currently the Chief Water Commissioner for the Anishinabek Nation, representing more than 40 First Nations in Ontario—many of which lack access to clean drinking water.
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