‘We can’t eat money, or drink oil’: Indigenous teen Autumn Peltier tells United Nations

Chief Water Commissioner Autumn Peltier, from Canada’s Anishinabek Nation, addresses the Global Landscapes Forum, at the United Nations, on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. Photo by The Associated Press/Richard Drew

The 15-year-old activist from Wiikwemkoong First Nation on Manitoulin Island in northern Ontario urged the global community to respect the sacredness and importance of clean water.

“I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, we can’t eat money, or drink oil.”

Peltier spoke at the Global Landscapes Forum, a platform on sustainable land use founded by UN Environment and the World Bank that’s dedicated to achieving development and climate goals.

She used the speech to draw attention to the lack of clean water in numerous Indigenous communities, which she says sparked her activism.

“All across these lands, we know somewhere were someone can’t drink the water. Why so many, and why have they gone without for so long?”

She said she’s been taught traditional knowledge from an early age about the sacredness of water, and that more should learn these lessons.

“Maybe we need to have more elders and youth together sitting at the decision table when people make decisions about our lands and waters.”

Peltier called for an end to plastic use as one step in restoring a more sustainable world.

Her speech comes a day after huge crowds took to the streets in Canada as part of a global climate strike.

The speech was her second at the UN headquarters, having urged the General Assembly to “warrior up” and take a stand for our planet last year.

Peltier, who is nominated for the 2019 International Children’s Peace Prize by the David Suzuki Foundation, has spread her message at hundreds of events around the world.

In 2015, Peltier attended the Children’s Climate Conference in Sweden, and a year later, confronted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about his “broken promises” at a meeting of the Assembly of First Nations. SOURCE

With Two Weeks Until #GlobalClimateStrike, Organizing Intensifies in 100+ Countries to Win ‘Livable Future for All’

“Our message will be clear—we must act now to avoid the worst effects of climate change because all of our lives depend upon it.”

Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg joined other young people outside the U.N. headquarters in New York City Friday. (Photo: Katie Holten/Twitter)

As youth with the Fridays for Future movement took to the streets Friday, two weeks ahead of the global #ClimateStrike planned for Sept. 20, environmental activists continued to raise awareness about the upcoming protests being organized in more than 100 countries.

Climate campaigners already have registered over 2,500 strikes worldwide, with more than 450 actions planned for the United States, the advocacy group 350.org announced in a statement Friday.

To register for an event or find one near you, visit globalclimatestrike.net. For U.S. strikes, visit strikewithus.org.


The demonstrations on Sept. 20 will kick off a week of action that coincides with a United Nations climate summit in New York City. Tamara Toles O’Laughlin, 350.org’s North America director, said Friday that the global strike “is an intergenerational and multiracial moment to make our stand for our right to transformative climate action that preserves a sustainable, healthy, and livable future for all.”

“With the leadership of young people backed by grandparents and parents alike, health workers, teachers, cab drivers and more, now is the time for all of us to come together to demand that real climate leaders at the national, state and local levels hold fossil fuel companies accountable for decades of negligence and damage,” added Toles O’Laughlin, recognizing the youth activists that inspired the global movement.

Some of those youth activists—including Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg—gathered outside the U.N. headquarters in New York Friday, chanting: “No more coal! No more oil! Keep the carbon in the soil!”

Friday was the second consecutive week that Thunberg joined youth protests for urgent climate action outside the U.N. headquarters following her two-week journey across the Atlantic on a carbon emissions-free sailboat. Thunberg tweeted Friday, “Even though I’ve taken a sabbatical year from school, I will still demonstrate every Friday wherever I am.”

Xiye Bastida of Fridays For Future NYC explained that the global strike on Sept. 20 “isn’t a goal, it’s a catalyst for future action.”

“It’s a catalyst for the engagement of humanity in the protection of Earth,” Bastida continued. “It’s a catalyst for realizing the intersectionality that the climate crisis has with every other issue. It’s a catalyst for the culmination of hundreds of climate activists who won’t stop fighting until the climate emergency is over.” MORE


Open Letter From College Professors Urges Educators Worldwide to Cancel Class, Join Global Climate Strike

“We risk losing credibility with an entire generation of students if we cannot take action in support of the defining cause of their generation.”

Students take part in a climate rally in London's Parliament Square
Students take part in a climate rally in London’s Parliament Square on May 24, 2019. (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Highlighting an open letter now co-signed by 175 teachers that urges educators around the world to cancel classes and join the global climate strike scheduled for Sept. 20, two of the original signatories published an op-ed in The Guardian Friday explaining why striking “in the name of climate justice is a resounding endorsement of learning.”

“We educators need to help strengthen the climate movement, and the start of this school year is an important moment.”
—Jonathan Isham and Lee Smithey, U.S. professors

In the op-ed, Jonathan Isham of Middlebury College and Lee Smithey of Swarthmore College acknowledge the lessons they have learned about the human-caused climate emergency from their own students, youth leaders like Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, and the millions of people who have participated in Fridays for Future demonstrations across the globe.

“No educator is able to join Greta Thunberg as she continues her bold Atlantic crossing, but all of us can follow her lead,” they write, referencing the 16-year-old’s recent trip to the United States via an emissions-free vessel. “We risk losing credibility with an entire generation of students if we cannot take action in support of the defining cause of their generation.”

The professors note that “some educators—and their bosses—might object to striking,” and outline a few reasons why that may be the case. However, they argue, “to strike in the name of climate justice is a resounding endorsement of learning: it turns out the world’s youth have been listening to their teachers all along. They understand the science of climate disruption; they take in the lessons of history; they grapple with the complexity of market forces and the true costs of polluting. In their humanities and social science courses, they hear the voices of those at the margins and then honor their dignity and humanity through the arts.” MORE


350.org: This is how we end the era of fossil fuels

Image result for 350.org our time to strike for climate
Yesterday, hundreds of people joined us for the Our Time to Strike for the Climate webinar to hear about our game plan leading up to the September 27th climate strikes in Canada.
I was joined by Climate Strike organizer Emma-Jane, an incredibly inspiring Grade 12 student from Victoria, BC and one of the lead organizers of Climate Strike Canada. We had an engaging conversation, and here are some key takeaways I wanted to share with you:
    • Students in Canada are striking from school on September 27th. Long before the global week of action was called for September 20-27th, students in Quebec issued a general strike mandate for the 27th. Quebec has a rich history of student organizing and we are following their lead.
    • The strikes are happening at a really critical time in Canada. Come September 27th, we’ll be entering the final stretch of the federal election campaign. It’s going to be so important to channel this energy towards brave, authentic candidates who are truly ready to tackle the climate emergency.
    • Campuses are walking out for the climate. Our Time organizers will mobilize tens of thousands of post-secondary students across the country to walk out of class to join the strikes in their communities to demand an end to the fossil fuel era. Join or host a campus walkout on September 27th.

Join the climate strikes online. Have a digital presence or a website? Anyone with an online presence has an opportunity to join in and “go green” with a digital strike. Join the digital climate strike.

Everyone is invited. Young people are organizing with unions, workers, parents, grandparents, and faith groups – we need everyone to walk out of your workplaces and homes to demand an end to the age of fossil fuels. Find or host a strike near you.

Millions of people around the world are set to strike for the climate between September 20th to 27th. Politicians and voters will be paying close attention, and since the climate strikes will happen just a few short weeks before the fall election, we plan to go big on September 27th to demand for an ambitious climate plan and a Green New Deal in line with the scale of the crisis we face.

Host or join an Our Time to Walk-Out for Climate action on your nearest campus this September 27th.

Behind the scenes: What it’s like to be an Ecojustice summer student

Ecojustice summer student Ksenia Orehova (left) and her mentor, lawyer Olivia French. Photo by Emily Chan.

Every summer, Ecojustice offices across Canada open their doors to some of the country’s most promising lawyers-to-be.

This year, Ecojustice summer students attended a review panel on a project that threatens Southern Resident killer whales and wild salmon, got a behind-the-scenes look at the climate reference cases in Ontario and Saskatchewan, and helped shape upcoming cases you can expect to hear more about in the upcoming year.

As we bid our students goodbye and good luck with their studies in their final year of law school, here’s a look at Ecojustice through their eyes:

Kate Meagher (Halifax)

Dalhousie Environmental Law student Kate Meagher spent the summer working in Ecojustice’s Halifax law office. In her free time, Kate is a competitive weightlifter and loves climbing, hiking, and exploring beautiful Nova Scotia.

Reflecting on her experience with Ecojustice, Kate said she was particularly struck by how deeply the lawyers care about their work and clients.

“It was a happy surprise to see how close folks here are with the communities we represent and how we are able to support them outside of just presenting arguments in court,” she said.

“I remember one conversation in particular between Ecojustice lawyers and a community member in Shelbourne (N.S.). The two lawyers were smiling so broadly at the speakerphone. I was struck by how keen they were to help her in her endeavour and by how different that support looked from what I’d come to think of as a lawyer’s job.”

Kate added, “Something I’ve learned is to show compassion to the people we encounter. People are deeply affected by their experiences and are seeking help facing them. Even if their issue is outside of our mandate, it never hurts to provide a kind word.”

Belema Itamunoala (Ottawa)

Belema Itamunoala is Master of Laws candidate at the University of Ottawa. This summer, Belema also worked in the Ecojustice law clinic at the University of Ottawa. In her free time, Belema loves board games, especially Scrabble and chess.

During her time with Ecojustice, Belema said she learned many valuable lessons from her mentor, lawyer Joshua Ginsberg.

“Joshua Ginsberg was such a great mentor! He’s the true definition of a leader. He balanced empathy and politeness with delegation and he always made sure I understood every task assigned to me and assisted if I didn’t. His cheerful nature helped to maintain a good atmosphere for learning.

“Josh involved me in the carbon pricing reference cases in Saskatchewan and Ontario, which helped me build a wealth of knowledge on this topic. Overall, I am thankful for Josh’s mentorship, as it fostered a learning atmosphere for me.” MORE

Countdown to Global #WeekForFuture #ClimateStrike!

It’s been a torrid summer and it will be a hot September for climate activists as we move towards the global #WeekForFuture involving mobilizations in the vast majority of countries around the world.  

In over 2400 events taking place from September 20th through 27th, millions of us will walk out of our classrooms, workplaces and homes to join together in the streets and demand climate action and climate justice. We’re calling for massive participation on the part of adults —  alongside young people — to show that adults too are concerned and want to join forces in this global effort to raise awareness and prod recalcitrant leaders to act. 

The week’s crescendo of events will bracket the UN Climate Action Summit taking place in New York on September 23rd. We’ll be sending global leaders the message that our #houseisonfire and that we’re calling on them to do what the science clearly tells us must be done. 


Over 115 countries and 1000 cities have already registered events and, as we’ve seen on previous occasions, the number will continue growing rapidly as we move towards the strikes. 

All eyes are on the United States which already has 145 cities signed up, with participation that is expected to be tenfold with respect with the first two global strikes in March and May of this year. 

New York is expecting a huge turnout, as is Montreal (Canada) which saw 150,000 take to the streets to demand climate action is the largest strike so far without the presence of Greta Thunberg. MORE

‘A is for Activist’ introduces toddlers to people and ideas on the left

‘A is for Activist’ introduces toddlers to people and ideas on the left

Imagine my surprise when I opened a 5.5-inch square children’s board book at the home of my niece and her husband and my grandnieces Naomi, 2, and Valerie, 1 week old, and found myself (along with at least one cat) on virtually every page! Activist—Environmentalist—Grassroots—LGBTQ—Radical—Unionist—and all the way down the alphabet to Z for Zapatista. (I guess I don’t personally qualify for that one, except in spirit.)

A is for Activist is a bestseller by Innosanto Nagara that is at least one person’s answer to the age-old question, How to raise socially conscious children? Born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia, Nagara moved to the United States in 1988. In the San Francisco Bay Area as a recent college graduate, he did graphic design work for social change organizations, then founded the Design Action Collective, a worker-owned cooperative design studio in Oakland.

Nagara wrote and illustrated A is for Activist for his young son, observing the lack of a “pro-activist, pro-social justice, pro-gay, pro-labor, pro-diversity, progressive ABC book.” After he received supportive approval from friends and from a social media funding campaign, he published it privately and sold and mailed out over 3000 copies as a one-man operation. Then in 2013, he found a commercial publisher in Triangle Square Books, an imprint of Seven Stories Press.

Siete Cuentos, the Spanish-language side of Seven Stories, published an edition with musician Martha Gonzalez’s translation, A de Activista, in 2014. There is now also an audio version recorded by radical guitarist and activist Tom Morello.

More than 125,000 copies of his book in print make Nagara a children’s bestseller according to the New York Times. This books joins a trend of many recent children’s books on social issues that parents are clearly seeking out to add to their children’s collections of fantasy and fairy-tale themes.

“Full of wit, beauty, and fun,” say Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine, and filmmaker Avi Lewis; “we can think of no better way to learn the alphabet.” MORE

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