From Seth Klein, Team Lead with the Climate Emergency Unit
Seeking your support for a Youth Climate Corps
Dear FOK friends,
Seth Klein here, Team Lead with the Climate Emergency Unit. I’m writing to seek your support amplifying the national call for a Youth Climate Corps.
I hope some of you have already heard a bit about the idea of a Youth Climate Corps, but if not, you can read more (including our policy brief outlining our vision for the YCC) here.
Here’s the idea
As many of you know, a couple years ago I wrote a book called A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency. The book seeks to map out a mobilization to confront the existential threat of our time, but is structured around lessons from the Second World War. One of those lessons is the potentially transformative power of a Youth Climate Corps.
Today, as I give talks and meet young people across the country, I am convinced that tens of thousands of them are once again eager to serve – ready to confront the civilizational threat of this generation. But sadly, our country has yet to issued them such an invitation. They want to enlist in this task of our lives, but our government has not provided the opportunity.
The YCC, as we envision it, would be a two-year, federally-funded training and employment program for people 35 and under, empowering them to work within their communities and across the country on low-carbon and climate mitigation/adaptation work. The establishment of a YCC would communicate that our government is indeed entering genuine emergency mode. YCC participants would be engaged in meaningful climate work: restoring ecosystems, managing forests to reduce wildfire risks, responding to climate disasters and enhancing community resilience/safety, building new climate infrastructure (renewable energy projects, building retrofits, high speed rail), and engaging in low-carbon care work (elder/child care).
At a time when many communities grapple with the future prospects for their youth, and when many young people are wrestling with climate anxiety and mental health,* the YCC could be just the hopeful solution to captivate people’s excitement, and signal that young people are being invited to join in a grand societal/economic transformation.
Here’s how you can help
If this idea captivates you, there are many ways you can help build the call for this new national program.
- The CEU has created a letter-writing tool for folks to send their support for this transformative policy to key federal leaders and their local MP. Please use the tool to send these folks your message, and consider sharing the tool with your friends, colleagues, newsletter lists and on social media. Here are some relevant links:
Our letter-writing to representatives tool can be accessed here.
We’ve also created a welcome package with shareables you can use to promote the YCC, which you can access here.
There is a twitter thread about it here.
- Talk to your kids about this idea. We’d love to know what they think, and if they want to get involved in this campaign. Maybe they want to see if their student councils or other youth groups want to endorse the idea of a YCC.
- Consider approaching other organizations and institutions in your life – faith institutions, union locals, school PACs, community organizations – to see if they would support and amplify the call for a YCC.
- Maybe you’re ready to seek a meeting with your local MP to discuss the YCC. If your local representative happens to be a cabinet minister (yay!), we’d be happy to help prepare you for that meeting.
- Help us seed this idea in your local media. Consider writing a letter to the editor, or calling into your local radio show, and talk-up the value of the YCC. Try to draw out a response from local politicians.
- The national YCC campaign is going to be producing a bunch of videos, shareables and other campaign materials in the coming months, as well as hosting national events to drum up excitement about this idea – indeed, we are hosting one such exciting event on March 7, for which you can register here. And we have some fun actions in the works. If you use the letter-writing tool, you’ll have the option to sign up to receive updates about all these, and we hope you’ll keep spreading the word.
Friends, this is a winnable campaign. Together, we could press for the creation of a program that gives all of us – and our kids – new-found hope.
If you want to get more involved in the YCC campaign, please get in touch (my email is: [email protected]).
Thanks for considering,
* A new report from Lakehead University researchers Lindsay Galway and Ellen Field lays out what you as parents know well – many of our kids are wrestling with significant climate anxiety. Their study, Climate emotions and anxiety among young people in Canada, surveyed 1,000 young people age 16-24. Among their findings: at least 56% of respondents reported feeling afraid, sad, anxious, and powerless and 78% reported that climate change impacts their overall mental health. Respondents rated governmental responses to climate change negatively and reported greater feelings of betrayal than of reassurance.