October 24th was the International Day of Climate Action. Read on to learn about how YCI alumni and youth across Canada are taking action, every day:
Growing up in Alberta, the heart of the oil and gas industry in Canada, I have seen the resistance to cutting emissions first hand. Many equate cutting emissions with cutting their standard of living. I believe this to be a main cause of resistance. Perhaps this also has to do with the inability to associate personal decisions with global impact. This is why I joined the environmental sustainability team of YCI’s Volunteer Action Network (VAN).
While the effects of global warming on weather patterns, animals, water levels, and other earthly features need attention, my team chose to research the effects that global warming has had and will have on humans. We chose to direct our attention specifically on the Global South, as global warming’s effects will be most drastic in these regions. In Canada, we are perceived to live a developed country. As such, the amount of emissions created in our country is much greater than those created in developing nations.
The injustice and inequality that arises from this situation drives me to make change and call for action. In a world that is becoming more and more interconnected, it is increasingly evident that our actions affect others, countries away. We no longer live in a world where citizens are defined by boundaries, but one where global citizenship is coming to a forefront. Because of this, we have a responsibility to reduce the impact global warming has on developing nations. Reducing our emissions is just a start.
Joining YCI has helped me develop into a global citizen and realize how my actions in Canada can affect someone in Ghana. Consciously reducing my carbon footprint by making minor adjustments to my everyday life is not a choice if, even indirectly, it has a positive effect on developing countries. As citizens there is action we can take. Individually, we can take steps to reduce our carbon footprint. As a collective, we can take part in initiatives to pressure the government to take necessary steps to cut national emissions. Reducing emissions is not an individual choice–it is a necessity.
-Sara Walde is a member of YCI’s Volunteer Advisory Council (VAC) and leads the VAN environmental sustainability team. She first became engaged with YCI as a volunteer in Guyana in 2008. To learn more about how to join YCI’s Volunteer Action Network, contact Jessica at firstname.lastname@example.org or find out more here.