Nearly a dozen young leaders from across the North pledged Tuesday to work toward addressing climate change – and called on others to do the same.
The youth, between the ages of 18 and 30, hailed from across the three territories.
They were wrapping up a full week of activities as they travelled on a camping trip from Whitehorse to Kluane Lake before returning to Whitehorse.
The group was part of the 2017 Young Leaders’ Summit on Northern Climate Change led by Yellowknife-based Ecology North.
This marked the fifth such summit that has seen youth spend a week looking at climate change along with meeting scientists, farmers and others in the
communities they visit, then sharing the knowledge with the world.
The summit is held every two years. Previous summits have included a camping trip in the Northwest Territories and conferences in Inuvik and Yellowknife.
As well, a northern delegation attended the 2013 PowerShift Conference in Victoria.
As one of the young leaders involved with this year’s summit, Martha Hamre of Yellowknife said Tuesday it was a chance to share knowledge and develop networks of those working to address climate change.
“Definitely, that carried through,” Hamre said.
The importance of keeping up to date on issues around climate change also became clear for Hamre when the group was at Kluane Lake and learned about the
Kaskawulsh glacier’s major retreat.
There, she said, the group was able to see the direct impact of climate change on the glacier.
Seamus Daly, another participant from Yellowknife, said the summit has him rethinking his choices as a consumer.
While in Whitehorse, the group visited the Raven Recycling Society’s premises.
There, Daly said, he learned exactly what’s involved through the full recycling process. Having some materials like glass recycled is much more complex than he
realized, he said.
While recycling remains a good option over landfilling, Daly said, even better are reusing, or reducing how much a person chooses to consume.
In the declaration they drafted, the youth made it clear climate change is complex and fast-changing.
“We have the power to insight change,” the declaration read.
It goes on to call on all governments to take action to address climate change by developing plans, implementing policies and supporting initiatives which result in
greenhouse gas emissions and the like.
The declaration also called on individuals to take every-day actions that help.
“We commit to make change,” the pledge stated.
Throughout the week, group members journalled about their experience on a blog available at http://www.youngclimateleaders.com/blog
The summit wrapped up Tuesday, with the group presenting the declaration outside the Yukon Arts Centre.