Climate Justice Saskatoon: Revitalizing the Movement

By: Karen Rooney (Next Up Saskatchewan – Year 1) and Andrea Cessna (Next Up Saskatchewan – Year 2)

Climate Justice Saskatoon was first born four years ago, in the lead-up to the United Nations 15th Conference of Parties in Copenhagen. Citizens of Saskatoon, mostly youth, rallied around the climate negotiations as a chance to make their voices heard and support the member of their community who was attending the conference.

Following COP 15, Climate Justice Saskatoon wilted – members have moved away, moved on to other projects or merely stopped being involved in the group. It is the story of too many now defunct community groups – a lack of action tends to slow a movement down and eventually its importance fades in the minds of those who were once active members.

Photos: flickr/UNclimatechange

Recently returned from the UN’s COP 17 in Durban, South Africa, Karen Rooney was seeking to create a community similar to the one she had worked with while in Durban with the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition. A few chance conversations with friends led her to start the work of re-invigorating Climate Justice Saskatoon.

Climate Justice Saskatoon

Current core group members bring a great deal of experience to the table – from years of organizing non-violent civil disobedience, media skills and political savvy to youth connections, research knowledge and creative activism. We plan to seek out and advocate for solutions to the climate crisis which recognize that those who are the least responsible for creating the climate crisis are the ones who are suffering the impacts the most. Climate Justice Saskatoon operates within an anti-oppressive, consensus-based model and we recognize that everyone in the group, regardless of age, experience or knowledge base has something to offer. We believe that it is this model and this passion that will make our actions-based group a force to be reckoned with.

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Karen and other Canadian Youth Delegates were featured in this story on Democracy Now:

Canadian Activists Barred from Durban Summit for Protesting Environment Minister
December 17, 2011

Canada’s Minister of Environment Peter Kent addressed the United Nations Climate Change Conference today and defended his country’s environmental record despite Canada’s support of continued tar sands oil extraction and its threat to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol. Soon after Kent began speaking, six members of the Canadian Youth Delegation stood up and turned their backs on the minister. They were taken out of the room and later stripped of their credentials to the climate change conference. “Today, six of us stood up and turned our backs on the government of Canada, in the same way the government of Canada has turned its back on us,” says activist Karen Rooney. “We are calling on the government of Canada to start putting the interests of people over the interests of polluters.”