The COP26 global summit came to a close in Glasgow last week, leaving many with the sense that the agreements reached will not be sufficient to change the trajectory of the climate crisis — particularly for the already-vulnerable communities around the world who are most affected.
The torrential rainstorms, floods and mudslides across B.C. that followed brought home the stark reality of our climate emergency.
But in Canada and around the world, communities on the frontlines are resisting the practices and systems that have led us to this point. Climate justice advocates are reminding us that although the need for collective action in the face of the climate crisis has only become more urgent, there is still room for hope. In fact, they say, hope and joy are essential in this fight.
On Thursday, Nov. 25, you can join a conversation with three climate justice advocates — Melina Laboucan-Massimo, co-founder of Indigenous Climate Action; Anjali Appadurai, climate justice lead at Sierra Club BC; and Naisha Khan, co-founder of Banking on a Better Future — at Hope in Resistance: Stories of Climate Justice.
Shamantsut Amanda Nahanee, a Squamish and Nisga’a educator and performing artist, will provide opening and closing words and songs. The event is presented by SFU Public Square in partnership with Vancity.
In a panel discussion moderated by Nahlah Ayed, host of Ideas on CBC Radio One, Laboucan-Massimo, Appadurai and Khan will analyze the plans and commitments that emerged from COP26. They will discuss the necessity of hope and joy in fighting the climate crisis, sharing stories of communities mobilizing for climate justice and new ways forward. And they will leave us with tangible actions we can take in support of a just transition to a more equitable and sustainable future.
As Khan says, “We can solve this. If we do, it will build a better world for everyone.”
Throughout the year, the Towards Equity series has brought Simon Fraser University into conversation with local and global communities to explore how we can reimagine our current systems to confront the intersecting crises of inequality, systemic racism and climate change.
Highlights have included Researching for Climate Justice, the 2021 Spry Memorial Lecture with Desmond Cole and Tanya Talaga, and the Dean’s Lecture on Information and Society, with Robyn Maynard and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson.
ABOUT THE PANELISTS:
Melina Laboucan-Massimo is Lubicon Cree from Northern Alberta. Laboucan-Massimo is the founder of Sacred Earth Solar and the co-founder and healing justice director at Indigenous Climate Action. She is the inaugural fellow at the David Suzuki Foundation where her research focused on climate change, Indigenous knowledge and renewable energy. She is the host of a new TV series on APTN called Power to the People, which profiles renewable energy in Indigenous communities across the country. Laboucan-Massimo holds a master’s degree in Indigenous governance at the University of Victoria with a focus on renewable energy. As a part of her master’s thesis, she implemented a 20.8-kilowatt solar project in her home community of Little Buffalo, which powers the health centre in the heart of the tarsands.
Anjali Appadurai is a climate justice activist, communicator and organizer. She works to strengthen climate change messaging and discourse in Canada by centring the stories of those on the frontlines of the climate crisis. She is the climate justice lead at Sierra Club BC and sectoral organizer with the newly formed Climate Emergency Unit, a project of the David Suzuki Foundation inspired by Seth Klein’s 2020 book A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency. Appadurai also ran for Parliament in the 2021 federal election as the NDP candidate for Vancouver-Granville.
Hear more from Appadurai in an episode of the “Below the Radar” podcast from SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement on the need to centre justice for all in the fight against climate change.
Naisha Khan is an 18-year-old second-generation Bangladeshi settler, typically residing on unceded, occupied and traditional Kwantlen, Katzie and Semiahmoo territory and attending UBC. She has been a climate and racial justice organizer for the past two years as a central organizer of Sustainabiliteens, co-founder of Banking on a Better Future and organizer with Climate Strike Canada. Khan continues to advocate for intersectional justice at Climate Justice UBC and in her local city of Surrey and continues to work as a group leader at Banking on a Better Future.
Hear more from her in this CBC profile of Sustainabiliteens.
Hope in Resistance: Stories of Climate Justice will be livestreamed from the Cultch’s Historic Theatre on Thursday, Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. PST. Click here to register for free.
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