Let’s create a new Youth Climate Corps: Seth Klein
Our friend Seth Klein , who heads up the Climate Emergency Unit (CEU) in Vancouver, shared with us his latest though-provoking column. Seth says “Most young people know — and as driven home yet again by Monday’s IPCC report — the climate crisis is coming for them. One way or another, on their terms or not, it’s going to enlist them. It won’t ask their permission.”
“In the face of more frequent and severe extreme weather events, disrupted food and water systems, humanitarian crises, shattered infrastructure, threats to global security exacerbate by the ‘threat multiplier’ that is the climate crisis, and economic and employment upheavals, the climate emergency will impact their lives in immeasurable ways. And they know it,” he writes.
Youth Climate Corps (YCC)
Seth argues that a Youth Climate Corps (YCC) would represent an invitation to Canada’s youth to mobilize to confront today’s gravest threat: the climate emergency.
“It could be a new flagship public program and, funded at sufficient scale, would send an electrifying signal” he says. “It would indicate our governments are indeed entering genuine emergency mode and would communicate to young people that they are being called to join in a grand societal transformation.”
The federal budget to be announced next week would do well to support such a vision, but Seth also holds hope for provincial action. “While this campaign presses for a national YCC, similar campaigns are underway in Alberta and British Columbia, pushing on their provincial governments to implement climate corps in their respective jurisdictions.”
The Youth Climate Corp has huge potential, says Seth. “There are roughly 10 million people in Canada between the ages of 18 and 35. If only five per cent of them were moved to enlist in a program like the YCC, that’s 500,000 people — half a million young people saying, ‘We are ready to serve, ready to meet the emergency.’ That’s what makes this idea a game-changer.”
- Read “Young people are already on the front lines of the climate crisis. Canada can help them fight it” by Seth Klein, published by the National Observer on March 21, 2023