Nuclear, Tar Sands, and Our Future: Making The Connections
by Megan Van Buskirk
Youth are often at the forefront of the environmental movement. While it is vital to remember that the cure to the climate crisis is intergenerational support systems, it is the reality that the youth of today comprise the generation that will suffer from the consequences of today’s decisions. Power Shift 2012 will gather young people from across the country to strengthen the movement for climate and environmental justice. It will be held in Ottawa, ON from October 26th t0 29th.
While right now there’s only one annual Power Shift in Canada, the hope is that the youth movement will mobilize in their respective regions across Canada next year. Mark it in your calendars, folks – Powershift Prairies 2013!
To start the conversation in Saskatchewan, we held a speaker’s panel in Saskatoon on September 18th on the University of Saskatchewan campus. Four panelists spoke about Saskatchewan and Alberta specific barriers to fossil fuel reductions. The panelists were D’Arcy Hande (HUES3 Campaign), Eileen Bear (The Committee for Future Generations), Cameron Fenton (The CYCC National Director) and me, Megan Van Buskirk (Canadian Youth Delegate). Karen Rooney, also a part of the Canadian Youth Delegation, moderated the discussion.
The discussion spanned the topics of nuclear development in Saskatchewan, the tar sands development in Alberta, and how it all affects the youth of today. The Media Co-op was rad enough to audio-record the entire discussion (click here to listen!), and you can also check out the written components of the discussion below:
“Every year, more papers are published, more panel discussions are held at nuclear conferences, and more representations are made to both the tar sands industry and government, promoting the expansion of nuclear technology in the tar sands. The operative public relations hook being used by the nuclear industry is the clever term “Green Bitumen.” The argument goes that nuclear energy will drastically reduce our carbon footprint and thus alleviate the horrid reputation for carbon emissions suffered by the tar sands industry.”
– D’Arcy Hande (click here to read his entire presentation!)
“First Nations people teach that we must preserve the environment so it will sustain the next 7 generations. We are trying to protect it for the next 7000 generations as that is how long it will take for the fission products created by the nuclear power generators to decay enough for living things to be safe. These fission products are not naturally occurring. They are man-made. [...] Radiation knows no borders.”
– Eileen Bear (click here to read her entire presentation!)
“Nuclear power enables the tar sands — and thus enables the destruction of ecosystem health, human health, and is setting our generation, and future generations, up for failure. [...] With the current state of affairs comes hope – because disproportionate participation and its impacts on youth constituents around the world, and at home in Saskatchewan, create an opportunity for youth mobilization and civic participation.”
– Megan Van Buskirk (click here to read my entire presentation!)
Many thanks to the folks who helped put on this event and, subsequently helped spread the word about the environmental injustices occurring on the home-front here in Saskatchewan and Alberta:
- Power Shift 2012
- The Canadian Youth Climate Coalition
- Office of Sustainability, University of Saskatchewan
- HUES3 Campaign
- The Committee for Future Generations
’til next time,
Megan Van Buskirk