Drawing Lines in Warming Times
In the year 168 BC, a Roman Senator named Popillius Laenas was sent as an envoy to confront and stop the Macedonian ruler Antiochus IV from his conquest of Egypt. History tells the story of Laenas standing alone, blocking Antiochus’ road to Alexandria and delivering a message for the Macedonian to withdraw his armies and retreat. The story goes that Laenus drew a circle in sand surrounding the king and demanded that he deliver his reply before stepping out, and so it goes that the phrase “drawing a line in the sand” was born.
While we no longer face the threat of Macedonian hordes poised to set upon our gates, the impacts of a changing climate require us to take a stand no less brazen than that of Laenas. We see the ecological, social and human impacts that a changing climate is wreaking around the globe, and we know that this promise of a world in chaos is what we are set to inherit. That is why our generation has drawn its own line in the sand and issued our demands to each and every Member of Parliament in this country.
Moving this country towards a clean, safe and just future will be no small feat. It often feel like the policies of the Canadian Government are stuck in the same tarry substance that many politicians seem so fond of, but the reality is that we have no other choice. Our planet, our future, and the thousands of people dealing with displacement, droughts, starvation and extreme weather cannot wait for the political climate to warm up to the real climate.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t draw a line all around Parliament Hill as Laenus did to Antiochus and demand the politicians remain inside until we saw real action. Instead we have given Member’s of Parliament until November 4th to sign onto Our Demands, but we will not sit by and wait for them to see the light. Over the coming three months we are moving into the next stage of our Wings of Change campaign, building our movement and mounting pressure.
At our Power Summer camps in July and August we will train over 200 youth in action and organizing skills, building the grassroots power of the youth climate movement from coast to coast to coast. Meanwhile, we will be organizing hundreds more youth to meet with their Member of Parliament to continue to push them to sign on and commit to building the future we all know that we need.
Our line has been drawn, and our position is clear. We believe in a just, sustainable future, but we are still waiting to hear what 300 and some politicians in this country believe in.
– Cameron Fenton