Give us a fair chance before passing judgment

Insinuating young people political pawns not helping

I am responding to Murray Cantelon’s letter to the editor (Cowichan Valley Citizen, Nov. 8).

Suggesting that youth are using the climate activism movement for “demonizing adults”, and insinuating that young people are merely political pawns unable to make educated and rational decisions themselves, is detrimental to cultivating a culture that supports youth to become contributing members of society.

Youth who get involved in climate activism are holding themselves accountable first and foremost when it comes to creating systemic change towards a circular economy and regenerative culture.

Both of these concepts can have long-term positive economic, social and environmental impacts on our society. We, as young people, are challenging society to look back on itself – not looking to place blame, but asking society as a whole to reflect on the consequences of past actions and begin to collaborate inter-generationally to move forward together in a better way, for a better tomorrow.

An example of this inter-generational collaboration took place Nov. 29 at Duncan United Church. The Cowichan Valley Earth Guardians crew, a group of youth leaders and change makers cooperating collectively for climate justice, hosted Youth Get Charged Up!, a festival of youth engagement opportunities.

The purpose of this event was to encourage youth to get involved with local organizations that cater to young people and support opportunities for involvement in social and environmental causes. The event included performances by youth singers, poets and musicians, a silent auction, face painting, clothing swap and much more.

The Cowichan Valley Earth Guardians crew welcomed everyone to the event – parents, grandparents, youth, teachers. We extended the hand of friendship to our naysayers and invited them to meet us in person, have a conversation with us and give us a fair chance before criticizing or passing judgment.

Making assumptions or rude comments about young people who you don’t know personally isn’t giving us a chance, and undermines our sincere intentions and our goal of intergenerational collaboration for a regenerative future.

As the poet Rumi said, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”

Katia Bannister,

Thetis Island,

Co-leader of Earth Guardians Cowichan Valley

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