Youth Have Been Speaking, It Is Time to Start Listening
Currently, there are major movements taking place in areas all over the world in order to call action to climate change and other environmental concerns. Science and research strongly suggests that now is an integral time to treat the earth with a little more respect and attempt to undo some of the damage we have done. Younger generations worry that they will be faced with the adverse effects of climate change, and will have to endure extreme and dangerous weather changes, and polluted waters. Scientists have steadily been warning us about the decrease in the earth’s range of different animals, increased water levels, intense heat waves, etc. There are several ways that we can do our part in helping to reduce climate change. From the smaller and more individual things such as eliminating single use plastics, changing methods of transportation, using reusable menstrual products, etc. To larger and more social things such as the thousands who were inspired by Climate Activist Greta Thunberg to skip school and march to protest climate change in Victoria, Montreal, Toronto, Halifax, etc.
In fact, just last week another young motivational female named Autumn Peltier addressed the United Nations about the water crisis in the First Nations communities across Canada. Although, she is not receiving the same amount of media attention at Greta Thunberg, she has also been nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize by the David Suzuki foundation, and has been fighting to protect water since she was a child.
Watch Autumn address pipelines when she was only 12 years old here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEDqbzLFOlc
“We can’t eat money, or drink oil,”
Autumn said at the UN headquarters last week. Throughout her childhood living with her community, Autumn was taught valuable lessons of the importance and sacredness of water. In 2015 at the tender age 11, she spoke at Sweden Children’s Climate Crisis, and only one year later she addressed Justin Trudeau and expressed her disappointment over his “broken promises”. Autumn is the Anishinabek Nation chief water commissioner and from the Wiikwemkoong First Nation community on Manitoulin Island in Northern Ontario. At only 15 years of age, she has been named “The Water Warrior”, as she has already spent half of her life fighting against water injustices.
There are currently more than 60 First Nation communities across Canada under long-term boiling water advisories. However, some of these contaminants are not eradicated by boiling water and still incredibly harmful or life-threatening. Most of these communities have been on boiling water advisories for extended periods of time, some as many as 25 years. This has forced many members of these communities find alternate water sources, and exercising extra caution or adding steps when doing every day things such as cooking, or bathing their children. This has urged many to wonder why there are communities suffering to have clean water when we live in a wealthy country that has the third largest renewable fresh water supply in the world, and 20% of the planet’s fresh water
“We are water – we come from water and when the water is sick – we are sick,” Autumn said at the Eshekenijig & Getzidjig Governance Gathering in Sault Ste. Marie on July 30, 2019.
The lack of clean water supply to Indigenous communities across Canada along with the teachings of Autumn’s Aunt Josephine, are what first sparked Peltier’s activism. Autumn often speaks of the spiritual and cultural importance of water, and how our need for water begins in our mother’s womb when we are submerged in it. She educates the public on her communities’ and other Indigenous communities’ beliefs in the idea that water is living and is the “blood of Mother Earth”.
Needless to say, Autumn is surely an inspiration for the First Nations communities and all other communities across Canada, as she continues to raise awareness, and speak at prominent events on the importance of water and keeping our sacred water clean. Both Autumn Peltier and Greta Thunberg are proof that age does not matter when it comes to activism. They both exemplify that if we are very passionate about something, we have a strong voice that can be heard, can inspire others to rise up, and hopefully can change the world.To learn more about the teaching of sacred water and Autumn’s personal journey read: