By Bella Melardi, Grade 11, Ontario, Cananda
Information is resistance. It will open our eyes. Awareness is change. The first step to solving a problem is acknowledging there is one. Let the existence of the climate crisis sink in. This is a reality check. Get out of your own heads. Snap out of it.
People’s lives are at stake. Climate change doesn’t affect everyone equally. People in power and people with privilege will not feel Mother Nature’s wrath the way minorities do. People will use their wealth and privilege as ‘band aids’ to block out destruction.
You can already see the effect that pollution is having on minorities in Canada. McGill Daily states, “In October 2020, over 250 Neskantaga residents were evacuated and transferred to a hotel in Thunder Bay after “an oily sheen was found in the Neskantaga water reservoir;” “high levels of hydrocarbons” were discovered in the water after testing.” The chemicals we created are destroying communities. They are festering in our waterways like tumors, spreading disease.
This destruction can also be seen through the construction of Line 3. Line 3 is a pipeline expansion that was just completed in September 2021. This pipeline will transport almost a million barrels of toxic tar sand oil per day from Alberta to Wisconsin. An oil spill would mean damage to coastal communities (near Lake Superior) and the wildlife, such as salmon and orca . StopLine3.org states, “Line 3 would violate the treaty rights of Anishinaabe peoples and nations in its path wild rice is a centerpiece of Anishinaabe culture, it grows in numerous watersheds Line 3 seeks to cross. It’s well past time to end the legacy of theft from and destruction of Indigenous peoples and territories.”
It is disgusting that our government allowed this pipeline to be built. They choose oil over preserving life! The people in power have to wake up! We have to find a new renewable resource. We have to act now. Researchers have found that we’ll likely cross the threshold for dangerous warming between 2027 and 2042. In 2042, I will only be 35 years old.
If you leave it up to my generation, it will be too late. We must all do better. Urge your elected officials to remove Line 3. Urge them to create a plan to invest in solar, wind or hydropower. We must switch to a renewable resource now! Increase the carbon tax. Instead of using tax dollars to invest in Line 3, the government should have used them to benefit the future of society. The Canadian government has to make stopping climate change a priority.
I want to help stop this but I feel so powerless. Corporations value making money over the future of their children. They value making money over minorities’ lives. Capitalism has caused people to become so consumed with greed. They are putting lives at stake. Mother Nature is bleeding. Humans are tearing out her skin and cutting her flesh. The earth is coughing up ash and choking on our greed. When will the earth’s heart give out?
This is my final plea to the people in power. You are selfish. You are killing us. You have already ruined the lives of countless Indigenous communities. You may not be affected by climate change right now but Indigenous people are. My generation will be. Our futures will rise up in flames. I don’t understand why you can be so selfish? Was it worth it? I hope you’re happy. You are exchanging lives for dollars. I hope it’s worth it.
We have to end the cycle of greed and suffering. Information is resistance. Open your eyes. Awareness is change. Use this awareness to get out of your own heads. Remove the shackles of greed that are binding you to your destructive choices. Think of the world around you. Here is a reality check.
Snap out of it.
Canada, Environment and Climate Change. “Government of Canada.” Canada.ca, Gouvernement Du Canada, 3 Mar. 2021, https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/environmental-indicators/progress-towards-canada-greenhouse-gas-emissions-reduction-target.html
Board, Editorial, and Editorial Board. “Neskantaga First Nation Still Doesn’t Have Clean Water.” The McGill Daily, 22 Jan. 2021, https://www.mcgilldaily.com/2021/01/neskantaga-first-nation-still-doesnt-have-clean-water/