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Letters to the editor, September 26, 2019

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Election readiness

I am a student studying conservation biology, learning about the consequences of human action on our climate and biodiversity every day. I am lucky that I am educated on the urgency of this climate emergency, however, not everyone understands what is at risk and what must change to evade this crisis.

In a federal election year, we have a critical opportunity to make sure that real solutions to the climate crisis, like a Green New Deal, are at the centre of every party's platform. That's why we need a leaders' debate on climate change before voters hit the ballot box on October 21.

It is shameful that climate change only received 15 minutes of air time in federal leaders' debates in the last election. Our climate and our planet simply can't afford for that to happen again. That's why I am one of tens of thousands of people who have called on CBC to host a leaders' debate on the climate crisis and a Green New Deal ahead of the election.
Anik Obomsawin, Halifax

Once again people are applying for the job of spending our tax dollars and running the country. All I would like to see and hear is what they will do for Canada and our world. Any politician who takes up space bad-mouthing others who want the job should not be considered. It is clear that they have nothing of substance to offer. The application should show facts about past achievements as well as clear pictures of where they will go. I would love for them to state that if they do not do exactly what they promised to do, they will immediately resign. Is that too much to ask?
—Lorne Perry, Halifax

In the "Canada votes" item on page 3 of last week's issue, you've got the voting date as October 22. I'm pretty sure it's October 21.
—Sabina, Halifax

Editor's note: Thanks, Sabina. You're right that Monday, October 21 is the day of the federal election. There are also advance polls happening October 11-14. Sorry for any confusion.


Climate fuckery

It was sad to read the comments on the news stories around the climate protests in Halifax, especially the snide ones attached to the "die-in" led by high school students at a local mall ("Young people aren't fucking around with the climate," City story by Mallory Burnside-Holmes, September 19, titled "Halifax youth are dying-in and marching out in the name of climate change action" at thecoast.ca).

I have worked with high school students my entire career. I've seen them give of themselves in many different ways, all in service to others. About 20 years ago, I worked with groups of 15-to-18-year-old students who volunteered for a telephone counselling line for teens. They spent 30 hours in training, then committed to working at least four hours per week for one year on the phones, providing a non-judgemental supportive ear (or crisis intervention), and then referring callers to professional services if appropriate. At the time, these youth volunteers had more training in suicide intervention than most physicians. They were not paid for this work.

Today, I'm in positions where I see many examples of students who volunteer their time and share their skills with others: raising money for hospitals, gathering mittens and hats for the homeless, being camp counsellors at summer camps for kids with cancer. Again, they are not paid for this work (and it is work).

I could give many more examples, but you get the point. I would bet many of the kids at these climate protests have volunteered more in their community in 16 years than most of the commenters have in their 40+ years. So to them I say sit back and make your smug "kids today" comments on social media, and let the kids get back to work saving the planet.
—Janet MacDonald, Halifax

I just wanted to make you aware that despite the title of the article, young people aren't "fucking" around with the climate. Obviously it was very poor judgement on behalf of the EDITOR to let such a derogatory and foul word be the header in this column, let alone an article on young people. I would suggest someone be held accountable for such poor lack of judgement, and possibly a retraction printed.
—Joe Stepaniak, Halifax

In the story, Burnside-Holmes quotes one of the teenage subjects talking about adults: "They have more power than youth in our community and government." We really fucking don't, though. As long as capitalism is in charge, things really aren't going to get better.
—posted by Bucca at thecoast.ca

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