Who are you?
We’re a growing collective of citizens and grassroots organizers working together to create action on the climate crisis, particularly in ways that intersect with and help to address other urgent issues of poverty, colonialism, racism, and more. We are students, teachers, scientists, farmers, retirees, parents, and more.
Who funds you?
We’re a grassroots collective with no paid staff or regular funding – for many folks involvement with CJS is in addition to work and/or studies. We do receive and solicit donations for particular projects and events for things like renting event space, providing refreshments, and so on. In addition, we have applied for and received grants for particular projects and events, which are acknowledged where relevant.
Which political party are you affiliated with?
None! We’re a non-partisan group, although that doesn’t mean we’re non-political. Our very model of community organizing is an alternative to organizing within electoral politics, and we believe strongly that this is a critical way to engage with the political process.
Electoral politics have been at times a major focus of our work, because we don’t live in a vacuum and recognize that elections matter. But we don’t take cues from parties or candidates. Part of our focus is ensuring that climate change is at the top of the agenda in every election.
Who do you work with?
We’re always interested in collaborating with other groups and individuals. Locally and provincially we’ve organized alongside many others, such as Idle No More, the Saskatchewan Environmental Society, Fridays for Future, SaskForward, SEIU-West, and many others. We’re also members of The Stand – Community Organizing Centre.
What is climate justice, anyway?
Climate justice is a framework for understanding and addressing the global climate crisis as interconnected with the other major crises of our time – colonial extractivism, racial injustice, and wealth inequality, to name just a few. Climate justice is an approach that recognizes that solving the climate crisis must mean addressing these interconnected issues together, examining the root problems of the mess we find ourselves in. Fundamentally, it means taking leadership from marginalized and frontline communities that have historically contributed the least to climate change and yet who stand to suffer the most from its consequences.
For example, in Canada the climate justice movement takes a lot of leadership from Indigenous communities, many of which are on the frontlines asserting their sovereignty and resisting increased extraction. In Saskatchewan, where settlement is based on treaty agreements with the peoples on whose traditional land we are now located, treaty justice, including meaningful reconciliation and decolonization, must be a critical component of the climate justice conversation.
Such issues can be hard to grapple with, and we welcome questions from folks interested in learning more.
Don’t you know the climate has always changed?!
Of course, and it always will! But that doesn’t mean that all climate change is the same. Moreover, we know that anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change isn’t a problem that can be ‘stopped’ – changes are already being experienced, and a lot of warming is already locked in based on historical and ongoing emissions. However, we understand that there are a wide range of potential outcomes, and we believe that it is imperative to struggle for the least amount of anthropogenic warming possible so as to avert the worst possible consequences.
If you’re interested in further reading, and understanding why a lot of common talking points are misleading or wrong, a classic and important resource is Skeptical Science.
What does Saskatoon have to do with all of this, then?
We have to face the reality that the climate is changing and that this has local effects, effects that will intensify in the years to come. It is imperative that we adapt and build a resilient community that can thrive through change. Moreover, we have a moral obligation to do our part to mitigate climate change by reducing our own emissions and becoming a sustainable community. Saskatoon and Saskatchewan have particularly high rates of emissions per capita, and while there are many reasons for this, we believe it is our duty to change course – not to disparage the past, but to help safeguard the future.
So what can we do here?
Great question! Continuing to emphasize the urgency of this issue and the possibility of changing course is of paramount importance. We need our leaders to understand that people get the problem and are ready and eager to tackle it. There is so much we can all do to decrease our own emissions, and such approaches are important and worthwhile. At the same time, we believe that systemic problems demand systemic solutions, and that therefore the most effective action any individual can take is getting involved in the climate justice movement.
What if I have more questions? And how can I join?!
Please check out our Get Involved page and also feel welcome to reach out to us directly by email at climatejusticeyxe[at]gmail[dot]com.