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Edmontonians Come Together to Talk Climate Justice in the Heart of Oil Country

People's Assembly for Climate Justice brings talk of Food Security, political change and challenging the oil industry

by Cameron Fenton

Edmontonians Come Together to Talk Climate Justice in the Heart of Oil Country

Edmonton – On Wednesday December 1, around fifty people gathered at the Stanley Milner library in Edmonton for the first ever Edmonton People’s Assembly on Climate Justice. It was the first of fourteen similar events taking place across the country during the United Nations Cancun climate summit which finishes this week. Andrea Harden, Climate and Energy campaigner for the Council of Canadians explained, “the assemblies taking place across Canada are in keeping, bringing people together on a community basis to have a dialogue on climate justice and how to transform this into local action.”

“In Edmonton, about fifty people came together to start having the kind of conversations the Canadian government is trying hard to avoid in Cancun,” Scott Harris, Prairies Regional Organizer with the Council of Canadians, explained. “Conversations about local resilience, about building food security and about finding the means in our communities to get off of fossil fuels.”

After a first round of discussion on the relationship between climate change and social justice in Edmonton, the group broke out into solutions oriented discussion groups focusing on a number of topics from developing alternatives to the tar sands in Alberta to how to bring about changes in the political arena.

These discussions led to a number of actionable ideas being broached.

Many people rallied around one idea to push newly elected members of the Edmonton city council to allocate funding for local food security programs in the upcoming civic budget. Beyond these ideas, the assembly ended with the strengthening of existing bonds, the construction of new networks and a desire to continue moving forward collectively towards climate justice.

According to Harris, this represents a step in the right direction.

“It's small, but it's what we should have started doing 18 years ago, instead of trusting that our elected representatives would do it for us.”

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