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Letter: Emily Kelsall "true leader" for climate activism

One reader commends the the actions of the West Vancouver activist
Kelsall was handed a jail sentences of 28 days for donning a T-rex costume and playing badminton inside a Trans Mountain worksite in May. | trexagainsttmx/Screenshot

Re: REX against TMX protester gets extra week in jail for courtroom dinosaur “stunt”

Dear Editor,

In my view Emily Kelsall, who was recently handed a prison sentence of 28 days because of taking a stand to protect our environment from the Trans Mountain Pipeline project, is a youth hero and should be supported by the North Shore Community.

She, along with the other land and water defenders, including those of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, are true leaders.

We are heading into a global crisis and these leaders are desperately trying to get the message out.

Research now published in Nature and Lancet Planetary Health (2021) shows that there is an alarming yet understandable crisis in our communities, but especially in our children and young people - that of “eco-anxiety” and “climate grief” characterized by a range of emotions including sadness, anger, and helplessness.

This widespread anxiety stems partly from youth feeling failed by governments and betrayed by leaders with respect to climate inaction; in essence they feel let down by the systems that are supposed to protect us.

Critical assessments of the present status, consequences, and commercial viability of the Trans Mountain Pipeline project - including a recent panel discussion at SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue (The Hidden Costs of Canada’s Fossil Energy Expansion), and Robyn Allan’s 2022 article in West Coast Environmental Law (Trans Mountain: Compromised viability to cost taxpayers more than $17 billion) do nothing to assuage fears of the lack of governmental transparency surrounding the economics of the project, not to mention what is at stake for cultures, reconciliation, wildlife and ecosystems.

Intelligent youth like Emily Kels, all represent powerful advocates for positive social change and for protecting the environment; we need to uplift our youth to purpose and agency, not punish them for being leaders.

I urge North Shore residents to support Emily Kelsall who, along with other youth leaders, is undertaking courageous climate and conservation action at a time when life saving actions are required due to the complexity, extent and gravity of the environmental challenges that we face.

Allison Kermode,

West Vancouver

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