VICTORIA, B.C - The province’s task force on emergencies misses the mark. We need action, not just talk. One concrete step is a provincially-funded Youth Climate Corps (YCC).
“Countless young people across the province are struggling to find meaningful employment that pays a living wage and contributes to the wellbeing of their communities, while at the same time communities lack the people needed to do the work that’s needed to mitigate and prepare for climate emergencies,” said Sonia Furstenau, Leader of the B.C. Greens and MLA for Cowichan Valley.
“We are proposing a Youth Climate Corps, an employment program that would provide work and training for youth in their communities. The work and skills would be related to fostering climate resilience and a more sustainable future for B.C."
Adaptation and mitigation work is needed across the province. A provincially-funded YCC could complete this work, while empowering the next generation of climate leaders.
Examples of projects include:
- Wildfire risk reduction
- Regional food security
- Energy efficiency
- Ecosystem restoration
- Community engagement and education
Since 2020, YCC programs have operated in six B.C. communities, achieving success without any provincial funding to date.
“The demand and programs exist; it's long-term provincial funding that's lacking,” continued Furstenau. “A provincially-funded YCC can help tackle our climate crisis, employing thousands of youth with a living wage. This is an opportunity for the Province of B.C. to show leadership, with a response to the climate crisis that results in on the ground action and a just transition for young workers.
“We see time and time again that the current approach to addressing climate change isn’t working. People are tired of hearing ‘unprecedented wildfire season’ and ‘historic floods.’ Just as the climate is changing, the Province’s approach to problem solving must change too. There is an opportunity here to engage youth, build resiliency and plan for the future; it’s an opportunity for the government to invest in a healthier future for BC and the people who live here.”
Local governments are often burdened with the financial responsibility of preparing for and responding to the climate crisis. They need additional support of a young workforce to help move their climate plans into implementation.
“Young people will be impacted by the climate crisis throughout their lives, and it is important we give them pathways to good green jobs that implement solutions in their communities. The B.C. Green Caucus is not the first organization to call for a YCC - others have been advocating for this at both the provincial and national level. It’s time for the BC NDP to invest in the future of the province, and our youth.”
B.C. Green Caucus
+1 250-882-6187 | [email protected]