Canada is on fire

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The fifth season has arrived, and Canada won’t stop burning. r1

Friends,

We are only in the third week of summer, yet every week it seems there is another climate disaster.

I am reminded of the devastating impacts of the last two record-breaking wildfire seasons. In my hometown in Kelowna, BC, a heavy blanket of smoke hung over us for three weeks last August.

My town isn’t the only one impacted. 96% of Canada’s communities near forest and grasslands have been ravaged by wildfires for the past three years. This week alone we have witnessed uncontrollable wildfires spread across the Yukon and Northern Ontario.

A few weeks ago, we asked people across Canada how these wildfires have impacted their communities. Submissions poured in from all corners of the country, and we put together a storytelling project called the “Fifth Season.” Read our stories here, and then share them with your friends and family.

It’s critical for as many people as possible to hear these stories. They are a testament to the fact that climate change is a lived reality for so many of us... across the country -- and we have to respond urgently.

The name “Fifth Season” is a reference to wildfires that have become so common across the country each summer that they’re a season to themselves. Take my home province of BC for example, where 15 wildfires were reported in the last week alone. I am afraid for what is to come this summer.

I still remember the impact the smoke had on my partner, who has asthma, last August. My family, along with other farmers and migrant workers, worked long days under an apocalyptic sky during harvest season. The air quality remained at very high risk for the region for the entire month. I grew up in the Okanagan, and I couldn’t remember the impacts of wildfire smoke being this intense in my lifetime.1 I felt defenceless not being able to protect the people and place I love.

That's why today, we're not just asking you to understand the crisis by visiting our Fifth Season page. We're also asking for action. We are asking you to take action on July 17th and demand the CBC host a federal leaders’ debate on climate change and a Green New Deal. Sign up to take action alongside thousands of people from across the country.

Canada is on fire, but so is the rest of the world. In my parent’s home country, India, climate change could make entire parts of the country uninhabitable within years.

To put out this fire, we need to put our federal leaders in the hot seat and find out which one of them has an emergency grade response plan that meets the scale of the climate crisis.

That’s why we need people of all ages, from all walks of life to take action.

I hope you join me on July 17th outside your nearest CBC studio to demand Canada’s first leaders' debate on climate change.

Onwards,
Jennifer


References

1 - Okanagan air quality index poor due to smoke


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