Episode 2: Jacqueline Lee-Tam
In this episode, Grace chats with Jacqueline Lee-Tam, a climate justice organizer and university student, about her collaboration on a national youth campaign to condemn the Canadian government’s decision to purchase the Trans Mountain pipeline. Jacqueline speaks about how she begun engaging with the climate movement in high school, how she has found community in the movement, and how love drives her work.
Call to Action
This call to action is slightly more abstract than usual but I was so inspired by Jacqueline and by the members of the Prime Minister’s Youth Council who signed onto the open letter. Today’s call to action is to be brave, to step beyond your comfort zone for climate action. So many people, especially Indigenous people, racialized people, young people, are putting their bodies, their hearts, their lives on the line for climate justice. The rest of us need to step up. Do you have any kind of leadership role? In faith communities, academic communities, companies, clubs, local governments? We need your courage more than ever. Maybe this means canvasing for climate justice in upcoming elections, even if the thought terrifies you. Or leading your community in taking a bold stance on climate, even if you might get pushback.
I’ll be trying to do it everyday with you. This podcast is one way I’m stepping out of my comfort zone. Yes, I’m worried about the vitriol and the hate that will inevitably come my way. Yes, I’m worried this might hurt my career. But, as I remind myself every time I get scared, I’m more worried about the fate of this beautiful planet and its inhabitants. And I’m moved every day by the incredible courage of those putting their bodies on the line for our future.
Mentioned in this Episode
Letter from members of the Prime Minister’s Youth Council calling on Justin Trudeau to cancel the buyout of the Trans Mountain Pipeline
The Kwekwecnewtxw or “Watch House”
David Dodge’s comments on violence against protesters
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
A Note from Jacqueline
I’ve been thinking about what it means to be an activist, and though I suppose I do fit the definition in terms of advocating for a side of a controversial issue, I don’t feel like I merit the word nearly as much as folks who have made many more sacrifices than I have – whether by putting their physical bodies on the line or pouring financial resources into the fight or spending countless hours over many years working on these issues. At this moment in my life, I feel like “organizer” is a more accurate word for me as it better captures the scope of my work so far in the movement – engaging with climate justice issues and bringing people together around them. I am still figuring out my place in the movement, still finding a place to land where I can do good work that is meaningful and needed. – Jacqueline Lee-Tam