Voices from New Brunswick’s Future: Call for Young Writers

Photo by Martin Spiske from Unsplash

The RAVEN project is calling upon young voices. This summer, we are starting a new Letters from New Brunswick’s future initiative, written and edited by young people in New Brunswick. The project managing editor is Kelly Green, a student and coordinator of the fossil fuel divestment campaign at St. Thomas University.

The year is 2040 and you are living in New Brunswick. In 2021, New Brunswickers understood that in order to avoid the irrevocable magnitude of what climate change can do to our planet, we needed to take urgent action to shift our current systems. Your community and province have finally taken these measures to get off fossil fuels and to adapt to a changing climate. How do you envision this green future for New Brunswick?

A report prepared by the IPCC in 2018 warned us of a twelve-year time span to change our way of life before the impacts of climate change become an irreversible reality. Although the impending crisis requires immediate action, it seems that everything is running business-as-usual. But what if we made the change? What if New Brunswick transformed to ensure a green future? What would that future look like, and how did we get there?

In 2019 and 2020, the RAVEN (Rural Action and Voices for the Environment) project at the University of New Brunswick collected 20 “letters from the future” from New Brunswickers. People of all ages were invited to be a part of building a new narrative, a vision for a future New Brunswick in 2030, 2040, 2050, or later. The idea was inspired by the video Message from the Future, by US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The original call for writers, written by RAVEN co-investigator Daniel Tubb and UNB student Abram Lutes, can be viewed here. They gathered letters from New Brunswickers to help shape a vision of what a green future would look like when adapted locally. Those letters were published online by RAVEN partner the NB Media Co-op and will be part of an edited book to be launched this Autumn.

Now we are starting a new Letters project, written by young authors. Other than thinking of our worst-case scenario, which tends to be the narrative when discussing the climate crisis, we want to hear how younger generations envision a progressive and prosperous move to a green future in New Brunswick. All published letters from the previous “Letters from New Brunswick’s Future” series can be viewed here; these included ideas such as low carbon mobility, unified local communities, conservation, and much more.

Letters from the future take a hypothetical look back to envision what New Brunswick could accomplish by 2030 onward if we change our habits, productions, and structures. Looking back from 2030 and beyond, how did New Brunswick respond to climate change? How did we overcome the challenges faced? What were our solutions? What initiatives did New Brunswick take to build a carbon-free province? These are all possible questions that could be addressed in the letters.

We are looking to publish around 20 letters written by authors from 13 to 25 years old. Writers should be from, studying, or residing in New Brunswick, with a plan to stay here for the foreseeable future.

Submissions of between 800 and 1,200 words will be accepted beginning June 1, 2021. Letters should be sent directly to Kelly Green at hmkxn@stu.ca. All accepted letters are subject to edits from RAVEN and the NB Media Co-op editorial board before being published by the NB Media Co-op online.

Authors of letters selected for publication by the NB Media Co-op will receive a $50 honorarium from RAVEN. We are looking forward to highlighting the visions of young voices.

Kelly Green,
RAVEN Research Assistant

Student-led fossil fuel divestment campaigns continue

The students leading the fossil fuel divestment campaigns at UNB (Rose He) and STU (Kelly Green) published an article in RAVEN partner, the NB Media Co-op. Their article discussed the campaigns at all four major universities in the province.

You can read their article: Student-led fossil fuel divestment campaigns continue in New Brunswick through the pandemic, at this link.

Fossil fuel divestment campaign continues at UNB

The UNB divestment campaign continuing in Autumn 2020, led by Rose He, RAVEN research assistant and first year electrical engineering student. RAVEN is also working with the fossil fuel divestment campaign at St. Thomas University, led by Environment & Society student Kelly Green.

For more information about the campaign or to sign the petition, check out our divestment page.

More nuclear energy is not a feasible energy solution in NB

The fossil-fuel divestment campaign at UNB is led by Rachel Bensler, a student at Renaissance College. Rachel has written several articles about fossil fuel divestment for our partner, the NB Media Co-op. Now she is looking at nuclear energy as an alternative. Read Rachel’s article here about why she believes it is not a feasible solution.

Nuclear energy not a ‘crutch’ in energy transition

RAVEN’s Hannah Moore is leading the fossil fuel divestment campaign at St. Thomas University. Hannah wrote this article about another energy source that presents a different kind of challenge: nuclear energy. You can read Hannah’s article here, published by RAVEN partner, the NB Media Co-op.

Why grassroots activism is required to change climate policy

RAVEN’s Hannah Moore is leading the St. Thomas University divestment campaign. Today Hannah published a story explaining why divestment campaigns and other activities of grassroots activism are required to stimulate action on the climate crisis. You can read Hannah’s story here.

Ending toxic relationships at universities

RAVEN’s Hannah Moore is leading the St. Thomas University fossil fuel divestment campaign. Today Hannah published an article explaining why universities’ investments in fossil fuels are toxic and what it means to shift to a more healthy relationship. You can read Hannah’s article here.

Fossil fuel divestment booklet presented at UNB Board of Governors meeting

RAVEN’s Rachel Bensler is leading the UNB divestment campaign. She has produced a booklet “A Guide to the Orange Square” with information about fossil fuel divestment and wearing the orange square. The campaign is supported by RAVEN, the UNB Students Union and the UGSW – union of graduate student workers.

The booklet was presented at the UNB Board of Governors meeting on Feb. 20 by the Board investments committee. The committee is in ongoing dialogue with Rachel and the divestment campaign about how to engage with fossil fuel divestment while being fiscally responsible.

UNB graduate student workers support fossil-fuel divestment

The Union of Graduate Student Workers (UGSW), local 60550 of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) represents University of New Brunswick graduate students who work as teaching and research assistants at UNB. Today the UGSC confirmed it is supporting the UNB fossil-fuel divestment campaign. The UGSW logo will be included in the February information booklet. Thank you for your support!

Universities funding planetary destruction

RAVEN’s Hannah Moore is leading the fossil fuel divestment campaign at St. Thomas University. Hannah wrote an article about university complicity in the climate crisis and the need for divestment campaigns. You can read Hannah’s article here.

A call for the University of New Brunswick to show leadership

RAVEN’s Rachel Bensler is leading the Fossil-Free UNB campaign. Today she published an article in the NB Media Co-op, RAVEN’s research partner, calling for the University to show leadership and divest from fossil fuels. You can read Rachel’s article here.

Climate action: update

RAVEN’s Rachel Bensler, who is leading the Fossil-Free UNB campaign, was invited to speak at the Nov. 29 climate strike outside the NB Legislature in Fredericton. Susan O’Donnell’s story about the rally and the lack of political action inside the legislature was published by RAVEN partner, the NB Media Co-op. You can read the story here.

Calling all UNB alumni to support fossil fuel divestment

RAVEN’s Patrick Donovan published a story in the NB Media Co-op about the UNB divestment campaign. The article describes the history and current state of the campaign and notes that the petition is open to all UNB alumni. You can read Patrick’s article here.

Updates on the Fossil-Free UNB campaign

Two updates to share:

  • Good news from the UNB Student Union, the organization that represents the 6,000 undergraduate and professional students at UNB Fredericton. Last night at their meeting, they endorsed the current Fossil-Free UNB campaign, with the caveat that divestment cannot be used as an excuse by the UNB administration to raise student fees. Thanks to RAVEN students Rachel Bensler and Patrick Donovan who made the successful presentation to the student union at their last meeting in September.
  • Today Rachel Bensler (the UNB student leading the Fossil-Free UNB Orange Square campaign) and Susan O’Donnell (RAVEN project lead investigator) met with the UNB Board of Governors investment committee. You can view a copy of our presentation here. Our meeting ended with a commitment by the committee to share information with us about their fossil fuel investments. Here’s the link to the UNB divestment campaign.

If you have a connection to UNB, have a look at Orange Square petition, the list of people who have signed already, and the email to add your signature. The link is here.

The FF UNB campaign’s next step is to create a booklet with information about the contribution of the fossil fuel industry to the climate crisis, the importance of divestment from fossil fuel infrastructure, the investments of UNB in fossil fuels, questions and answers about divestment, and how to get involved in the campaign.

RAVEN student on CBC radio – eco-anxiety and divestment

Rachel Bensler, a RAVEN research assistant, was interviewed by CBC radio in a segment that played this morning. The focus was “eco-anxiety” and she also spoke about the fossil fuel divestment campaign at UNB. You can listen to the interview, on Information Morning – Fredericton, from this link. Rachel you made some excellent points, well done!

Information on the divestment campaign, Fossil-Free UNB is here.

Sept 24: UNB and STU students for fossil fuel divestment

During our Voices for the Environment Week, RAVEN and our research partner the NB Media Co-op invite you to the Tuesday, Sept 24 event: discussion with the UNB and STU students leading the Orange Square campaigns for fossil fuel divestment at each of the universities.

The campaigns were launched on Sept. 20 at the Climate Strike and rally at UNB.

Join UNB student Rachel Bensler and STU student Hannah Moore at noon in room 120 of Marshall D’Avery Hall (UNB Education Building, 10 Mackay Dr.) It’s the big room inside the main entrance across from the cafeteria. Parking is behind the building. Visitor parking passes are free for all UNB events, from the facilities / security building inside the UNB entrance on King’s College Rd.

University divestment campaigns are happening globally. The RAVEN project is supporting the student-led Orange Square divestment campaign at UNB that is working together with the Orange Square student-led campaign at STU.

Here is the info and update page on RAVEN’s support for the UNB campaign.

Voices for the Environment week Sept 20-27

This year September 20 to 27 is the global week of action on the climate crisis. As members of the local and global movements for social justice and environmental action, RAVEN and our research partner the NB Media Co-op will be hosting “Voices for the Environment” week.

Below is the list of events with links to the details of times and locations including Keswick Ridge, and the University of New Brunswick and St. Thomas University in Fredericton.

Friday, September 20, noon: Poetry for the Climate Crisis with El Jones, Sue Sinclair, Rebecca Salazar, Lauren R. Korn and Emily Skov-Nielson, followed by Fridays for the Future Climate Strike. More info and poster here.

Saturday and Sunday, September 21-22, 9am to 1pm: Spoken word poetry workshop with El Jones – Poetry for the Climate Crisis. More info and registration link here.

Tuesday, September 24, noon: UNB and STU students Rachel Bensler and Hannah Moore speak out about fossil fuel divestment at the universities.

Wednesday, September 25, noon: STU Prof Janice Harvey’s teach-in on citizen responses to the climate crisis.

Thursday, September 26, 4pm: RAVEN’s first birthday party in Keswick Ridge. All RAVEN friends invited to share a harvest meal!

Friday, September 27, 2pm: The Women Resisting Extractivism and Bridging the Scholarship-Activist Divide: Ramona Nicholas, Sherry Pictou, Shannon Bell, Tracy Glynn. Plus a photovoice exhibition!

RAVEN’s further engagement with UNB on fossil fuel divestment

In July, RAVEN sent a letter to the UNB strategic planning group to request that the university’s new strategic plan include divestment of fossil fuels. We asked the university administration to work with us and other members of the university community on the divestment campaign. You can read the letter here.

In August, we contacted the secretariat of the university’s board of governor’s (the governing body) and the university president, with a copy of our letter and asked again for collaboration on the divestment campaign. The secretariat confirmed on August 20 that our request was circulated to the board of governors. We look forward to a positive response!

Tina Oh: challenging complicity with the fossil fuel industry

RAVEN’s Abram Lutes is continuing his research and writing in preparation for RAVEN’s support for the UNB fossil fuel divestment campaign. His most recent article includes an interview with Tina Oh and the campaign at Mount Allison University in Sackville. You can read the story here.

RAVEN calls on UNB to end fossil fuel investments

RAVEN is based at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) which is currently developing its strategic plan for the future. This week, RAVEN’s principal investigator Dr. Susan O’Donnell sent a letter to the UNB strategic planning committee asking the university to include divestment from fossil fuels in its strategic plan.

The key text of the letter states:

The RAVEN project would like to work with the UNB administration on a campaign to end any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, and to divest from direct ownership and commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds. We believe this campaign at UNB will support not only an ethical financial portfolio but also the wellbeing of its current and future students and rural communities across the province, who deserve to have a future not defined by climate chaos.”

The letter can be accessed here.

RAVEN’s voices for the environment week: Sept 20-27

September 20, noon, UNB Fredericton: Poetry for the Climate Crisis, followed by Fridays for the Future Climate Strike

September 21-22, 9am to 1pm, UNB Fredericton: Spoken word poetry workshop with El Jones: Poetry for the Climate Crisis

September 23, noon, UNB Fredericton: Students speak out about fossil fuel divestment at UNB and STU

September 24, noon, UNB Fredericton: Professors facilitate a teach-in on the climate crisis

September 26, noon, UNB Fredericton: discussion of activist research with Shannon Bell

September 26, 4-6pm, Keswick Ridge: RAVEN’s first birthday party

September 27, 2pm, STU: The Women Resisting Extractivism and Bridging the Scholarship-Activist Divide