Ben Powless, a Mohawk man from Six Nations and organizer with Defenders of the Land and the Indigenous Environmental Network in Ottawa, spoke for two hours on climate justice to an attentive audience at Conserver House in Fredericton on Wednesday evening, March 30th. The room was packed, standing room only, with approximately 70 people in attendance.
Powless spoke about his time in Peru and his reportage and solidarity work with the indigenous people in the Peruvian Amazon who are affected by encroachment of oil and gas companies. He also shared the stories of First Nations communities affected by the tar sands in Alberta. On display were pictures that Powless took of communities in Bagua, Peru and around the tar sands in Alberta. He spoke about action on climate change at the United Nations level, what climate justice means and what he sees as real solutions to climate change. He works to debunk the false solutions to climate change. Instead, he injects a human element to the climate debate, making social justice and indigenous sovereignty a top priority.
Powless is also profiled in a new book that hit store shelves last spring, The Next Eco-Warriors. The book shares the stories of a new generation of change-makers who are tackling the world’s most dire problems of climate change, marine ecosystem and rainforest degradation and the disappearance of indigenous cultures.
The talk in Fredericton was supported by the Conservation Council, the St. Thomas University Native Studies Program, the Native Student Council, the CUPE Global Justice Committee and the Atlantic Council for International Cooperation.
Tracy Glynn is on the board of the NB Media Co-op.