The RAVEN project (Rural Action and Voices for the Environment) at the University of New Brunswick is calling upon young voices. This summer, we are starting a new Letters from the Future project, written and edited by young people in New Brunswick. I am the project managing editor. I am a student and leader of the fossil fuel divestment campaign at St. Thomas University.
RAVEN and the NB Media Co-op are looking to publish about 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.
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, RAVEN 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 seeking the voices of youth. Instead of 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.
Submissions of between 800 and 1,200 words will be accepted beginning June 1, 2021. Letters should be sent directly to me, Kelly Green, at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 is a research assistant for the RAVEN project (Rural Action and Voices for the Environment) at the University of New Brunswick and a student and leader of the fossil fuel divestment campaign at St. Thomas University.