It’s 2 a.m. and Marissa Kidd is on her couch, nursing her newborn son.
Kidd is tired—her baby boy is only a few days old and she’s hardly slept. But she’s also restless. There’s something on her mind, something that’s been brought sharply into focus ever since her second child was born.
What’s troubling her is this: The planet she lives on is in a climate change crisis and the politicians running the country aren’t doing enough to combat it.
“It blows my mind,” she said. “Climate change is such an urgent problem and we don’t treat it that way.”
Kidd has long been sounding the alarm that Canada and most of the other 194 governments around the world who signed the 2015 Paris Climate Pact are way off track in terms of meeting their carbon reduction goals.
However, bringing a new baby into the world has made the issue all the more visceral for Kidd.
“It’s become a much more emotional fight for me, that’s for sure,” she said.
And so, while her baby nursed, Kidd decided to take action in the only way that was really possible at that moment: she wrote a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. In it, she urged him to take action that would help transition Canada from a resource-based economy to a clean energy economy. She pressed him to listen to our Indigenous communities, who have been living with the negative affects of climate change for decades. And she asked him to embrace a Green New Deal, a suite of economic policies which would address climate change and also the human injustices it magnifies.
“Something about being a mother ignited this rage that we’ve let the world become this way,” she said.
And so, the next night, Kidd wrote another letter. This time it was to Canada’s Environment Minister, Catherine McKenna. And then she wrote another.
“I want to be able to look at my kids and say I did everything I could in my power when they ask me ‘How did you let this happen?’” she said.
On March 2 and 3, in conjunction with the world-wide, youth-led classroom walkout to call governments to climate change action, Kidd took her letter-writing campaign to the community. She set up a station at the Jasper Municipal Library and, in a marathon of messaging, coached or supported others to pen their own protestations to parliament.
“We as individuals, even if we do all the right things, aren’t going to get us there,” she said about the commitment to avoid global warming of more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial period. “What we need to do is mobilize on a much larger level.”
Hand-written letters hold a special power with elected officials. Kidd is hoping that the ones Jasper sends to Ottawa will help politicians make the right decisions.
Because it’s not just her future she’s worried about.
“We have to love our children by demanding they have a future,” she said.
Kidd is planning another letter writing marathon for climate justice May 24. Find her local Climate Justice Jasper page on Facebook for updates on the campaign.
Bob Covey // email@example.com