The first-ever Yukon First Nations Climate Action Gathering ended yesterday with a draft declaration to cooperatively address climate change as an emergency situation that requires immediate action.
The Yukon First Nations Climate Change Emergency Declaration sets the foundation for an accompanying Action Plan that will be drafted by Yukon's First Nations governments, both with special input from elders and youth.
The gathering in Whitehorse was hosted by the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Yukon Region and the Council of Yukon First Nations (CYFN) with $250,000 financial support from Environment and Climate Change Canada's Climate Action Fund.
Day one was dedicated to youth and elders, who articulated a vision of the future that is culturally-grounded, sustainable, and built upon local ancestral teachings of resiliency and collectivity. Panels, presentations and breakout sessions addressed the relationship between climate change and energy, governance, food security, empowerment, stewardship, adaptation and the revitalization of traditional trades and skills.
Council of Yukon First Nations Grand Chief Peter Johnston said in a statement, Yukon First Nations are individually tackling climate change by developing renewable energy systems, increasing local food production and improving their resiliency to hazards like wildfires, droughts and permafrost thaw. This declaration is a commitment to address climate change with urgency, through cooperation, and by relying on the wisdom of our elders and the visions of our youth, for the sake of all Yukon First Nations.