Solidarity statement for Youth for Nationalism and Democracy
April 3, 2013
Toronto, ON—Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada/Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance of Ontario (UKPC/FCYA-ON) lends its support to Youth for Nationalism and Democracy (YND) and their four-day conference titled “Struggle for Environmental Protection and Regeneration (STEPGen),” taking place between April 19th and 22nd in Bataan, Philippines. With great pride, UKPC/FCYA-ON salutes YND for their efforts and leadership in further developing a strong environmental perspective and stance in an era of intensifying neoliberal globalization and climate change.
As foreign entities continue to seize and extract greater amounts of natural resources from the Philippines, areas of the country provide some of the clearest examples of environmental degradation and pollution under imperialist globalization. From open pit mining projects operated by Canadian mining corporations to large-scale commercial fishing ships that scrape the seafloor bare, there is no resource in the Philippines that will be left unexploited in the trajectory of imperialist expansion, including the exploitation of Filipinos as a source of cheap and disposable labour.
Here in Canada, there is a tremendous push to extract and export oil from Alberta’s tar sands to the Asian, U.S. and European markets, despite its far-reaching environmental impacts on the livelihoods of Canadians, especially that of indigenous people. In outright condemnation of the government’s wanton collusion with Big Oil and their corporate interests over their centuries-long struggle for individual rights and land claims, the indigenous people of Canada have protested in great numbers and spawned the “Idle No More” movement. Instead of committing itself to finding alternative energy solutions, the Conservative Canadian government has opted for the expansion of fossil fuel extraction and further environmental degradation.
In both contexts, foreign corporations offer the false promises of “jobs” and the future “restoration” of the environment to indigenous people while uprooting and displacing them in order to further extract resources, such as minerals and fossil fuels, or to construct processing facilities. Such outright destruction and disregard of local communities often leaves the land in uninhabitable conditions, due to the massive amounts of toxic chemicals that exceed the extraction point and ultimately contaminate rivers, food supplies, soil and complex ecosystems. Today, we see this in the tailing ponds left by corporations in both the Philippines and Canada, signs that further display their indifference and impunity.
In addition, we face a similar challenge in trying to move toward sustainable energy sources. However, in North America many of the major forms of sustainable energy being developed such as wind, solar and biomass continue to be under attack by oil and natural gas companies and their political following and propaganda.
Now more than ever, we need to harness the creativity and passion of the youth in developing solutions for the energy and environmental problems of the 21st century. Thus, UKPC/FCYA-ON stands in solidarity with YND, and supports your upcoming conference as we continue to struggle against imperialist globalization and its environmental impacts. On both fronts and for the sake of our common futures on this planet, we will boldly face the challenge of engaging our communities, especially our fellow youth, to take a strong stance on upholding our right to a safe, clean and healthy environment.