A group of Climate Justice activists stage a ‘die in’ with Extinction Rebellion, during lunch at the People’s Assembly on Climate Justice. Photo credit: Rodrigo Castro


Lucky Obasuyi – My Take Home from the People’s Assembly on Climate Justice
Saturday, November 17, 2018, at the University of Toronto, Multi Faith Center

Genesis 2:15 (ESV) – “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it”

This scripture is a great starting point to share my reflections from the People’s Assembly on Climate Justice. It is my hope that this scripture, gleaned from the book of beginnings, lends credence to the criticalness of caring for our environment: a sacred responsibility bequeathed to humankind by the creator of all. It’s unequivocally true that manufacturers best know the optimal use of the products they create, as well as the due diligence that consumers must show in order for them to derive optimal benefits. Let us then listen with ears to hear.

A sheet of paper with notes like 'food access', 'self determination', 'colonization' from one of the sessions
Note-taking during a breakout group. Photo credit – Rodrigo Castro

Attending the People’s Assembly was truly a heart stirring event for me, because it challenged me to deliberately reflect on how well humankind has fared in the responsibility handed us by the creator; “to work and keep the garden of earth”.

As a participant in the group considering Labor and Economics as it relates to Climate Justice, it was rather more instructive for me to listen to the various contributors as they shared passionately about their concerns on current positions being taken by decision makers in government vis-a-vis the Canadian environment, and how that impacts the fight for Climate Justice. For a relative newcomer to Canada, the succinctly articulated expositions by the guest speakers and very informed contributions from other group participants quickly metamorphosed into a valuable education for me.

Some Labor and Economics group members had the opportunity to share about their individual activities in the fight for Climate Justice within the Ontario community. That of ‘$15 and Fairness’ particularly got me riveted, as it afforded me a basic knowledge of the issues that advocates of ‘$15 and Fairness’ seek to address e.g. $15/hr. minimum wage and climate justice; equal pay, fair scheduling and job security for all; the right to organize/unionize sustainable workplaces.

Panels included: Indigenous Sovereignty and Self-Determination; Migrant Justice; Violence Against People and the Land; Food, Medicine and Sustainable Alternatives; and the Far-Right and Climate Change. Photo credit – Rodrigo Castro

Other members in the group were part of the Toronto District School Board, and shared about how they are maximizing that platform to drive their passion for climate justice, especially via their classroom opportunities as school teachers.

Another salient fact that was revelatory to me, was the functioning of a conservative ideology towards maximizing economic gains, generating inevitable decisions that adversely affect climate stability, and thus constitute a bane in the fight for Climate Justice.

Overall, my take-home from the Climate Justice Assembly and from participating in the Labor and Economics group discussion, was the challenge to take sides with those seeking to proffer panaceas, rather than accentuate the problem. It was indeed, a clarion call to re-awakening the responsibility “to work and to keep the garden of earth” as the LORD God originally commanded humankind in the beginning!

I close with scripture to reflect on the consequences of abdicating our sacred responsibility to the creation:

Isaiah 24:5-6 (ESV) – “The earth lies defiled under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore, a curse devours the earth, and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt; therefore, the inhabitants of the earth are scorched, and few men are left”


Lucky Obasuyi joined the global Student Christian Movement (SCM) in 2009 via the SCM of Nigeria. He has held several positions with the SCM of Nigeria, including Director of International and Interfaith Relations. He is currently the Secretary of the SCM of Nigeria, North America Chapter, and a Ministry Intern with SCM Canada.