This 15-year-old climate activist sent a letter to Trudeau every week for a year

·3 min read

A Grade 10 student in Halifax has spent the last year writing a letter every week to the prime minister urging him to take immediate action on climate change.

Fifteen-year-old Amelia Penney-Crocker, who attends Citadel High, wrote a total of 54 letters about everything from how the climate crisis impacts women around the world to the devastating bush fires in Australia earlier this year.

She told Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that her letters would be "a weekly reminder of the price of your inaction."

Her campaign began last December, and even when the world seemed to stop during the pandemic, her letters didn't.

"Every week, there would be a new thing to write about," Amelia told CBC Radio's Mainstreet on Thursday. "There was never a lack of subject matter … I never ran out of ideas. In fact, I could have kept going for probably another year."

Amelia is a climate activist and a writer so she said it only made sense to combine her two passions.

"One thing that really drives me and my activism is empathy," she said.

In one of her early letters, she writes from the perspective of a child who has become a climate refugee and lives in a world without seasons or bees.

So far, Amelia has received three responses from the Prime Minister's Office. In one, a staffer wrote that her comments are being "carefully reviewed" and have been shared with Jonathan Wilkinson, the minister of environment and climate change.

Hopes to inspire other youth

Amelia said writing about climate change each week gave her the chance to dig deep into many aspects of a complex issue.

"One thing that I think a lot of people ignore is the intersectionality of the climate crisis and how it affects people who are already marginalized more," she said.

She hopes to use her letters to highlight issues such as environmental racism and how climate change relates to Indigenous issues.

She's compiled all of her letters online and encouraged other young people to make their voices heard.

"Friends of mine and even kids I don't know have reached out to me and said that they've started writing letters, so I mean that on its own is amazing," Amelia said.

More letters could be on the way

Earlier this month, the federal government laid out a new plan for meeting its Paris Agreement targets of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. The plan includes a carbon tax hike and $15 billion in new spending on climate initiatives over the next 10 years.

Amelia said she's encouraged by those steps.

"It's definitely going to really help us get there, and that's a good thing," she said. "Obviously, there's still more to do, and we definitely have to work on the reparation side of things and fixing issues that we've already created."

In one of her last letters to Trudeau, she drove this point home.

"This crisis won't go away with a single bill," she wrote. "This crisis is massive, and it will take all of us committing not to let each other down to fix it."

While Amelia has completed her year-long goal, she said her climate activism isn't over.

"We'll see, maybe I'll write a few more letters," she said.