Storm surges are a danger that many Canadians will face as climate change increases intense and unpredictable weather. (Source: Water Canada)

All Climate Planning is Intergenerational Planning

George Patrick Richard Benson
3 min readJan 13, 2020


On Friday the 10th, I submitted a letter to the Provincial Government on the climate readiness (i.e., adaptation) plan that is currently under development. The letter was written collaboratively with young climate leaders (all under the age of thirty) from across the Lower Mainland and laid out the principles we felt are important for this plan to truly realise a better British Columbia while and through addressing climate change.

I wanted to take a minute to reflect on these kinds of submission processes, and some things that came to mind in this one in particular:

  1. Climate planning is inherently intergenerational — As my title indicates, one of the reasons I felt that it was important to submit to this process, is that for more arcane policies like this, it’s easy for them to fly under the radar of many youth leaders, and for us to not seek out participation in them as a result. Ultimately, I don’t think any of the principles and ideas we highlighted are terribly unique to youth, but I think it’s important for people to know that young people support measures like this.
  2. We need to keep normalizing youth expectations— While not profoundly radical, the idea of addressing climate displacement, or fully climate risk screening provincial investments (and, as part of this, decarbonizing said investments), are not fully represented in mainstream policy discourses. Helping frame the conversation in terms of what young people expect, and ideally doing so repeatedly I think helps expand the boundaries of what these kinds of processes can achieve.
  3. We need to keep leveraging our privilege — Myself and many of the young people who contributed to this submission are generally privileged in a variety of respects; we went or go to well-respected schools, we work in policymaking already, or otherwise enjoy other forms of access and resources that make a process like this easier to feed into. I think we have a responsibility to leverage this privilege and raise ideas and remind policymakers to seek out the voices of young people from marginalized communities in explicit, direct ways. On a personal level, this letter does not reflect as many diverse voices as I would like, and that’s a failure on my part as a writer of the letter, but, again, I think there’s value for those of us with privilege to put the onus on policymakers to adequately seek out a wide-enough array of voices to actually represent those who have been historically excluded.

One last thought: submitting to these kinds of policy processes is hard, and if you have no experience in government, it can feel especially daunting. Please consider me always open to discussing and reviewing any kind of submission like this, particularly if you are doing it for the first time and don’t have government experience.

You can read our submission here, and special thanks to everyone who added their name to this.

Adriana Laurent, Projects Administrator, UBC Climate Hub (Age 25)

Alice Henry, Founder, Stoke Socials Vancouver (Age 27)

Anitra Paris, Operations & Policy Manager, Clean Energy BC (Age 26)

Anna Zhuo, Co-Founder, Climate Migrants and Refugees Project (Age 27)

Arushi Rania, Principle, Arushi Raina Advisory (Age 28)

Colton Kasteel, Research & Projects Lead, SauderS3i (Age 23)

Daylen Sawchuk, Club Executive, Gleneagle Green Team (Age 17)

George P.R. Benson, Co-Founder, Climate Migrants and Refugees Project (Age 28)

Jerome R Manuel, Global Shapers, Vancouver (Age 28)

Marina Melanidis, Co-Founder & Co-Director, Climate Guides (Age 24)

Morag Keegan-Henry, Director of Organizing, Force of Nature (Age 29)

Liam Orme, Director, UBC Climate Hub (Age 24)

Sophia Yang, Program Coordinator — CityHive, Global Shapers, BCCIC (Age 24)

Veronika Bylicki, Co-Founder & Executive Director, CityHive (Age 25)



George Patrick Richard Benson

Not very cool, but very earnest. Interested in cities, climate change, and policy more generally; and a little art, politics, and philosophy when time permits.