It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.
Joseph Boutilier, 23, is just a few weeks into a five-month, trans-Canada journey. He set out on April 5 from his hometown of Victoria, and expects to arrive in Ottawa on Sept. 15. He’s not getting there on four wheels, and he’s not even getting there on two.
He’ll be peddling on a unicycle the entire way. By this weekend, he should have passed over Crowsnest Pass, and be enjoying the rolling hills of Hedley and Keremeos. And all the way, he’ll be thinking about what he believes is the most pressing issue of our time — climate change.
“I wanted to do something noteworthy and ambitious,” he said during a stop in Agassiz, “because climate change really demands our full attention. What we’re doing as a country is really crazy.”
He’ll be trying to meet with as many MLAs and MPs as possible during this trip, to speak about his concerns. He’s also driving people to his website, which features a video detailing the many news reports of Canada’s lack of commitment to climate change.
“I’m calling on the Canadian government to take rapid, strategic and collaborative action to tackle the climate change crisis, breaches to first nations treaties and inherent land rights and the muzzling of publicly-funded scientists,” he said. “To me, it’s the single biggest threat and most universal one that’s affecting the world. Canada has huge potential to be a leader on this but right now we’re doing the opposite.”
Boutilier wants to see a level of commitment from all political parties and for “all MPs to really take a stance and work across party lines to address the issues.”
This isn’t Boutilier’s first foray into political activism. He was a member of the City of Victoria Youth Council. He said he called to action by the building intensity of climate change, and is disheartened by the knowledge that human consumption and energy needs are killing people in other parts of the world.
“This is taking lives overseas,” he said. “We need to move toward sustainable energy.”
While he knows it’s hard to make an entire society, he’s hoping everyone can adopt small changes into their own lives.
“I know I’m not going to change the world, I mean let’s be honest,” he quipped on his online video. “But I also know that doing anything is better than doing nothing, especially when all our anythings can come together to form part of something much bigger.”
To learn more about Boutilier’s journey, follow along with him at unityfortheclimate.ca.