Jack Layton, may your dream live on through us.

Photo by mattjiggins | flickr.com

Canada lost an invaluable part of their political system with the death of Jack Layton, early morning on August 22. Known always for his optimism and strength, he believed deeply in the ability of Canada’s youth to take control of their future. In his last letter to Canadians, he says to young canadians, “I believe in you. Your energy, your vision, your passion for justice are exactly what this country needs today.”

Jack Layton was a fervent supporter of preserving our environment, reducing greenhouse gasses by lowering emission targets, expanding national parks and protecting marine conservation areas.

I remember watching a video, a few years ago, in which he described the effects of air pollution to high school students in Toronto. He was realistic about the environmental challenges faced by us today and how it projected onto future generations. He talked about environmental leadership; holding “big polluters” accountable for their emissions and using the money to implement solutions targeted at reducing greenhouse gases.

Here at The Starfish, we believe in raising awareness about environmental issues that require our attention with a strong belief that every effort makes a difference. I’d like to think that Mr. Layton’s faith in the youth of Canada can transcend into more awareness, larger initiatives and innovative solutions by us. This week, my call to action is not defined by a specific human activity, but the expectations of a great leader, who had a vision for change.

It is true that we hold the future in our hands; our decisions will strongly influence the state of our environment in the coming years. It is up to young Canadians to get involved in legislative matters now in order to preserve and replenish our environment. Consider issues described on this website, or others you may encounter in your everyday life. Whether its energy conservation, genetically modified foods or water pollution, take some time to think about how your decisions perpetuate or hinder today’s initiatives.

Lastly, I urge you all to read his last letter; it is truly inspiring, as he rallies one last time for a better Canada. Our condolences go out to his family during this difficult time. May his dream for a better Canada live on through all of us.