Whoever said one person can’t change the world obviously forgot to send the memo to Leehi Yona. Since being named The Starfish’s number 13 Environmentalist Under 25 in 2012, Leehi has taken her message of sustainability to four countries on three continents. The work she has done in the past year alone has not only made a significant contribution to the global dialogue on environmental issues, it has also catapulted her to the number one stop on this year’s Top 25 countdown.
Leehi’s past appearance on our list of Canada’s top young environmentalists was owing to her work in and around her hometown of Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Quebec, where she served as the city’s one-woman Green Patrol raising awareness about local environmental issues. Leehi was also active around Montreal in her role as founder and president for the city’s Green Schools Coalition as well as serving on Marianapolis College’s Green Team. Being a member of Canada’s Youth Climate Coalition since 2010 didn’t hurt her standing either.
However, since her debut on the Top 25 list last year, Leehi has moved her message to the global stage. She attended the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development where she wrote an op-ed piece about Canada’s role in the negotiations. Leehi also made the trip to Doha, Qatar to be present at the COP18 UN Climate Conference where she spoke on a panel of Environment Ministers to the Arctic Council. While in Qatar, she also pursued on-the-ground action by participating in several non-violent demonstrations.
Closer to home, Leehi attended the 51st UN Commission on Social Development in New York City as a representative of SustainUS, a youth empowerment and environmental policy organization. She also toured West Virginia and Washington, DC learning about energy and mountaintop-removal mining as well as meeting with policymakers and stakeholders in the area.
Leehi has also served as Sustainability Coordinator for Dartmouth Hillel and as a student reviewer for the Second and Third Working Groups Reports for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent assessment.
Truly, Leehi’s passion and commitment to sustainable development and environmental issues in general make her an exemplary representative of the youth environmental movement in Canada. This summer she is hoping to work as a Climate Justice Intern with the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition. Beyond that, only time will tell what great projects and world changing initiatives Leehi will be a part of.
For her incredible devotion and seemingly endless energy, The Starfish is pleased to name Leehi Yona our Top Environmentalist Under 25 for 2013.