HOMETOWN: Richmond, British Columbia
TRADITIONAL TERRITORY: Unceded territories of the First Peoples of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ (hun-ki-meen-um) language group.
Jason Pang was hooked on environmental matters when he met Lizzie Yan, the president of his old high school's environmental team. Lizzie was so infectiously passionate about the green team that he had to join and learn more. Of all of the extracurricular activities that he has done, that team has remained one of his most important endeavours to date. It got him thinking about sustainability in a big way.
With the heart of a true green leader, Jason's love for the environment is evident; he immerses himself in obtaining knowledge and experiences, shares what he's learned, investigates environmental issues and works with others to find creative solutions. A rising star like Jason shines not only through the leadership positions he has taken on, but also through the relentless strive that sets himself apart from other youth his age. People around him are in awe of the dedication that he continues to devote to the issues that he is aware of.
In grade 10, Jason attended the Metro Vancouver Sustainability Toolbox (MVST), a unique and experience-based youth leadership program. MVST brings together diverse students from across Metro Vancouver who share a passion for influencing sustainability in their school community through inquiry, collaboration, and leadership.
During this program, he thought of an impactful project called The Plastic Connection. Both Jason and the other co-founder, Linnea, noticed that human actions in using plastics are affecting animals, ecosystems, and our health in a very negative way. They created The Plastic Connection to educate others about sustainable plastic usage and disposal among British Columbians, Canadians and global citizens.
The youth initiative is a Facebook page that focuses on how these materials intersect with our everyday lives and how we can reduce our consumption of single-use plastics.
The Plastic Connection also hosts workshops and events across Metro Vancouver. Jason presented at major conferences such as the Vancouver School Board Sustainability Conference and the Richmond Earth Day Youth Summit for his efforts with the Plastic Connection. The Plastic Connection also ran a shoreline cleanup event alongside with Green Initiative Canada as a team-building opportunity while learning more of Vancouver's shorelines.
Jason is also not afraid to speak for what's right. Because of the knowledge gained from the Plastic Connection, he joined a youth-service organization called British Columbia Youth Parliament where last December, he submitted a private members resolution in support of aligning recycling management in schools as it is in residential buildings.
He noticed at school, not all kinds of plastic can be recycled. Plastics #3, 6 and 7 must be thrown into the garbage, yet it can be included in curbside recycling at home. The current residential recycling is legislated by the Government of British Columbia to collect a wider variety of products such as packaging and does not apply to items covered by other programs, such as those used by facilities like school. Knowing this, he submitted this resolution at the 89th British Columbia Youth Parliament where it was communicated to the Premier and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy of British Columbia.
Jason hopes to be able to grow this initiative further by making it a non-profit organization to spread the importance of refusing-single use plastics and how we can be a more responsible generation. This is Jason's third year on this project and he hopes to open up opportunities for other passionate youth across BC to spread The Plastic Connection.
As the City of Vancouver is currently working on its single-use reduction strategy, The Plastic Connection also hopes to work closely with government officials to show the importance youth have in politics and to save our environment.