HOMETOWN: Port Moody, British Columbia
TRADITIONAL TERRITORY: Unceded territory of the Kwikwetlem , Qayqayt, Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Úxwumixw, Sto:lo Treaty Association, Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (TsleilWaututh) , xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, and the Hul’q’umi’num’ / Halq'eméylem / hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ Nations.
Sofia Slater’s love for the outdoors was nurtured by her father when he introduced her to skiing, paddling, surfing and sailing. Her passion to protect the environment developed from these moments enjoying the outdoors. And she wanted to share this with others.
In high school, she co-founded the Environmental and Outdoors Club. Through leading hikes for youth on the weekends, She helped make nature more accessible. The Environment and Outdoors Club events exposed people to the outdoors, and inspired members to take on their own actions to preserve the environment. Sofia’s past three summers were spent as a Peer Leader for Catching the Spirit Youth Society, furthering her efforts to educate others to care for the environment the way she does. Her current outdoor endeavour is a leadership skills course with Coast Mountain Academy in Powell River, British Columbia.
One of her biggest undertakings was to make a difference at her mosque, where she founded the Eco Team. Many of the events would serve up to 2,000 meals, which meant alot of styrofoam waste was created. She advocated for purchasing products better suited for recycling and composting.
It wasn’t easy to convince the leadership at the mosque —she researched teachings within her faith and discovered the faith’s role as stewards of the environment and all of the animals belonging to it. Sofia successfully aligned the faith’s goals of alleviating poverty and sustainability while she made her case to the leaders of the mosque. Her efforts were recognized by compostable and recyclable products being purchased and she was asked to speak to 900 youth, their parents and some community leadership.
With many of the community participants starting off from a place of unawareness, Sofia was able to galvanize everyone together to support the waste reduction efforts enthusiastically. Through her persistence, the recycling systems she spearheaded at the mosque are still standing and have helped divert 80% of waste from landfills to compost! The whole community is now involved, everyone plays a part from children to the elderly.
Sofia stays passionate and is encouraged to lead others to a more sustainable way of living. Within her own family, she has lead them to eating vegan and purchasing an electric car to reduce emissions. Whether it’s sparking community wide initiatives at her mosque or changing her family’s actions, Sofia will continue to fight for the environment. She was recently awarded the Dr. M Wosk Environmental Leadership Award for youth, her environmental journey continues at at the University of Waterloo, School for Environment and Business honours program this fall.