Global youth break the ice on northern issues.

Photo By: Youth Arctic Coalition

Photo By: Youth Arctic Coalition

This weekend, the first ever conference of the Youth Arctic Coalition (YAC), "Breaking the Ice", is taking place in Ottawa, Ontario. 

The conference included remarks and presentations by Nathan Cullen (Canadian MP and Environmental Advocate), Geoff Green (Founder, Students On Ice), Johnny Issaluk (traditional Inuit athlete and cultural mentor), and Martin von Mirbach (Director, WWF Canada Arctic Program).

The physical conference was held at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa. It was also connected virtually to hubs in Iqaluit, Whitehorse, Yellowknife (Canada), Oslo, Tromso, Longyearbyen (Norway), Akureyri (Iceland), Arkhangelsk (Russia), Helsinki (Finland), Odense (Denmark), Durham (USA), and more.

YAC is a young organization that aims to address the multifaceted challenges facing the Arctic through initiatives that engage and empower Northern communities. This conference hopes facilitate discussion that will allow delegates to develop a  nuanced understanding of the forces at play in the North, including governance, climate, the role of the North in the global community, and the participation of Indigenous Peoples in determining the future of the region. As the conference gets going, so will YAC's role in the Arctic.

The Starfish Canada has partnered with YAC, and will be covering them as they work towards becoming the voice for young people across the Arctic. We will be attending the conference and will have in-depth coverage of the entire weekend. You can read some of the discussions and catch a glimpse of presentations on our Twitter feed. Also, be sure to check out the Youth Arctic Coalition (@youth_ac) on Twitter and follow the hashtag #YAC2014 for even more coverage. Working together we can create change in the Arctic environment, governance, education, and beyond!