Melissa Gerrard: A youth engagement guru and engaged climate activist.

Photo from Melissa Gerrard.

Photo from Melissa Gerrard.

#11 - MELISSA GERRARD
HOMETOWN: VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA

AGE: 21

When it comes to climate change, Melissa Gerrard is a dedicated, passionate activist that cares deeply for the environment, now and for the future. Melissa has been actively involved in environmental issues, particularly related to climate change, from a young age.

In high school, she implemented the FUN Links project. The goal of the project was to provide volunteer opportunities for environmentally minded youth. Her passion, commitment, and hard work, resulted in her to running the whole program herself from recruiting high school students in the region, organizing and running meetings, and finding the volunteer opportunities for the students. The result of this work led Melissa to be a finalist for the Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25 in 2012. Since becoming a finalist, Melissa has “continued to develop [her] sincere passion for our natural environment, and to progress [her] work in driving our global community towards a more sustainable future.”

Presently, Melissa is an undergraduate student at the University of Waterloo where she is studying Environmental and Resource Studies. Her focus is on “enhancing our understanding of community vulnerability and adaptation in the face of climate change.” On a recent field course in Jamaica, she saw these themes in action as they had manifested in projects focusing on the “sustainability of fisheries and tourism within the country.” She plans to build on this research as she completes her undergraduate thesis within the next year.

Over the last year, Melissa has been heavily involved in the Climate ActionWR – which is “a collaboration between local non-profit organizations, area municipalities and community stakeholders working to create Waterloo Region’s first ever community Climate Action Plan.” Through her tireless work on the Climate ActionWR, Melissa spoke at the council meeting for the Waterloo Region to decide whether or not to support and implement the Climate Action Plan. Her delegation speech was a success, resulting in unanimous support for the proposal.

For Melissa, commitment to climate change issues is a foremost priority. Her vision for change hinges on the aspect of community and making a difference at the local level. To sum it up, “I am a passionate and educated Canadian, as well as a representative of youth around the world who see climate change as the most critical issue of our generation.”

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Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25 2014 Magazine
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The Starfish Canada's Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25 Magazine showcases the 25 finalists from 2014 with longer articles, new pictures, and captivating stories from across Canada.

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