Whitehorse's Malkolm Boothroyd is adding a youth voice to environmentally responsible development in Canada.

Photo from Malkolm Boothroyd.

Photo from Malkolm Boothroyd.

AGE: 23
HOMETOWN: Whitehorse, Yukon

When it comes to living a well-rounded sustainable lifestyle, Malkolm Boothroyd is showing the world just how it is done. Not only is Malkolm committed to fossil fuel divestment initiatives, he raises important environmental issues at local activist events, and is conscious in his energy consumption patterns. At 23 years old, Malkolm has made some very outstanding and impactful contributions to the environmental movement.

Growing up in a family that was passionate about the environment and conservation, Malkolm had early exposure to environmental awareness. At the age of seven, Malkolm accompanied his parents on an advocacy tour through Canada and the United States, urging better protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Malkolm cannot think of a time when he was not immersed in this type of work; for him, it is a way of life.

Malkolm is also an avid birder. At only 15 years old, he embarked on a “Big Year”, which is a year-long journey to spot as many birds as possible – without using fossil fuels, of course.  Using bicycles they built themselves, Malkolm and his parents rode 21,144 km in one year, beginning and finishing in the Yukon. Along the way, he not only identified 548 bird species, but also raised more than $25,000 for bird conservation, all while still completing all of his necessary school work.

In 2009, he joined the “Pedal for the Planet” initiative, cycling from Whitehorse to Ottawa.  The following year, he cycled from Alaska to Washington helping a couple young Americans film a documentary about community climate solutions, before meeting with lawmakers in Washington D.C. Although the response from Congress was less than ideal, Malkolm was (and continues to be) optimistic that the youth climate justice movement can help turn the tide in favour of climate action.  In 2010 and 2011, he joined the Canadian Youth Delegation to the Cancun and Durban climate summits, advocating for climate action.

In 2012, Malkolm co-founded the Peel Youth Alliance (PYA), made up of Yukon youth who used creative actions to draw attention to the Yukon Government's attempts to open the Peel River Watershed to industrial development, and to advocate for fairer mining and conservation policies.

Right now, Malkolm is involved with fossil fuel divestment at the University of Victoria.  In January, he assisted in bringing youth and Indigenous voices to a public panel discussion regarding fossil fuel divestment featuring several high profile stakeholders, including the Vice President of Investor Relations for Suncor.

Malkolm has taught others, including adults, about the influential power of youth in environmental action. One of his nominators says, “There is a great deal of rhetoric about how ‘youth today’ are disengaged, and Malkolm is an amazing counterexample of this stereotype.”  Thank you, Malkolm, for your ongoing and exceptional commitment to the environment.