JACKIE BASTIANON, 22
HOMETOWN: OTTAWA, ONTARIO / TRADITIONAL, UNCEDED TERRITORY OF THE ALGONQUIN ANISHNAABEG PEOPLE
At age six, Jackie remembers keenly listening to the stories of climate change told to her by her grandparents. She believes it’s partially why she’s so passionate about making sustainable lifestyle choices.
She carries that call to action in every project she embarks on, including the role of Manager of Communications and Media for the Youth Climate Lab (YCL), a youth-for-youth organization that supports young people in climate policy, projects and businesses. Being part of a non-profit means juggling several initiatives at once – and as an avid advocate for sustainable living, Jackie felt more than ready for the tasks at hand.
Taking on a multitude of projects, Jackie realizes that their success is born out of the community they support. She recently helped YCL organize a carbon dance-off party in partnership with the Indigenous Clean Energy Network. She will continue to help create more opportunities for young people to drive their initiatives across the world, always carrying the principle of community with her. She’s currently managing YCL’s Moving the Needle // Actionner L’Avenir campaign and developing strategy to help engage and grow the organization’s global community.
Jackie co-founded and has been leading the PlantEd Project where she blends her passion for community-oriented action and plant-based eating. This social enterprise that offers plant-based workshops and other resources to make it easy for people to make sustainable choices in their own kitchens.
What started out as a home-based project has now grown into a thriving enterprise. Workshops are now run weekly out of local Ottawa based restaurants, where attendees can learn to cook, enjoy a three-course plant-based meal and meet like-minded individuals from their community. Jackie and her co-founder Georgia Fox hope to expand her audience beyond her community to help make sustainable, ecologically-aware choices the new norm at the dinner table.
While establishing a network, she saw an opportunity to give back by raising over $8,000 for organizations and non-profits, including the David Suzuki Foundation, Just Food, Ecology Ottawa, Penny Lane Sanctuary and 350.org.
In her work at the PlantEd Project, she fosters the magic of bringing people together over sustainable food. It is important to Jackie that she closes the information gap on sustainable practices, including plant-based diets, so lifestyle changes are easier to transition into and sustain.
As many sources have indicated, going vegan is one of the most powerful choices that individuals can make for the environment. Jackie has now been vegan for over two years, and has loved every minute of it. She has found that keeping meat, dairy and eggs off her plate can be a fun and empowering choice that people can make three times a day for the environment and the animals. Although she recognizes that going vegan isn’t a realistic choice for everyone, she encourages everyone to do their best to research the impact of intensive animal agriculture practices on the planet and enjoy plant-based recipes whenever possible.
As her nominator tells us, “her ability to multitask the management of several initiatives never hindered her ability to grow the community and YCL audience each step of the way”. With this incredible skillset in tow, Jackie will continue to champion sustainable practices for climate change and be an integral community builder.