Top 25 winner: Rachel Parent


 |  The Starfish

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“Our climate crisis isn’t just a one-generation issue. We all walk this planet and have an opportunity to make the world a better place every single day.” These wise words come from Rachel Parent, a food safety, environmental justice and climate activist from Toronto, Ontario. 

Rachel is strongly committed to motivating youth, communities and those working in policy to take action to protect the environment: she has dedicated the last ten years of her life to creating safer and more just food systems while also working to combat the root causes of broader environmental issues.  

At age 11, Rachel learned about genetically modified organisms (GMOs), their effects, and how they are not required to be labelled on foods in Canada and the United States. This led her to start her first march calling for genetically modified ingredients to be identified on labels at just twelve years old.  

Between then and now, she has founded educational platforms for youth focused on environmental justice, seed saving, food safety and activism, such as Kids Right to Know and Gen-Earth.Org. She hopes to inspire and motivate youth to demand proper food labelling and to protect nature.

Her dedication to and passion for these causes has made her a major actor in the global GMO labelling movement and an inspirational speaker who engages thousands of people to think critically about their choices and impacts on the environment. Her Top 25 nominee says that “Rachel brings a strong voice of hope for many, speaking about practical positive solutions to our climate crisis.” 

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Through her work and activism, Rachel has become more aware of the effects industrial agriculture is having on bees, birds, and butterflies whose populations are declining rapidly. She has a specific focus on monarch butterflies, due to monarch’s being disproportionately affected by chemicals and their population numbers have decreased by over ninety percent. 

She has created a sanctuary and haven for monarchs and other pollinators and has been dedicating her summers to monarch research, conservation and education through creating milkweed havens and hosting workshops.

As an activist, founder of multiple educational platforms and a global speaker, Rachel serves as an inspiration in the environmental movement to continuously push for a better world. Her diverse work in various interconnected sectors has inspired thousands of people as she continues to work tirelessly despite the obstacles that come with activism, such as the challenges she faces challenging massive corporations who are producing toxic foods.

There are many barriers to young people engaging in activism, often associated with their age as a barrier for others to hear and listen to their ideas. However, Rachel believes youth need to use their voices to speak up now more than ever. She believes being young has actually made her a stronger speaker and more dedicated to her passions.

Rachel’s passion and drive inspire people young and old to speak up for what they believe in, to take action and to never lose hope.