Traditional Territory: Traditional land of the Lilwat Nation
My name is Sam Tierney and I live in Pemberton BC. I love being outside skiing, mountain biking and hiking with my friends. I have made a movie about climate Action and climate anxiety with Mike Douglas and contributed to the action items in the town of Pemberton's Climate Action plan. I have also organized a Fridays for Future march in Pemberton and am a member of POW Canada.
Rachel Dong, 17
Location: British Columbia
Traditional Territory: Traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil Waututh), and sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) Coast Salish peoples
Rachel is a changemaker in her community who champions meaningful youth engagement. After learning about the environmental and social impacts of food waste, she coordinated an end-of-day program that has redistributed $30,000 of surplus food from businesses to underserved communities. Her passion for ocean conservation has led her to lead multiple community service projects and shoreline cleanups alongside her team at Ocean Wise YouthToSea. Rachel also chairs the Vancouver School Board Sustainability Conference, where she creates opportunities for youth to learn about important community issues and engage in action-oriented discussions. She continues to promote climate education and action, empowering current and future generations to become engaged leaders.
Will Crolla, 24
Location: British Columbia
Traditional Territory: Unceded, traditional, and ancestral territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), and the səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations
Though Will's journey started while working in waste management planning, he has since worked as an independent consultant with small businesses to improve their sustainability, with kelp and oyster farming, and on the Ocean Wise Seafood team. He has also participated in the Ocean Bridge program and CityHive's Envirolab. Through these two programs, he co-founded SURGE, his current project that works to build shoreline resilience through living breakwaters in the form of oyster reefs in the face of sea level rise. He continues to work with the latest iteration of Envirolab on the facilitation team in hopes of helping other young Canadians to activate their communities against the threats of climate change.
Dani Stancer, 24
Location: British Columbia
Traditional Territory: Traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Hul'qumi'num-speaking Coast Salish peoples, the traditional territories of the Quw'utsun (Cowichan) Tribes, Stz'uminus First Nation, Penelakut Tribe, and Halalt First Nation
Although born and raised in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Dani has called the Pacific Northwest home for the last 6.5 years, having lived in Vancouver while attending UBC, and most recently living in Chemainus in the Cowichan Valley. She has been passionate about the environment since a young age and this passion guided her academic and work interests. During university, she worked for the student union, the AMS, as the Associate Vice President Sustainability where she wrote the AMS Sustainable Action Plan, a strategic plan to guide them for the next decade, and conducted community based participatory research for Tsomanotik, a sustainable development nonprofit in Chiapas, Mexico. Currently, she works as the Food Hub Manager for Cowichan Green Community in Duncan where she is opening a commissary kitchen to strengthen the local food system in the Cowichan Valley. In her free time, you can catch her in the mountains hiking, snowboarding, or camping, trying her best to cook in season and as low waste as possible, reading, and checking out craft breweries with friends.
Soomin Han, 22
Traditional Territory: Treaty 1 territory, the original lands of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and the homeland of the Métis Nation
Driven by her passion for climate justice and her lived experiences, Soomin has been engaged in climate work with a focus on intersectionality, youth engagement, and gender equality. Currently as a GreenPAC parliamentary intern, she is working with MPs championing climate justice on Parliament Hill. She is pursuing her Bachelor of Environmental Studies at the University of Manitoba, and has worked with various environmental non-profits, community organizations, and advocacy groups, and attended CSW61 (Commission on the Status of Women) and UNFCCC COP25 (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties) to advocate for climate justice and youth engagement in international policy spaces.
Maddie Carr, 21
Location: New Brunswick
Traditional Territory: Traditional territory of the Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet), part of the Wabanaki Confederation
Growing up in rural New Brunswick, my passion for environmental conservation was sparked at a young age by the natural playground in my backyard. This passion grew throughout high school, as I became involved in the environmental education competition, Envirothon, and represented New Brunswick in the International competition three times. I recently completed a combined undergraduate degree in Leadership and Environmental Studies from the University of New Brunswick, during which I was proud to be recognized as a World Wildlife Fund Living Planet Leader for my environmental work both on and off campus. I have an avid interest in the environmental non-profit sector, which is why I have worked or volunteered with non-profits like the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Waterlution, Ocean Wise, the New Brunswick Nature Trust, Under One Sky Indigenous Friendship Center, and Market Greens Fredericton – a food-security non-profit I manage that enables people to eat sustainably by providing access to fresh, affordable produce. In the future, I hope to launch my own environmental non-profit with a mission to restore, celebrate, and protect areas containing elements of natural, cultural, or mixed heritage in New Brunswick!
Newfoundland and Labrador
Melanie Downer, 21
Location: Newfoundland and Labrador
Traditional Territory: Ancestral homelands of the Beothuk
My name is Melanie, and I was born and raised in St. John's, Newfoundland. Growing up near the ocean allowed me to grow a deep appreciation for environmental conservation. This inspired my studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland, majoring in Ocean Sciences. Throughout my involvement in research and ocean outreach, I noticed that those who are new to the area do not have accessible means of learning about our oceans and/or coastlines. This inspired a new project of mine (supported by the Ocean Bridge Ambassador Program) where I will be bringing new Canadians to a small community to learn about local ocean organisms, resources, and conservation. The overarching goal of my studies and this project is to make ocean literacy more accessible while emphasizing the importance of ocean conservation and the sustainable use of its resources.
Lilian Barraclough, 23
Location: Nova Scotia
Traditional Territory: Kjipuktuk, Mi'kma'ki
Lilian Barraclough is a climate justice activist and scholar in Kjipuktuk dedicated to pushing for positive social and environmental change from all angles. She is currently researching how politically active youth in Mi'kma'ki experience climate grief through poetry and the arts and recently ran and led the platform development for the Green Party of Nova Scotia in the Halifax Chebucto Riding. Lilian enjoys riding her horse or walking her dog out on trails, exploring different ocean and forest ecosystems, discovering local farmer's markets, and reading. Lilian believes that to truly solve the crises that we are facing, that we need systemic change including decolonization and justice for all, and she aims to use all the tools available to her to help build a more just and sustainable future.
Jenna Phillips, 22
Traditional Territory: The Haldimand Tract, the traditional territory of the Neutral Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples
Jenna (she/her) is in her final year in the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability at the University of Waterloo. After spending three co-op terms working at the school's Sustainability Office, she now serves as the Sustainability Commissioner for the University, advocating for sustainability-oriented decision making within campus operations and student life. In this role, she established one of the first-ever Student Sustainability Committees at a Canadian institution, which is composed of students from every faculty to centralize sustainability priorities. Outside of school, Jenna inspires thousands of young people to take climate action through her blog and podcast, Clear the Air, and served as the Executive Director of Youth Action on Climate Change. Jenna is particularly interested in the resilience of urban food systems against climate change, which she will research in graduate school next Fall.
Sylvie Stojanovski, 23
Traditional Territory: Traditional, unceded, and current territory of many nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples
Sylvie Stojanovski is a multidisciplinary artist, creative facilitator and community organizer who is passionate about exploring eco-conscious approaches to art-making. As the founder of the youth-led working group, Artists 4 Sustainability, she supports emerging creatives in building their capacity to work with natural materials and mobilizing art to address the most pressing environmental and social justice issues of our time. Likewise, in her work as the co-founder of the Scarbrite Collective, she is a fierce advocate for using art as a catalyst for conversation and community-building in her local community of Scarborough. Often found brainstorming and bringing BIG ideas to fruition, outside of work she loves cycling, hiking, and making ephemeral sculptures out of natural found objects.
Blake Bunting, 22
Traditional Territory: Traditional territory of the Attawandaron, Anishinaabeg, Haudenosaunee, and Lunaapeewak
Blake's passion for the planet stems from his love of the outdoors. As an avid mountain biker, diver and hiker, he has always felt connected with the environment. Motivated by the lack of climate action from big corporations and public policy, Blake is currently focused on decentralizing investments to allow everyone a chance to participate in the sustainable transition. As a co-founder of GoParity Canada, Blake played a significant role in the company's business development, fundraising, and compliance. When Blake is not focused on GoParity, he is also finishing a dual degree in mechanical engineering and computer science from Western University.
Aleksandra Spasevski, 24
Traditional Territory: Traditional territory of the Neutral Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples
Aleksandra is a youth environment changemaker. Since she was 16, she has worked and volunteered with environmental non-governmental organizations that focus on conservation and education on international agreements like the United Nations' Convention on Biological Diversity. Aleksandra has just received her Master of Environmental Studies in Sustainability Management at the University of Waterloo and integrates sustainability through her role at the University. Through her volunteerism, she established the Canadian Youth Biodiversity Network that works to connect Youth across Canada and help bring their voices and issues to an international and national platform. She is also a board member of the Ontario Environmental Network and Protect Our Water and Environmental Resources which work to connect activists and environmental groups across Ontario.
Serena Mendizábal, 23
Traditional Territory: Traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe, and Attawandaron
Serena Mendizabal (she/her) is a 23-year-old Cayuga Ngabe Panamanian Wolf clan woman from the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory with a passion for self-determined community development, action, and futures. Serena is a current student Masters of Geography and Environment at Western University with a focus on Indigenous environmental health governance, looking at the potential for community health to improve through the self-determination of resource and energy decision making. Serena is passionate about the self-determination of her people, the Haudenosaunee, and believes their traditional governance and systems are the only way to create a just climate future. Serena is in multiple different Indigenous environmental projects in her community of Six Nations, and beyond, working towards a future that is full of Indigenous youth leading & learning from our elders; sovereign, healthy nations; and land & waters back.
Naila Moloo, 15
Traditional Territory: Anishinaabewaki land
Naila Moloo is a 15-year-old passionate about making an impact in the sustainability sector. She is currently building transparent and flexible solar cells in a lab leveraging nanomaterials, as well as developing a bioplastic from duckweed where she is working with Pond Biomaterials. Naila was recently named the youngest recipient of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women and has been recognized by CTV News, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, and Ottawa Life for her work.
Cooper Waisberg, 19
Traditional Territory: Traditional Territory of Wendake-Nionwentsïo Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation Ho-de-no-sau-nee-ga (Haudenosaunee) Anishinabewaki
Cooper Waisberg is the co-founder of Balls 4 Eyeballs, a youth-led organization on a mission to make tennis greener while funding eye research. As someone who enjoys tennis, it bothered him that many players open a new can of balls each time they play, and that perfectly good balls with a variety of other uses are thrown away after only a few hours of play, ending up in landfills and taking hundreds of years to decompose. His organization raises awareness about the environmental impact of throwing away tennis balls by encouraging reusing or repurposing of balls, placing collection bins at tennis clubs, and donating the proceeds to Canadian eye charities. To-date he has kept over 50,000 tennis balls out of landfill which translates to over 6,000 pounds of non-decomposable waste! As well, he previously helped to organize a virtual youth town hall on climate change and also started a used prescription eyeglasses drive in his community to keep them out of landfill by donating to a charity that reused the eyeglasses in underserved communities with little access to eye care. Cooper’s vision is to raise awareness about the environmental impact that tennis has on the environment in hopes of making it more sustainable.
Briana Zhong, 15
Traditional Territory: Traditional Territory of Ho-de-no-sau-nee-ga (Haudenosaunee), Anishinabewaki ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯᐗᑭ, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, Mississauga, Wendake-Nionwentsïo
Briana Zhong is a 15-year-old humanitarian and environmentalist. She has partnered with various organizations and launched several of her own initiatives to preserve and promote heritage and conservation. She has connected her elementary and high schools to supporting conservation activities by founding Eco-Club and also as an executive of Endangered Species Club and President of STEM Council. She has been an active council member of the Junior Markham Youth Council for four years and founded the student-led initiative, Gifts That Smile to ensure that everyone can have access to essential items during the pandemic. She also founded the Go Wild Nature Kits initiative with support from the World Wildlife Fund Canada and assembled nature kits for high school students, allowing them to connect through nature.
Sophie Weider, 19
Traditional Territory: Traditional territory of the Anishinaabe Algonquin Nation
I am a strong believer in the power of art and storytelling to inspire positive change. To this end, I have written and illustrated two environmentally-themed children’s books, “The Girl Who Saved a Tree” (2018) and “Who?: Who Can Help the Warming Arctic?” (2021). Through my books, I hope to empower young readers to become environmental stewards in their communities.
As a member of the 2021 Students on Ice Climate Action Cohort, I am working to design and implement a project in my home community of Ottawa that will help mobilize community action toward carbon neutrality. I am currently studying in the Interfaculty Environment program at McGill University, where I am working to promote student sustainability through my role as a director of the Science Undergraduate Society Environment Committee.
Kiemia Rezagian, 24
Traditional Territory: Traditional territory of the Three Fires Confederacy, comprising the Ojibwe, Odawa and Potawatomi
Kiemia believes that everyone deserves access to a safe, healthy, and joyful life, and works to disrupt inequitable and marginalizing systems that get in the way of that. They are an organizer, advocate, and educator driven by justice, and work with grassroots organizers as well as institutions to build opportunities for policy literacy and public engagement to improve access to decision-making power, particularly among Black, Indigenous, and racialized youth. Kiemia believes that protecting the planet requires us to reimagine the ways in which we live as communities, and (re)build relationships of care and reciprocity with land, water, and one another.
Natalie McIntosh, 16
Traditional Territory: The Anishinaabeg, The Haudenosaunee and the Lunaapeewak
My name is Natalie and I am the 16 year old founder of Nautical Waters. We are a non-profit working towards cleaner oceans and reducing the number of marine lives lost to discarded fishing gear and nets. Our goal is to improve marine and freshwater habitats, reduce plastic pollution in our waters and work with partners to create a sustainable way to repurpose ghost gear.
Sarah Syed, 17
Traditional Territory: Traditional Territory of the Haudenosaunee, and the territory of the Mississauga of the New Credit First Nation
Sarah is a poet and science researcher whose environmental journey began in fourth grade when she learned about the detrimental impacts climate change has on the environment. Since then, Sarah founded her school's environmental club, collected over 3500 non-perishable items to tackle food in-secuirty, volunteered with environmental organisations and founded You Are the Change, an organisation dedicated to raising funds for Green Schools Green Future whose mission is to build a school in Africa with green technology. Sarah organised an environmental hackathon with workshops that had over 1000 participants to encourage youth to use technology to develop climate-tech. In addition, Sarah developed a project that transforms synthetic polymers that are often thrown in landfills into a product that can be used to clean-up oil spills. In addition, she conducted research on bioplastics made from food scraps. She has won many awards such as gold at the Toronto Science Fair, UTSC Best Environmental Award in Chemistry, Nature Inspiration Finalist Award and her poetry has been awarded nationally and internationally
Jessica Liu, 17
Traditional Territory: Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, The Anishabeg, The Chippewa, The Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat Peoples
Jessica’s passion in environmental activism stems from her childhood experiences with marine pollution. Growing up by the Pacific Ocean, she was devastated after seeing animals caught in plastic fishing nets so she tackled it by inventing the KelpNet—a microalgae bioplastic fishing net that can reduce our reliance on petroleum-based plastics and protect marine species from ghost fishing. Her innovation was awarded the grand winner of the Blue Ocean Entrepreneur Pitch Competition and she was 1 of 4 youth awarded with the Canadian Nature Inspiration Awards. Additionally, KelpNet has been featured in the Toronto Star, Ripley’s Aquarium, and the Canadian Geographic. Since then, it has gained the interest of international manufacturers and researchers spanning from Kuwait to Switzerland. Jessica is also the founder of a community entrepreneurship club that helps students kickstart their innovative ideas for a sustainable, brighter society. In the future, she hopes to continue her efforts in innovation and connect with youth to work towards a common goal of protecting marine biodiversity.
Keerat Dhami, 23
Traditional Territory: The Treaty Territory of the Mississauga’s of the Credit a First Nation
Keerat has half a decade of experience organizing communities comprising the Greater Toronto Area around climate action. Her community-centred organizing includes co-authoring a report outlining the Government of Canada’s obligations to protect Canadian children from future climate change impacts, partaking in the incorporation of Peel Region's first climate council, and creating Our Climate Café, a (cyber) community of practice centring environmental conversations on ecological emotions and human experiences. Keerat graduated with an undergraduate degree in Environmental Geography, Human Geography, and Diaspora and Transnational Studies from the University of Toronto. A young professional, Keerat's work with several environmental non-governmental organizations has allotted her an opportunity to apply her studies to the environmental movement. Keerat also serves on the Youth Advisory Council of the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada.
Horeen Hassan, 25
Traditional Territory: The traditional lands of the Attawandaron, Haudenosaunee And Anishinaabek, and the Treaty lands of the Mississaugas Of The Credit. Land that is subject to Treaty 3
Horeen believes earth stewardship is an important responsibility of all settlers across Turtle Island. As guests on this land, it is a settler obligation to keep the earth clean, to only take what is needed, and to ensure that there is enough for everyone.
Horeen has a strong history in the student movement and has held the position of Vice President of External Affairs on the students union at the University of Guelph. Her time in the student movement allowed her to mobilize young people around environmental issues. Whether it was about ending water bottling contracts, challenging plastic waste on campus, or pressuring her post-secondary institution to divest from fossil fuels; Horeen has always demanded better of those in positions of power.
Recently, Horeen has began working with the Water Watchers and has been working to centre young BIPOC voices and perspectives in all of her water advocacy. This past summer, Horeen walked over 100 kilometres visiting and interacting with communities who’s drinking water is being threatened by gravel mining, developers, and other corporations. She has also been working to amplify the voices and work of those at Six Nations, and advocating that the Nestlé/Blue Triton bottling plant be returned to Six Nations. She believes there is no climate justice without Land Back.
Marium Vahed, 22
Traditional Territory: The Treaty Lands and Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit
Marium Vahed would like to position the green movement to invite even greater collaboration across diverse communities and sectors to build a robust, equitable and sustainable future.
In 2019, Marium co-founded Green Ummah, a non-profit that raises awareness amongst Canadian Muslims of the Islamic environmental teachings and to empower them to become leaders in the green movement. As Chair, she led the non-profit to run the first ever Muslim-led conference on the environment in Canada, which engaged over 150+ experts, community members, and faith leaders in a passionate and instructive discourse about how Muslims could take on leadership in the green movement. She currently is leading the effort to develop the Greening Our Communities Toolkit, which raises the capacity of the community by developing professional tools for secondary school teachers to critically engage Muslim youth to become environmental leaders.
Marium is currently a candidate for a Master of Science in Digital Management at Ivey Business School and envisions bringing best practices of innovation and entrepreneurship to her community work to scale up the positive impact she wishes to have on the environment.
Warsha Mushtaq, 18
Traditional Territory: Traditional lands of the Cree, Saulteaux, Dene, Dakota, Lakota, Nakota, and Métis nations
Warsha Mushtaq is a writer, poet, and environmentalist. She served as the third Saskatchewan Youth Poet Laureate and her work is interdisciplinary, blending literary theory, environmental history, traditional Islamic sciences, and ecological and linguistic philosophy. An avid climate activist, she also sits on the Earth Guardians Youth Council, where she works with her community to tackle environmental challenges, from protecting old-growth forests to leading climate strikes. She hopes to use her passion for the humanities to find the beautiful, interconnected relationships in nature and carry the powerful tools of storytelling and education as a way of engaging the world.