WEBINAR

Catherine McKenna

IN CONVERSATION

May 7, 7pm - Barrie

Event Details

Catherine McKenna is one of Canada’s best known authorities on environmental issues and on efforts to address climate change.

Join us for an hour-long conversation, including a question and answer session, that will cover topics including the current state of Canada’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions, how we can think about progress to combat climate change in the presence of political uncertainty, and the role of women in public life, particularly in an era that seems to be one of increasingly toxic discourse, including around gender.

See below for more on Catherine’s accomplishments and current endeavours.

Date: May 7th, 2024

Time: 7 - 8pm

Location: Grace United Church, 350 Grove St. E., Barrie

More about Catherine:

Catherine McKenna is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Climate and Nature Solutions. She is Canada’s former Minister of Environment and Climate Change, as well as Minister of Infrastructure. She is Chair of the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Expert Group on Net-Zero Commitments of Non-State Entities which released its Integrity Matters report at COP 27 in Egypt in 2022 setting out criteria for net-zero commitments of business, financial institutions, cities and regions.

Catherine founded Women Leading on Climate and is a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Columbia Climate School and a Visiting Professor in Practice at the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics.

She is also an advisor to the Climate Data Steering Committee for the Macron/Bloomberg Net Zero Data Public Utility, Singapore’s International Advisory Panel for Carbon Credits, the Taskforce on Net Zero Policy, the LSE Just Transition Finance Lab, as well as to the University of Ottawa’s Information Integrity Lab.

Catherine also advises many private sector boards, and is a frequent speaker on climate action, net-zero leadership and women empowerment.

Purchase Tickets

How many tickets would you like? (If you don't feel able to pay $10, please contact us at the email address below. We will make sure you are able to attend.)

Note: Tickets provide access to both the in-person event and to the online webinar. Upon purchase, you will receive confirmation with an access code, as well as ticket instructions for in-person entry.

Price: $10.00

Supporting members of the SCGC community are able to access our events for free or at a discounted rate. Enter your member discount code here. If you do not have your code, please contact us at info@simcoecountygreenbelt.ca.

Order Summary
Item Quantity Total
Ticket - Catherine McKenna: In Conversation1$10.00
Total$10.00

Education vs. Advocacy-Based Activism: What is Stopping Youth?

How often do youth actually get a say in municipal politics? Youth voices – especially those of high school students – youth that are transitioning into adulthood – deserve a place at the table when it comes to making decisions at the local level.

You see it on social media, in schools and in the community – youth activists spreading awareness about issues affecting the environment.  However, how often do you see youth groups that create change at the political level? How often do youth actually get a say in municipal politics? Youth voices – especially those of high school students – youth that are transitioning into adulthood – deserve a place at the table when it comes to making decisions at the local level.

Youth are experienced

Youth are experienced in and have been successful at educating other youth on environmental issues through social media, face-to-face conversations, and awareness projects in schools. In the community, we plant trees, organize nature walks, pick up garbage and raise money for bigger organizations.

These initiatives are all undoubtedly important and are a cornerstone of activism and community engagement. Youth are great at these education-based initiatives, however too often we see youth initiatives finish or fizzle out before real, lasting change can be made.

Photo of two girls planting a tree. Credit Eyoel Kahssay.

Initiatives like these do help local communities, yet the larger, even more impactful change that youth groups are looking for can be found within advocacy.

Speaking to politicians, protesting actions or influencing local communities to create greener policies and protect the environment. Advocacy is bringing (some might say forcing) youth environmentalism into the adult spheres we are often isolated from or aren’t welcomed into.

Seeing the political changes created thanks to youth advocacy will further motivate groups to keep pushing for a greener future, and it can help fight some of the burnout or mental health struggles that come with focusing on short-term solutions.

Why is it so difficult?

All that aside, why is it so difficult for youth to begin engaging in and developing their own advocacy initiatives? Why aren’t they taking part in public meetings, or getting involved in local politics?

In short, youth groups don’t have the tools, information or support they need in order to begin advocating.

A key reason why more youth initiatives aren’t advocacy-based is because youth groups simply do not have the resources or information necessary to get involved.

We are being kept in the dark about the topics and policies being debated right within our communities – developments that will directly affect our futures.

Community supported, advocacy for a safe and secure future.

Governments have failed to act to protect our communities and the futures of our children and grandchildren, and they continue to treat our environment as if it’s incidental to life, rather than a foundation for it.

We need strong community organizations to fight for our future, now more than ever.

Please consider donating to support our work. It’s people like you who make us possible.

“…youth groups don’t have the tools, information or support they need in order to begin advocating.

Simcoe County's future.

For example, Simcoe County is undergoing a Municipal Comprehensive Review.

The county is deciding how the land will be used, how much we will protect our natural heritage sites and watersheds, and whether or not we will introduce policies that fight and prevent climate change. The decisions they make now will be in place until 2051 – yep, THIRTY YEARS – and will affect the health of Simcoe County (and area) for many years after.

In 2051 I will be 46 years old. I will be part of the adult population. So why is it that youth voices are not being sought out regarding policies that will directly affect them? 

It is crucial that youth groups in Simcoe County begin advocating on environmental issues NOW, especially while the MCR is being developed.

Why advocacy is so important.

If youth aren’t aware of something as large and literally life-altering as the MCR, imagine all the smaller issues that we aren’t aware of; issues that can still affect our environment, way of life, and futures. This is why youth advocacy is so important – our voices must be heard on these topics as we are the ones that will have to grow up and live in the society created from these decisions.

Advocacy will be more difficult for youth groups to engage in compared to the short-term education initiatives we’re used to.

We won’t be taken seriously and we’ll have to be ready to get our boots dirty and remain persistent if we want to get things done – especially in the face of politicians that aren’t willing to take our opinions into consideration.

But if there’s one thing we’ve seen in youth it is that they are bold, courageous and determined to protect their futures – even if it means ruffling a few feathers along the way.

“If youth aren’t aware of something as large and literally life-altering as the MCR, imagine all the smaller issues that we aren’t aware of; issues that can still affect our environment, way of life, and futures.”

At the end of the day, we can plant as many trees as we want, but if youth groups don’t increase their advocacy initiatives, their impact will not be large enough to create the change they want to see: the real, systemic, earth-saving changes that are most successful when they come from the bottom up.

That impact is found where the adults are. It is found in public meetings, outside of offices, in the streets, and eventually, inside the voting booths. Who knows, maybe with enough youth advocacy politicians will see just how powerful youth voices – and votes – can be.

Let’s go show our local politicians just how ready we are to fight for our futures!

~

Like always, let me know your thoughts on or experiences with this subject.

Looking for some community issues? Check out some of the initiatives SCGC is exploring:

The Bradford Bypass: https://simcoecountygreenbelt.ca/bradford-bypass/

Protecting Lake Simcoe: https://simcoecountygreenbelt.ca/protect-lake-simcoe/ 

Local Issues Map: https://simcoecountygreenbelt.ca/map/ 

That’s all for now,

Blythe 🙂

Blythe Wieclawek

Blythe Wieclawek

Blythe is SCGC's inaugural summer youth advocacy intern. She is a high school student in Orillia, a competitive swimmer, and president of Sustainable Orillia's Youth Council.

How Can You Get Involved?

  1. Follow (and join?) the Simcoe County Environmental Youth Alliance (SCEYA) and Sustainable Orillia’s Youth Council.
  2. Sign up for our newsletter (bottom of the page) to support future youth initiatives. (We’ve got plans! 🙂)
  3. See if there’s a local FridaysForFuture group you can support. If you’re supporting as an adult make sure to empower the youth who are engaged.
  4. Share this post on social media and get involved in the conversation using the comments below!

Further Reading

Related Content

Photo of an island in a lake with mist rising from the water. Photo by Juan Davila on Unsplash
Youth

Act Now to Protect Lake Simcoe

Very soon, the federal government will be deciding whether the Holland Marsh Highway (aka Bradford Bypass) poses enough risk to the health of our environment and communities to designate it for a federal impact assessment. The 25-year-old studies the province is using are woefully out of date and must be updated before work proceeds. The Holland Marsh Highway poses significant risk to the environment, Lake Simcoe, and our communities.

Read More »
Photo of a child reading with a flashlight under his blankets. Credit Klim Sergeev.
Youth

finding your place in the story​

I didn’t know what I was in for, but I knew that helping youth get engaged through a grassroots organization was something I couldn’t pass up. This is exactly what I was looking for – a chance to do something in my community.

Read More »
A photo of a young woman's reflection in a window. Photo by Tiago Bandeira.
Climate Change

Climate Anxiety and Youth: Prioritizing Mental Health When it Come to Climate Advocacy

With so many people experiencing disastrous events it makes sense that psychologists have seen an increase in anxiety, depression and post-traumatic-stress-disorder, especially in places that are feeling the effects of climate change right now. However, even those not directly affected by the disasters climate change is bringing are being psychologically affected by them.

Read More »
Reports

Youth Survey

Youth are often left out of the decision-making process, even though the decisions that are made will have the greatest impact on them, shaping their world for decades to come.

We think this should change. Help by sharing your voice, and get engaged!

Read More »

Community supported, advocacy for a safe and secure future.

Governments have failed to act to protect our communities and the futures of our children and grandchildren, and they continue to treat our environment as if it’s incidental to life, rather than a foundation for it.

We need strong community organizations to fight for our future, now more than ever.

Please consider donating to support our work. It’s people like you who make us possible.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

We send out a once-monthly newsletter full of information on what’s happening in Simcoe County and beyond, including information on how you can take action to protect the health of your community.

Hi there!


Use this form to send an email to our general inquiries address.

Photo of a giraffe's head against a clear blue sky. Credit Gary Bendig.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Hi there!

Use this form to send Margaret an email.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Hi there!


Use this form to send Adam an email.

Adam-2

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Hi there!


Use this form to send Julie an email.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Thank you for signing up!

Hi there!

Will you give a small amount to help us continue to do the work that we do?

As a small, grassroots environmental organization, each contribution we receive truly makes a big difference.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter!

A monthly missive, full of information on what’s happening in Simcoe County and beyond, community polls you can vote in, and deep dives into key topics.

Become part of our network. Stay informed. Take action. Protect Ontario.

Friends. Online censorship by unaccountable tech companies, combined with an all-out assault on the Greenbelt by Ontario’s developers/government, make this a perilous time for the future of democracy and the power of the people in Ontario.

We need to build new ways of empowering those who believe in accountability, in a healthy environment, and in communities ready to thrive in the economy of tomorrow.

Join our supporter network and stay informed about efforts and actions to protect the Greenbelt, to build communities that support the health and well-being of people, and to lay the foundations of a resilient, climate friendly future.