Environment and Climate Change Youth Council

Overview

The Environment and Climate Change Youth Council is a group of young Canadians who are passionate about protecting the environment and taking climate action. In their communities and beyond, they have demonstrated leadership in these areas and are inspiring others to do the same.

Climate change is one of the most defining environmental challenges of this time. Young people are among those leading the charge toward a cleaner future. We need youth perspectives to ensure the country's transition to a prosperous and low-carbon future is sustainable and inclusive.

Role of the Youth Council

The Youth Council will advise on key environmental and climate issues to inform decisions by the Government of Canada. In its first year, the Youth Council will focus on:

If you have any questions or would like to connect with the Environment and Climate Change Youth Council, please send an email to ECCCYouthCouncil-ConseildesjeunesECCC@ec.gc.ca.

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) has launched an anticipatory recruitment process to become a member of the next cohort of the Youth Council.

If you are between 18 and 29 years old and passionate about biodiversity conservation, environmental protection, pollution prevention and climate action, we need you.

Call for applications

Meeting summaries

May 10, 2024

The Environment and Climate Change Youth Council (ECCYC) and the ECCYC Secretariat met to discuss upcoming Council meetings and plans for the remaining months of the current Council’s term. ECCYC members also provided advice on Environment and Climate Change Canda’s (ECCC) planned external web content for youth.

Members met with:

  • Dominique Tremblay, Director General, Innovation, Research and Engagement (IRED), Public Affairs and Communications Branch (PACB), ECCC
  • Holly Palen, Director, Innovation and Youth Engagement Division (IYED), PACB
  • Members of the Environment and Climate Change Youth Council Secretariat, IYED, PACB
March 28, 2024

Environment and Climate Change Youth Council (ECCYC) met with members of the Indigenous Science Division at Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC)and shared perspectives on weaving Indigenous science with Western science and best practices for consulting Indigenous youth in policy development.

Members met with:

  • Paul MacDonald, Director, Indigenous Science Division (ISD), Science and Technology Branch (STB), ECCC
  • Katie Donnelly O’Neill, Acting Assistant Deputy Minister, Public Affairs and Communications Branch (PACB), ECCC
  • Officials from ECCC

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) sought the Environment and Climate Change Youth Council’s (ECCYC) insight on Environmental Justice and Environmental Racism, including Bill C-226 an Act Respecting the Development of a National Strategy to Assess, Prevent and Address Environmental Racism and to Advance Environmental Justice. ECCYC members offered input on policy development, including approaches to engagement and consultation.

Members met with:

  • Johanna Howes, Senior Advisor, Strategic Policy Branch (SPB), ECCC
  • Dominique Tremblay, Director General, Innovation, Research and Engagement (IRED), Public Affairs and Communications Branch (PACB), ECCC
  • Officials from ECCC
March 19, 2024

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) sought the Environment and Climate Change Youth Council’s (ECCYC) insights on the revised draft text of the international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment ahead of the fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution (INC-4), taking place in Ottawa April 23-29, 2024.

Members met with:

  • Michael Bonser, Director General and Chief Climate Negotiator, International Affairs Branch (IAB), ECCC
  • Cynthia Bainbridge, Deputy Director, Multilateral Affairs, Canada’s ‘INC’ focal point, and lead negotiator, International Affairs Branch (IAB), ECCC
  • Dominique Tremblay, Director General, Innovation, Research and Engagement (IRED), Public Affairs and Communications Branch (PACB), ECCC
  • Officials from ECCC
November 7-9, 2023

The Environment and Climate Change Youth Council (ECCYC) met for the second annual in-person meeting November 7-9, 2023, in Gatineau, Quebec.

  • Members shared their advice and perspectives on: ECCC’s Climate Communications initiatives, Environmental Literacy, UNFCCC COP28, Environmental Justice and Environmental Racism, and the Science Horizons Youth Internship Program.
  • The members selected Christina Joy McRorie and Michael Girum as ECCYC co-chairs for 2023-2024.

Members met with:

  • The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
  • Julie Dabrusin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
  • Jean-François Tremblay, Deputy Minister, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC)
  • Michael Zinck, Assistant Deputy Minister, Public Affairs and Communications Branch (PACB), ECCC
  • Officials from ECCC
October 30, 2023

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) sought the Environment and Climate Change Youth Council’s (ECCYC) insight on Canada’s negotiating priorities ahead of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP28.

ECCYC members shared their views on the Global Stocktake, Indigenous engagement, the Loss and Damage Fund, climate finance, adaptation, and youth engagement.

Members met with:

  • Michael Bonser, Director General and Chief Climate Negotiator, International Affairs Branch (IAB), ECCC
  • Members of ECCC’s Negotiations Team, IAB, ECCC
  • Dominique Tremblay, Director General, Innovation, Research and Engagement (IRED), PACB, ECCC
  • Representatives from the Minister’s Office, ECCC
June 14, 2023
  • The Environment and Climate Change Youth Council (ECCYC) met with members of the Net Zero Advisory Body to discuss what Canada needs to compete and succeed in a net-zero future.
  • ECCYC Members shared their views on pathways to net-zero and discussed transformation and technology, youth engagement, Indigenous and remote communities, and the importance of job transitions.
  • The two bodies agreed to meet and engage more frequently to work towards common goals.

Members met with:

  • Net Zero Advisory Body members: Dan Wicklum (Co-chair), Gaetan Thomas, Linda Coady, John Wright, Sarah Houde, and Simon Donner
June 9, 2023
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) sought advice from members from the Environment and Climate Change Youth Council (ECCYC), along with other youth from across Canada on a 2030 Biodiversity Strategy for Canada.
  • Youth shared their views on key features they are looking for in a 2030 Biodiversity Strategy for Canada and concrete actions such as inclusion of youth voices, Indigenous-led conservation, and collaboration to advance collective progress on achieving our national and global biodiversity goals, including the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework Target 22 (Inclusion of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities, Women, and Youth in Decision- Making).

Members met with:

  • Kelly Torck, Director General, Biodiversity Policy and Partnerships, Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC)
  • Members of ECCC’s Biodiversity Policy and Partnerships Directorate (National Biodiversity Policy team)
  • Youth from the Prime Minister’s Youth Council, Natural Resources Canada’s Youth Council, and environmental youth organizations
May 8, 2023
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) sought the Environment and Climate Change Youth Council’s reflections on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP27, and insights on Canada’s plans and priorities leading up to the 58th session of the Subsidiary Bodies and UNFCCC COP28.
  • Members shared their views on issues such as the Global Goal on Adaptation, the new fund for loss and damage, the participation of Indigenous Peoples, and the engagement with youth and other stakeholders in the UNFCCC process.

Members met with:

  • Steven Kuhn, Canada’s Chief Negotiator for Climate Change and Director General of Multilateral Affairs and Climate Change, International Affairs Branch (IAB), ECCC
  • Members of ECCC’s Negotiations Team, IAB, ECCC
  • Michael Zinck, Assistant Deputy Minister, Public Affairs and Communications Branch (PACB), ECCC
  • Dominique Tremblay, Director General, Innovation, Research and Engagement, PACB, ECCC
  • Eddy Perez, Senior Advisor, International Affairs, Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
March 15, 2023
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) sought the Environment and Climate Change Youth Council’s feedback on the development of ECCC’s Climate Awareness Communications initiative.
  • Members shared their ideas on how to use strategic climate messages to promote climate action.
  • Members also discussed barriers and challenges associated with promoting climate action and provided their insights on how to promote hope and reduce eco-anxiety.

Members met with:

  • Michael Zinck, Assistant Deputy Minister, Public Affairs and Communications Branch (PACB), Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC)
  • Katie Donnelly O'Neill, Director General, Communications, PACB
  • Mélanie Farrell, Manager, Marketing and Public Opinion Research, PACB
  • Members of ECCC’s Public Affairs and Communications Branch
  • Representatives from the Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada
February 2, 2023
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) sought the Youth Council’s feedback on engaging youth in the National Adaptation Strategy (NAS) at a virtual meeting on February 2, 2023.
  • Members shared best practices for seeking youth input on climate change adaptation initiatives and identified potential barriers to their engagement.
  • Members also provided their insight on the role that youth can play in the implementation of the NAS.

Members met with:

  • Jeff MacDonald, Director General of Climate Change Adaptation, ECCC
  • Members of ECCC’s Climate Change Adaptation Policy Division
  • Representatives from the Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
October 5-6, 2022

The Environment and Climate Change Youth Council had their first in-person meetings on October 5-6, 2022, in Ottawa, to mark the beginning of their two-year term.

Members met with:

  • the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
  • the Honourable Kamal Khera, Minister of Seniors and one of the youngest women elected to Parliament
  • Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
  • the Department of Environment and Climate Change’s Deputy Minister, Christine Hogan; Associate Deputy Minister, Paul Halucha; and Canada’s Chief Negotiator for Climate Change, Steven Kuhn
  • Chair of the Liberal Black Caucus, Arielle Kayabaga, MP for London West
  • members of the Privy Council Office
  • Ilona Dougherty, the co-creator and managing director of the Youth & Innovation Project at the University of Waterloo

These meetings offered an orientation to government and discussion of key issues related to the environment, climate, and youth engagement. Following the meetings, ECCYC members selected their co-chairs Skw’akw’as (Sunshine) Dunstan-Moore and David Xing and are finalizing their work plan for the upcoming year.

Members of the Environment and Climate Change Youth Council

Michal Korteweg Davis (she/her/hers)

Michal Korteweg Davis is a student leader and budding environmental advocate. She's studying Engineering Science at the University of Toronto, majoring in Energy Systems Engineering to learn the skills for producing a clean energy transition and the infrastructure to support it.  

Michal served as co-director of Sustainability and Environmental Justice (SEJ) at Engineers Without Borders at the University of Toronto for 2021-2022 and remains an executive of the organization, as well as one of their delegates to the Toronto Climate Action Network. At SEJ, she supported projects focusing on climate and environmental communication and advocacy. For this work, she received an Engineers Without Borders Canada "Ask Tough Questions" award.

When weather permits, Michal enjoys cycling around Toronto and hiking. As a lifelong city-dweller, she's interested in sustainable, nature-based urban design. Towards this interest, she's spending her summer researching urban material use with University of Toronto's Professor Shoshanna Saxe. Above all, Michal is passionate about just and equitable responses to the climate crisis.

Geneviève Doiron (they/their, she/her)

Geneviève Doiron is a student at McGill University, pursuing a BA in Environment, with minors in Indigenous studies and Field studies. They first became enamoured by the environment growing up in rural Nova Scotia surrounded by enchanting forests and beautiful beaches. Later, their passion for the outdoors became channeled into activism, most recently with Divest McGill, an organization they've worked with for the past two years. As well as climate action, they care deeply about broader equity issues; having volunteered with various organizations such as Special Olympics, The Open Door Montreal, McGill's Community Equity and Engagement Committee, and Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy. They've pursued their interests in equity and the environment through summer internships with Ecotrust Canada and the Pembina Institute.

Through those internships, they co-authored two reports, on energy poverty and gender equity, respectively.  They are currently working with the Coastal Action Foundation's Environmental Education team teaching youth about the environment, and hopefully passing along their passion.  Their love for the outdoors is echoed in their leisure interests; they love camping, rock climbing, and exploring.

Skw'akw'as (Sunshine) Dunstan-Moore (she/her)

Skw'akw'as (Sunshine) Dunstan-Moore is a Nlakapamux and Yakima youth who grew up in Washington State and Lytton, British Columbia. Sunshine is a Community Climate Justice Coordinator for TLKemchEEn (Lytton, BC) along with VIDEA. Sunshine is also a member of the Youth Advisory Group with the Canadian Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and a Generation Power Intern with Indigenous Clean Energy. She completed the CanStudy US fellowship with Toronto Metropolitan University where she participated in deep-dive and expert dialogues on American and Canadian policies within the energy, climate, tech, economic, and cultural sectors. Sunshine is a member of the Stockholm+50 (S+50) Youth Task Force where she has co-created and collaborated on the S+50 Global Youth Policy Paper, and helped in designing the S+50 Handbook. In March 2022, Sunshine gave the opening statement on behalf of the Major Group for Children and Youth in the Opening Plenary of UNEA 5.2 in Nairobi, Kenya. Sunshine is passionate about Indigenous and Human Rights, amplifying silenced voices, and spreading awareness of the climate crisis. Sunshine's interests include photography, filmmaking, painting, and hiking.

Katia Forgues (she/her)

Katia Forgues is a young scientist passionate about using participatory action research as a tool for societal change. She is currently in her final year of a Master's degree in Biology at McGill University where she is working on a reforestation and carbon sequestration project in collaboration with an Indigenous Emberá community in Panama.

In Montréal, she leads a team of motivated students as co-director of Sustainable Youth Canada (SYC), a non-profit organization that empowers youth to become important agents of change in the ecological transition. As SYC works to build an engaged generation, she sees her role on the youth council as an opportunity to create a society that listens to and mobilizes youth.

On a personal level, Katia is curious and passionate. A perfect day that best reflects her interests includes a game of volleyball (beach volleyball ideally), followed by a barbecue with friends and ending with a jam session at the piano.

Michael Girum (Co-Chair) (he/him)

Michael Girum is from Calgary, Alberta and is pursuing a Bachelor of Commerce degree at the Haskayne School of Business. As an active member of his university community, Michael has served on the executive team of the Commerce Undergraduate Society and on the student staff of the University of Calgary Students' Union. His involvement in various student organizations is driven by his firm belief in student leadership and the importance of youth representation. Michael's key interests related to climate change are energy evolution and sustainable finance.

As both an Albertan and a finance major, he is keenly aware of the role that the oil and finance industries will play in Canada's efforts to protect its environment and combat the effects of climate change. Michael's passion for the environment is rooted in his lifelong interest in learning about geography and the planet. In 2017, he was a national finalist in the Canadian Geographic Challenge.

Currently, Michael is working with a major Canadian energy company to assist in the standardization of greenhouse gas emissions reporting. In his spare time, Michael enjoys playing the saxophone, reading books, and watching Jeopardy!

Lydia Johnson (she/her)

Lydia Johnson grew up along the north shore of Lake Superior, which has been a major driver of her passion for nature and environmental protection. She received her Honours Bachelor of Environmental Science (Biology) degree from Lakehead University in 2020. During this time, she spent a semester studying Natural Resource Science in Haida Gwaii British Columbia (Haida Gwaii Institute), which opened her eyes to the world of collaborative and transdisciplinary science. Since 2018, she has been part of the Parks Canada Campus Club leader network and looks forward to continuing to be a voice for youth relating to climate change and the environment. She is currently a master's student in the School of Environmental Studies at Queen's University, studying weaving Indigenous and Western knowledge in ecotoxicology and wildlife health. Some of her favourite ways to enjoy the outdoors are camping, biking, cross-country skiing, and foraging! 

Christina McRorie (Co-Chair) (she/her)

Christina McRorie currently lives on Treaty 6 territory in Saskatoon, with parents from both Southeast Asia and the Canadian prairies. She is completing her B.A. (Honours) in International Studies with an Economics minor and Sustainability certificate at the University of Saskatchewan, where she is also a Research and Teaching Assistant in Political Studies. She intends to do graduate studies in environmental management, community development, or political economy.

Christina is currently serving a two-year appointment to the Saskatoon Environmental Advisory Committee. She occasionally works as a Constituency Assistant for her local Member of the Legislative Assembly and interns at Prairie Wild Consulting, a regional planning and community development company.

Her passion lies in the intersection between social and planetary welfare, including making sustainability affordable, the green transition, and global climate justice. She is particularly interested in emergent strategy, ecocentrism, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and doughnut economics. Beyond these interests, she can be found climbing, reading, or doing pottery. She believes strongly in community, bottom-up activism and top-down action, and that a better world is possible.

Emily Ross (she/her)

Emily Ross is a settler of mixed European descent born and raised on the traditional territories of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta'an Kwäch'än Council (Whitehorse, Yukon). She is passionate about finding equitable and bold solutions to climate change in the North, and has been grateful to explore and diversify these interests while studying at Pearson United World College, on exchange at Sciences Po in France, and completing her BA in Political Science and Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. Emily currently works at BYTE - Empowering Youth as the coordinator for the Yukon Youth Panel on Climate Change, and at Inclusion Yukon as their Youth and Volunteer Coordinator. As a previous music teacher and current musician and composer for Borealis Soul, a northern artistic collective, Emily is interested in the political power of education and the arts to address complex social issues and shape imaginative futures. She is excited and grateful for the opportunity to uphold and amplify Yukon youth voices on the Environment and Climate Change Youth Council. When Emily is not contemplating climate solutions, you can find her hiking, reading a new book, or attempting (sometimes successfully) to knit socks. 

Abhayjeet Singh Sachal (he/him)

Abhayjeet (Abhay) Singh Sachal is a Canadian humanitarian, environmentalist, and activist who believes that engagement in dialogue and conversation can serve to spark change around the world. After a trip to the Arctic in 2016, Abhay co-founded Break The Divide Foundation, a non-profit organization that connects youth around the world with one another. Based on principles of environmentalism, sustainability, and reconciliation, Break The Divide focuses on fostering empathy and understanding to inspire action projects in communities. Abhay's work and research centres on the intersection of climate change, mental health, and community resilience. He has been a key presenter at numerous international conferences in his efforts to share environmental and educational knowledge. Abhay was recently named one of Canada's Top 25 Under 25 Environmentalists and was featured as one of 10 International Youth Changemakers in Canada. He is also an avid ice hockey player and pianist. Abhay is currently a student at the University of Toronto, studying Global Health and Peace & Conflict Studies.

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