National Youth Summit on Climate Change
Recap of event
On November 23, 2016, Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, hosted a National Youth Summit on Climate Change in Ottawa, and called on Canada’s youth to be part of its climate action. Over 100 youth from the Ottawa-Gatineau region attended the Summit, with more joining the conversation online and reaching well over 500,000 Canadians on social media through #YouthClimateAction.
Participants heard from empowering speakers and experts on climate change, discussed issues that included sustainable food systems, transportation, clean energy, and communicating climate science, and offered innovative solutions that could be implemented at home and in their communities.
- Learn about our speakers and experts who spoke at the event
- Continue to discuss your issues and share your ideas on climate change!
Watch the below video clips from the event:
Minister McKenna at the National Youth Summit on Climate Change
Minister McKenna welcomes participants to the first National Youth Summit on Climate Change held in Ottawa on November 23, 2016
Hon. Catherine McKenna: Well, on behalf of the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, who as many of you might know, he’s our Minister for Youth. He thought it was so important that he took on that position.
On behalf of Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada and also Minister for Youth, I would like to welcome you here.
This is a really exciting day. We’ve worked really, really hard to bring all of you together. I want to do a big shout out to Environment and Climate Change Canada employees. Where are my awesome employees? Raise your hands. Whoohoo!
And what’s amazing, I didn’t realize how young you guys look, so that’s really great. I want to thank all of the different organizations that are represented here. We have really amazing displays. If you have a chance, go try out the bike. I’m a huge cyclist.
You can try out the bike. If you want to charge your phone…
You have to go on the bike. I think you have to bike for five minutes to get 10 minutes on your phone. So just know that. You’re going to get a little exercise today. Yeah, it’s just really, really amazing to be here. We have a great jam packed day and I’m really psyched because I just got back from Morocco.
I just got back from Marrakesh, in Morocco where I participated in negotiations on climate change.
There were a few of you here. Who was with me? I see Dominique, I see Meredith. Did some of you follow along the discussions? Hopefully you did. Maybe you saw some Twitter traffic or maybe you saw something in the newspaper, in the news. But what was really amazing was the whole world has come together to tackle climate change. And by the whole world, I don’t just mean national governments, which is really important.
National governments, almost 200 countries came together to tackle climate change with practical plans that they will implement in their own country and we’re working on that now. But we also had… we had business, we had environmentalists, we had the provinces and territories, we had indigenous leaders, we had civil society, and we had youth.
And that made me very proud because the only way we will ever tackle climate change is if we all come together. And I am so happy to see that all Canadians are coming together to take serious action to tackle climate change.
When I look around the room here today, I see youth who are passionate about the future, who are passionate about attacking climate change. It’s a shame that all your lives you’ve already known about the impact of climate change.
You’ve always known about climate change. And you’ve always had to think about what the future is going to look like. But never is it more so -- the impacts of climate change -- than you look at the impact in the Arctic.
So when I was in Morocco, I had the great honour to be there with a woman, a young woman named Maatalii. She’s Inuit and for the first time, and certainly for Canada, she did Canada’s opening statement with me. And she talked passionately about the impact of climate change that she sees on her land. And in the Arctic, we know that changes are double. The increase in temperature is double, more than double in some places what we’re seeing elsewhere. And that’s not just an inconvenience. That’s actually changing their traditions, that’s changing their way of life, their ability to hunt country food that you have hunters that are expert hunters that have always hunted on the land and the ice who are falling through and dying because they can no longer tell the weather conditions. And that’s what we’re facing.
This isn’t about doom and gloom, but we need to be realistic that we have a huge, huge challenge. And Maatalii really pushed me to say: what are you going to do? What are you going to do with young people? What are you going to do with indigenous peoples? What are you going to do to ensure that we have a place to live, where we can practise our cultures and our traditions, that is such an important part of our country… that is literally melting?
This is a big challenge but we’re all working together and I have hope. Two days ago I was in Halifax. I had to make an announcement. I was on the plane. I met with two young people from New Brunswick. I think they were six and eight years old. They were sitting in front of me on the plane. And they said: excuse me, Madam Minister. I said: Yes? They said: thank you for your work saving the planet. This really touched me.
And I won’t make you guys do a pinkie promise, but what I said to them. I want you to do a pinkie promise. I want you to promise me that you will do everything you can to help save our environment and make sure that we have a better future but you will also get your friends, you will get your parents, you will get your grandparents. And so that’s what this is all about. This is about working together. This is about hearing from you. You guys are engaged. You have different ideas. You’re not, just because you’re young people doesn’t mean you’re all going to be the same. But you… it’s your future and you need to be engaged and you need to care and you need to come up with solutions that you think are going to make a real difference.
National Youth Summit on Climate Change Qs&As with Minister McKenna
Minister McKenna answers questions from youth across Canada who participated in the National Youth Summit on Climate Change held on November 23, 2016.
Jen Collette (Acting Executive Director for Policy and Partnerships, Mineralogical Service of Canada): Welcome to all of you joining us from across Canada. I'm sitting here with Minister McKenna ready to engage with all of you on Facebook Live. During the next hour Minister McKenna will be answering your questions. She will also be joined by some guests throughout the hour, including Peter Schiefke, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister for Youth; and Alex Benay, President and CEO of the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation.
Honourable Catherine McKenna (Minister of the Environment and Climate Change): Hello. Bonjour.
Jen Collette: We’ve received a lot of questions from all over Canada and a lot more are still coming in as we speak. So let’s get started.
Our first question is from Kevin Shale. How will the federal government support your entrepreneurs starting businesses geared to help fight against climate change?
Hon. Catherine McKenna: Wow! So thanks very much, Jen. That’s a really, really great question because we know we need innovations, we need solutions. And actually, it was amazing this morning, so Geoff Green with Students on Ice was showing examples of Canadian young entrepreneurs. One of the entrepreneurs came up with a solution where you use solar power to create clean water, something that can be used in the Arctic, something that can be used in developing countries. So we need more solutions like that. And so we already have some funding available through different programs, seed funding to help young entrepreneurs where they can get access to money to help with their initial solutions. We know that we also, once you have a good solution, and you kind of got it going, you need more money to actually, you know, make sure that you can scale it up. So we’re looking at: how do we fund innovation? So I’m working very hard with Minister Bains.
“A really good guy who has the file on innovation. But we know we need innovation. So we look at how we can support youth, entrepreneurs, and scientists who have practical solutions to help fight climate change.”
Jen Collette: Super. All right, our next question is from Martin McGraw. Is Canada’s government trying to save our economy or environment? The way I see it, you can only focus on one, and Trudeau is clearly giving people jobs and stuff to save our economy. So is the environment less important to the eyes of our Prime Minister?
Hon. Catherine McKenna: Well, that’s a really good question, Martin. I have always said that the environment and the economy go together. You can’t have one with the other… without the other. You can’t have a sustainable economy if you don’t take care of the environment. And you can’t do what you need in terms of environmental action unless you have a strong economy.
And that’s what we’re doing. That’s why we’ve taken serious measures. I’ll give you one example. Putting a price on pollution. So we know that we want people to pollute less, and so when you have people polluting, if you put a price on it you raise revenues. So if you pollute, you’re going to pay more. If you pollute less, you will pay less and you’ll innovate. And the money that provinces are getting from the price on pollution, they can use to reinvest in the economy. And what we’ve seen is, Ontario and Quebec, their priority: electric vehicles, energy efficiency. And so there are different ways, different solutions. But I think you have… we have to be serious about both, and for a long time, it’s been an either/or. And I’m all about making sure that we build a sustainable and prosperous future for our children.
Jen Collette: Awesome. Thanks very much. Pierre Perrera has a shorter question but a really important one and he asks: How can we get involved?
Hon. Catherine McKenna: Thank you, Pierre, you’re already committed.
… your question. So, first of all, thanks for that because it is really important that everyone is part of this. So I was in Marrakesh at COP22 and I had business leaders, environmentalists, youth, provinces and territories, and that’s the only way we’re going to tackle climate change. So I think there are local ways that you can do that. There are a lot of great local environmental organizations, everything from organizations that are focused on clean water in their community.
I know in Ottawa we have the Ottawa River Keeper, a really great organization, making sure we keep the water clean. You can get engaged through school, through… we were talking about innovations. We need new innovations, so I don’t know how old Pierre is, but you know, if you’re in science class, are there ways that you can look at how do we use solar energy? How do we use tidal energy? There was a great initiative in Nova Scotia where they’re starting to use tidal energy.
And so it’s just different ways, however you, where you can bring your skillset, and whether it’s getting people excited about climate action by starting your own organization, or through, you know, inventions, through science. So there’s many, many different ways to get engaged and I think that’s how everyone can contribute in their own way.
Jen Collette: Excellent, and I think today is a great reminder that each of us has that responsibility to take some action on climate change.
Our next question is from Grayson Bark, and Grayson asks: Has Canada committed to the phase out of fossil fuels by 2050? Why? Or why not?
Hon. Catherine McKenna: So that’s another really great question, and we know we need to be moving to clean energy. We know it’s a transition, so you can’t do it overnight. We still need to turn the lights on. We still, you know, need to make sure that, you know, we can power our homes and our vehicles but it’s a transition, and quite clearly a transition.
So when I was at COP22 in Marrakesh, we announced our 2050 plan. And 2050, it sounds like it’s really far away, but actually if you don’t start planning and have a plan right now you’re sure to fail. So there we’re talking about reducing our dependence by 80% on fossil fuels. I mean look, we would love to do more and I think innovation is certainly part of it, and sending signals like pricing pollution so that we come up with inventions.
And so we’re going to keep on doing absolutely everything we can to put ourselves in a more sustainable path and be more and more ambitious.
Jen Collette: Great. Thank you for that response. Our next question is from Abby Murphy, and she asks: What are some ways as a student – I think you spoke to this a little bit in your previous response for Pierre – what are some ways that I as a student can make a change in my everyday life?
Hon. Catherine McKenna: Well, that’s a really… that’s another really great question. So I just met with an amazing young woman and she came up with a list. What she did is she polled her friends and she said: Okay, what do you think we should be doing, what can you do, what can I do to reduce our impact to the environment? She had a whole list, so it’s pretty awesome. Maybe we’ll be able to share the list. One of the things she was really focused on was plastic bags. We know that plastic bags are a massive problem that you have now huge, huge collections of plastic bags in the oceans, so like the size of Texas in some cases, and you have animals that are dying because they ingest them. So that’s what, you know, it’s a small example: how do you just stop using plastic?
And the young people are very good at that. But you know we can certainly also encourage older people – parents and grandparents – recycling is something that you can do. Taking your bike, using your bike more often, it’s a lot nicer. I love taking my bike. It’s healthier for you, but also it reduces the impact on the environment.
Jen Collette: And I think something that Geoff mentioned earlier this morning, that idea of reverse mentoring.
Hon. Catherine McKenna: Reverse mentoring.
Jen Collette: Youth can absolutely have a great impact on those of us who have been around maybe a little bit longer.
Hon. Catherine McKenna: You know, that’s what I always… when I have young people who are really excited, often kids, they say: What can I do? And I said like go talk to your parents and grandparents and tell them it’s about their… it’s about your future.
Jen Collette: Okay, so I think we have time for one more question before our first guest arrives. And this question is from Olivia Desroches. And she asks: How can we inspire others to want to make that difference as well so that more of an impact can be made?
Hon. Catherine McKenna: So I think the best way to inspire people is to tell stories. That’s what I try to do. I try to collect stories. I’m always inspired when I have people tell me stories. So, Maatalii, I talked about her, a young Inuit woman talking about her homeland and the impacts that we’re seeing… that she’s seeing on her homeland. We saw a video from the Native Women’s Association and it was just talking about flooding, a young woman talking about the flooding in her community and how the climate change is having… resulting in extreme weather events which is actually tearing apart her community. And I think those stories, talking about stories, talking about real things that, you know, people can understand and really understand the real impacts, and also the opportunity to build a stronger and better Canada, a more sustainable Canada, if we take action. I think that’s the way to get people inspired.
Jen Collette: Excellent, thank you. That’s pretty inspiring yourself, so thank you very much. And so now we are going to welcome our first guest.
Hon. Catherine McKenna: Hello, first guest, Alex.
Alex Benay (President and Chief Executive Officer, Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation.): How are you? Nice to see you again.
Hon. Catherine McKenna: It’s great, because this is Alex Benay. He’s the CEO of the Museum of Science and Technology, my kids’ favourite museum, which is being renovated, so we’re very excited.
Alex Benay: Yup -- November 2017. Your kids will love it.
Hon. Catherine McKenna: All right, marking it into the calendar.
Alex Benay: Absolutely.
Hon. Catherine McKenna: So great to have you here.
Jen Collette: So, Alex, I have one question to get your conversation started.
Alex Benay: Sure.
Jen Collette: And I was hoping that you would share with us, what sort of role do you see that public institutions like the museums play in terms of inspiring youth to take action on climate change?
Alex Benay: Right. I think museums, historically, and science -- many more museums have been a place that have told you your culture historically. I think in this day and age, and more and more with youth as well, it’s more… it’s more a place of dialogue and it’s more a place of co-development of culture, of ideas. It’s a safe haven. So in a topic like climate change which is so polarizing, very emotional as well for some people, museums offer a bit of a safe haven where people can share their ideas, their dialogues, be respectful about it in the process and be very inclusive.
So I do think we’ve got an important role to play in this dialogue on climate change of bringing people together. And if you were to extrapolate or expand that on a global scene, I think those, a lot of the things I’ve just mentioned – inclusiveness, dialogue, respect – they’re all Canadian values as well. So we have an even larger role to play we think on a global scale.
So for us museums, it’s a natural reflection of Canada’s values and we think we’re an important part of the discussion. We’re happy to be here today and we have quite a bit of programming that goes on across Canada. Let’s Talk Energy Program literally criss-crosses east to west and north and south across the country, engaging youth all over Canada on this discussion. So we hear about it every day and it’s certainly part of our fabric, and we’ve heard all the opinions and we’re not here to take a position. We’re here to try to help people understand the issue, try to educate people a little bit on the science behind climate change, and just try to bring people together because that’s what it’s going to take to solve this issue globally.
Hon. Catherine McKenna: So one really cool thing, Let’s Talk Energy, so I saw an exhibition that you had here in Ottawa-Centre at Lansdowne.
Alex Benay: Yup.
Hon. Catherine McKenna: And it had a bunch of different pictures and it was kind of telling a story. It was pictures from the Arctic with some scientists there that were looking at the impact of climate change on birds. Then you had Canadian solutions. And then I heard you say, you know, we brought this exhibition around the world, including to Mexico.
Alex Benay: Yup.
Hon. Catherine McKenna: So what’s the reaction of people that go see this? I found it quite moving -- the pictures -- but what are you seeing?
Alex Benay: Yeah, I mean that exhibition kind of maybe reflects the nature of the problem in that sense. It’s a partnership with National Geographic, so it’s with our friends down south of the border. It’s travelling around the world because this is a global problem. So, I mean, these pictures are very striking. They’re meant to be striking. They’re meant to cause an emotion. But then we wanted to add to this that this isn’t just a problem, it’s an opportunity.
Now your earlier question around economy or environment, well, they’re one and the same. So one and the same. So for us… (experiencing audio problems – technical adjustments made). There we go. Good. I have no idea where I was at, but let’s just say that environment and the economy are a related issue. So we’ve been able to show multiple facets of the problem. We wanted to criss-cross this across Canada, like everything else we do, but then all of a sudden people in Mexico became very interested in it, so now it’s trilingual. It’s in Mexico City as we speak, scheduled to go to Washington after. There’s about 15,000 people a day that are going to get to see this in Mexico City where it’s at at the conference centre.
So yeah, it’s a tremendous response and it’s just another way to try to engage people in the conversation -- physically this time, not just digitally -- but, you know, a mix of mediums. So it’s been very fun.
Hon. Catherine McKenna: So speaking of ‘physically,’ I was on a bike that you guys had this morning.
Alex Benay: Yeah.
Hon. Catherine McKenna: So I had to pedal the bike so I could charge my phone.
Alex Benay: Yeah, you probably pedalled it better than I did in Calgary last time I did it.
Hon. Catherine McKenna: Well, I don’t know. I was actually like a bit out of breath. But I feel like this is a solution for my kids. You want to do electronics, you get on the bike.
Alex Benay: Yeah.
Hon. Catherine McKenna: But tell me like about these things where you actually are showing solutions, like cool solutions. So that was a cool one. Any other examples?
Alex Benay: Yeah. No, I mean we do a lot of, maybe not as physically demanding, a lot of speaker series across Canada.
Hon. Catherine McKenna: Good!
Alex Benay: Yeah, the bike for me the first time I got in, they made me go on against an Olympian in Calgary, so it was horrible for me. I lost hands down. But I mean, the bike has been extremely popular. It’s been to malls. We try to go as a museum not in places where people would associate museums. Like we go to malls, we go to Comic-Con festivals, we go to a bunch of places where people are to engage with them. So it’s one example. We do a lot of speaker series as well.
The gang is going to be going to … on a glacier with Red Bull to go in a glacier soon to look at the impacts of climate change on sort of this particular glacier out in Alberta.
Hon. Catherine McKenna: With Red Bull.
Alex Benay: Yeah, with Red Bull, yeah. So it’s about making it fun in the process. Like, I mean, sometimes museums have a stigma that you go and, again, you’re told… it’s not really the reality of things sometimes -- certainly not in the science and tech world but… so we’re having fun in the process, we’re challenging people into dialogue in a respectful way, and try to see if we can’t have a little bit of reaction from people in some of the things we do. So the bike is one, the glacier is one, the climate change exhibition’s another.
Hon. Catherine McKenna: That’s really awesome. You know what? I really want to thank you for all of the work you’re doing.
Alex Benay: Thank you.
Hon. Catherine McKenna: I think it’s great, you’re not just engaging Canadians in a really fun way but you’re also doing it around the world and telling our story, which is really great.
Alex Benay: Absolutely.
Hon. Catherine McKenna: Thank you.
Jen Collette: Thank you very much, Alex. We’re going to turn back to some of the Q & A questions that are burning up my phone right now. And it’s great to see how much interest and participation we’re getting from so many people across the country.
So the question for the Minister is from Tyler Fougère Amos, and he’s asking: What kinds of technologies are being used to develop a process to deal with greenhouse gases?
Hon. Catherine McKenna: Well, that is a very big question, Tyler. I mean, there’s so many different innovations out there. I was in… I was travelling to universities across the country. I have been at the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, different solutions to really reduce the emissions from oil and gas. We know we use oil and gas. We need to be doing it in a much cleaner way. And so there’s all these really cool different technological solutions that, you know, you can look at in that direction.
When it comes to renewables, we know that actually it would be great to just be using renewables, but we need to figure out different sources of power. So I mentioned it very briefly, but in Nova Scotia yesterday, in the Bay of Fundy, they deposited a huge turbine and it’s going to use the wave power. It’s a… use the tides. And that’s a really amazing way. You know, it’s still in its infancy. We hope that, you know, it’ll be a big part of the solution but it’s going to be used… it’s on the grid now helping to power homes and businesses. So there’s all sorts of different solutions. We know there’s ways to have much more energy-efficient homes.
I would love to see homes that -- our Canadian homes produce energy as opposed to use energy, and that’s certainly, you know, the way of the future. So lots of different solutions across the board.
Jen Collette: And I think the building we’re in is one of those great examples where you can really look at renovating something that’s already existing and taking advantage of alternate power or alternate technologies to make it more energy-efficient.
Hon. Catherine McKenna: Yeah, and on that, I was really excited to announce that Government of Canada buildings… so we’re going to be using 100% of renewable power. We made this commitment, and I think that’s really important. The government needs to be leading by example.
Jen Collette: Excellent. Thank you. So we’re going to switch it up a little bit and instead of asking you a question, I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind giving us a little bit of your reaction to some of the speakers we heard this morning. We certainly saw the movie, but in particular we heard from Verna, we heard from Geoff and Meredith and Dominique who you mentioned were in Marrakesh with you. What were some of your thoughts in terms of listening to them speak to this audience today?
Hon. Catherine McKenna: It was really interesting because we had really different speakers from, you know, young indigenous women talking about the impact of climate change in their communities, very, very powerful stories that, as I say, the power of storytelling, the fact that you’re concerned about country food, that your community won’t have enough food to eat because of the impacts of climate change, that really hits home because food insecurity is a really big issue, in particular with indigenous peoples.
Hearing from Dominique and Meredith who I had a chance to work with in Morocco, I mean they really are pushing the envelope in terms of what… how governments should be working with youth. Not in a way where you bring them in and have like a nice little chat and that’s it, but actually, how do you bring young people into negotiations so you actually are being… listening to their voices and making sure that what we are putting forward as a government actually represents what future generations want.
And then of course Geoff Green had some amazing, beautiful pictures of the Arctic, and stories about the changes that we’re seeing there. And I think when you see the pictures, where you see the wildlife, you realize that it is so precious what we have, and we can’t lose that. And so the fact that he is bringing Canadians, young Canadians from across the country – I think he said it’s more than half indigenous youth that are part of his Students on Ice expedition – I think it’s really incredible because it’s, once again, when people see… they see firsthand what’s happening in the Arctic where we really are seeing huge changes, they recognize that the actions at home are having an impact there.
And a little story, a little removed, it wasn’t today, but when I was in Morocco, I was with some Inuit leaders who were talking with some leaders from small island states. And the leaders from the small island states were saying like at two degrees, our islands will be under water. And this Inuit leader said, so the melting of my homeland is causing the sinking of your homeland. And that’s what we need to be thinking about. Everyone’s interconnected and we really need to figure out that your actions, our own actions, can either have a positive or negative impact, and so we need to be very mindful.
Jen Collette: All right, so I think we have time for one more question before we throw to our next guest, and this one is in French. And I don’t have a source for this question, but that’s all right. Someone out there, this question is yours.
So the next question, what are your plans in the coming years in terms of the Paris Agreement?
Hon. Catherine McKenna: This is an excellent question. The Paris Agreement was great. It was very ambitious. Canada worked very hard to reach this agreement. But now is the time to act. We have to act in Canada and that is why we have a climate change plan that will be announced by the Prime Minister and the premiers of the provinces. And we also want countries throughout the world to take action. And that’s why we announced funding, a historical amount of funds, to help developing countries to also tackle climate change.
We also want greater transparency and action. We want to make sure that indigenous peoples are recognized by this agreement and that we’re looking at solutions with indigenous people. We want to know how climate change is impacting women, particularly in developing countries, so we’re going to continue working hard and adopting a leadership role because we are going to work with everyone. We have to make sure we all do better. We have to be more ambitious because we know there’s a lot of work to be done and we have to do it together.
Jen Collette: It’s very interesting to know that Canada is in a leadership position and is also helping other countries to create their own ability to become leaders as well.
So now I want to introduce our next guest and you may have seen her earlier in the Facebook Live streaming session.
Hon. Catherine McKenna: Very famous now.
Jen Collette: Very famous. I'm going to get a selfie or an autograph later, I think. But very pleased to have joining us Ember Sarazin, and I hope I said that correctly.
Ember Sarazin (Pikwàkanagàn First Nation, indigenous woman, student and mother): Yes, you did.
Jen Collette: Who was earlier on the video. So welcome. And have you met the Minister before?
Ember Sarazin: Yeah, just today.
Jen Collette: Excellent.
Hon. Catherine McKenna: We had a chance to chat. I was so… I was so blown away by the video and the story, the story that you had. But maybe you want to tell… because maybe some people didn’t have a chance to hear the story that you talked about, talking about the impact of climate change on your community, on the wildlife, on the country food.
Ember Sarazin: Okay, hi. My name is Ember Sarazin, as you know. I’m from Pikwakanagan First Nation which is an hour and a half east of… west of Ottawa, and in my video, I had talked about the traditions that my father had taught me, living off the land. So we talked about the medicines that he like picks and the moose meat and the fish that we eat and how that is affecting us, what we’re not able to get the medicines as easy anymore, or we have to go out and look for it harder.
In the city he used to be able to come up here and see those medicines in the city. And now he’s not able to do that as much. He would just like walk down the road and pick whatever he needed for whatever we needed. And I’ve noticed that he would have to go out into the bush now and do that, as much.
And then the moose meat and the fish that we’re eating, I was talking about how I was getting anxiety about what I was putting into my body because I don’t know what, like what is being affected by the climate change and the pollution and stuff like that.
Hon. Catherine McKenna: So this is a real impact. This isn’t just something that’s inconvenient. It’s actually having a huge impact on your community and your life and, as you say, in your father’s ability to go and get country food and, you know, actually provide for the family.
Ember Sarazin: Um-hmm.
Jen Collette: Fantastic. And so, Ember, what were you thinking? We viewed your video this morning, had a little bit of a shout out. You got to stand up. What do you think about when you see all these youth who have engaged across Canada who are all interested in your story and the stories of others and taking action on climate change?
Ember Sarazin: I really like that the youth are getting involved. That’s where, like, the change is going to happen. You know, we have to make the changes. We have to make the decisions on how we live our lives from now on, from transportation, what we consume, how we consume, what we eat, how we waste things, how we don’t waste things. I think that’s something that when we engage the youth, that change will be brought on later on because they’ll understand it from then. And they’ll be the ones that will be helping making the change, like the drastic changes, and then getting educated and putting, like, policies in place for it so we aren’t using, like, natural resources, like taking natural resources out of the ground.
Jen Collette: Thanks, Ember. And Minister, thank you for your commitment to making sure that those indigenous voices come to the table as you demonstrated at COP in terms of having folks with you to tell those stories. That’s an important part I think we’ve seen in terms of your activities internationally. Did you want to speak about that a little bit?
Hon. Catherine McKenna: Yeah. I mean, it’s not just about telling stories and it’s not just about talking about the impact. It’s also about the solutions. So I’ve learned a lot in this job, and I’ve only been in it for just over a year, but the role of traditional knowledge and actually listening to elders, listening to grandmothers, listening to indigenous youth, listening to communities, it’s really interesting because you actually learn a lot. And you know, just that one story about, you know, the hunters being able to tell that the environment is changing, they’ve known that for a really long time because they’ve known that it’s much more difficult for example to tell the thickness of the ice.
And so these early warnings that we didn’t necessarily pay attention to, we need to make sure that we are listening to traditional knowledge, that we are finding solutions using traditional knowledge with, you know, with science. And so that’s been the big learning experience. And at COP21, when we were there, I was with indigenous leaders and indigenous young people, and we really pushed hard to get recognition in the Paris Agreement about the impacts of climate change on indigenous peoples, the importance of traditional knowledge. And it’s really pushing the envelope internationally because not all countries are there and not even a lot of countries were there. But I think it really had an impact that we were working together with indigenous leaders -- that they were with us, that they were part of our delegation, that they were in the room when the Prime Minister was making his national statement. I think it’s very powerful because it’s about being there, being at the table, being part of the discussions, and being part of the solution.
Jen Collette: Thank you very much, and thank you, Ember, for coming in and being part of our Facebook Live streaming session.
We’re going to head back to the questions coming in from online for the Minister. And so this next question is from Kate Menard who is a grade 12 student in Northwestern Ontario in the community of Red Lake. And she asks: What kind of research and development has been done to limit emissions from coal-fired power plants, and why is the coal phase-out important?
Hon. Catherine McKenna: Well, that’s a really good question. So just this week we announced the phase out of coal from the electricity system by 2030. Although there’s flexibility for provinces, there are four provinces that currently use coal. You have Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. And the reason that’s important is there’s a number of reasons.
So, one, the significant greenhouse gas emissions. Coal is very polluting. Two, the health impacts. So we know that there are 1,000 premature deaths by 2030 from coal. Also asthma, that young people and seniors are the most impacted. So we have cleaner solutions and we know that that is, you know, that we need to be moving on to the energies of the future. It’s not going to happen overnight, but certainly we can be there by 2030. And it’s also an economic opportunity and an opportunity to bring Canada together.
So, as I said, it's not every province that has coal. And so provinces can share clean power between provinces, and we've said that we know that you need to have electricity, like transmission lines between provinces so they can share power. We know that we need more renewables, so whether it's solar or wind or tides, tidal power, those are going to be a part of the mix. And those are the solutions. Like the solutions exist and so we need to be making sure that we create the right incentives so that we move in a direction that's better for our environment, better for our health, and that creates economic opportunities for the future.
Jen Collette: Great, thank you very much. And now, I think a question that folks online may be anticipating. Talk to me about pipelines. I know youth are very concerned when it comes to reconciling pipelines in the context of climate change. We saw that, we see that message coming out frequently in the media. What are your thoughts on that?
Hon. Catherine McKenna: Well, so, I should just reassure everyone that every project, major project, whether it's pipelines or a major resource development project, goes through an environmental assessment process. We had concerns about the process when our government came in, so we introduced new measures to make sure they were more robust; that we looked at the greenhouse gas emissions; that we looked at, you know, indigenous peoples and making sure that we are meeting our obligations. Also reaching out and hearing from individuals and communities, and making sure that the decisions are based on science, evidence, facts, traditional knowledge. So that's, I think, really important.
You know, so when it comes to natural resource development, we know we need to be doing better; we know we need to be moving to a lower carbon future. Once again, as I said, this is a transition. It is not going to happen overnight, and so I think we need to be mindful about that, and we need to make sure that we're actually taking action that's going to create the right incentives so we move towards renewables, to cleaner power. So that's why putting a price on pollution, it creates an incentive so that you're going to pay more if you pollute more, and we know, so coal, we're phasing out coal. We know oil and gas have significant emissions.
We want people to be looking at renewables and we need to make sure though that we have a plan to get there. We have a plan for 2030, a plan for 2050, because you just can't do everything overnight. And we're working really hard to make sure that we're moving as quickly as we can; we're as ambitious as we can to reduce emissions, making sure that we are working with communities across the country, that we're hearing all voices. And by all voices that's environmentalists, that's youths, that's business -- that is all Canadians.
And often, you know, you hear very loud voices, but there are also, you need to be listening to all Canadians because I want to make sure that everyone is with us as we take climate action because you can lose advances that you make. We've seen this in other countries pretty quickly and that's not what we want to see here.
I see myself as a Minister who's working hard to represent everyone. It's difficult because people have different views. Climate change can be quite polarizing, but I think Canadians see that we need to move forward, we need to be practical, we need to be thoughtful, and we need to work as hard as we can to bring every Canadian on board.
Jen Collette: Thank you for that. We're going back to the online questions now. And Zack has a question about food and the carbon footprint of the food we eat. So great question there. How can we make some simple changes in our lives, starting with the food that we eat and our purchasing choices?
Hon. Catherine McKenna: So that's a really good question. I mean, it would be really great if you could see the carbon footprint of food, because you might be surprised. Like sometimes things that might be farther away might be produced more efficiently. Often though it's the local food, going to your local market and, you know, buying the food from the local producers. You're also giving back to your community.
And so I think it's all about choices we make. It's choices in food, it's choices in: do we bring or do we buy plastic bags or do we use, you know, recycled bags? We were having a good... I had a good conversation with one of the young people who had a bunch of solutions, and she's like, why don’t we always bring containers? Why do we go to a grocery store and get things out of plastic? Like they're all covered in different plastics and wraps and, you know, and aluminium? Why don't we go and actually have our food and just bring our own containers and take the... you know, take food that way so we have much less packaging?
And I think that's happening. I think that people are really standing up with their consumer… the choices they're making. The government has a role to play, certainly, and so does business, because I think we all need to come together and look at how we create less waste. And we know packaging, for example, has a... it has a carbon footprint itself.
So figuring this out is going to take some time, but I think the great news is that, you know, Canadians are pushing governments to see action.
Jen Collette: And I think one of the great things is certainly we see in Ottawa a real, I don't want to say resurgence, because it's more new, is community-shared agriculture, local markets. Those are experiencing tremendous popularity and those can also help very much in terms of cutting down on our carbon footprint.
Hon. Catherine McKenna: Absolutely.
Jen Collette: I think you have several in your neighbourhood as well, in your constituency.
Hon. Catherine McKenna: I do. It's actually quite cool. I mean, people who live in apartments often can't have a nice garden, so they go and you see them working in the community gardens, getting out, getting active, meeting other members of the community, and also growing food locally, you know, at less of a cost. Often the food is grown for the food banks, which is also really important to me.
Jen Collette: Fantastic. And so now we have the opportunity to do a little bit more of an intimate discussion with some of our participants from today. So thank you very much.
Thank you for being here. Can I ask you your names and the school that you're at?
... that you happen to be with.
My name is Hans Poitras. I'm from a cégep in Gatineau.
Other studen: (inaudible)…I am from Algonquin College, in the Environmental Management and Assessment Program.
Jen Collette: Super. Excellent. Well, thank you so much for... it's great to see all the schools that have come out, come out here today. You heard some fantastic, fantastic speakers this morning, including our Minister. Can you give me some of your impressions or your thoughts about about this morning's session?
Hans Poitras: If you don't mind my starting? I found that the presentations were really good this morning, particularly the Students on Ice presentation. It was very exciting and it was interesting about globalization. The photographs were really impressive.
Question: ... because they covered a diverse range of topics pertaining to climate change in Canada, not just necessarily the scientific research that's going on and it's so easy to have the sadness and the despair when you just see hard numbers and facts. But we talked about social issues of climate change and the way that it's affecting Canadians in their day-to-day life now and in the future. So I thought that was a great direction to take the conference.
Jen Collette: Excellent. Thank you very much. And so do you have any particular questions that you would like to ask our Minister?
Hans Poitras: Do you want to go first?
Question: Sure. My discussion table out there right now is talking about the role of communicating science to the public, and I just wanted to know how that factors into what you do on a daily basis, and how the ways that communicating science is being done to enable education about climate change to take a role in how we proceed?
Hon. Catherine McKenna: So that's a really important question, and you know I spend so much time thinking about: how do we talk about climate change, because it can be all about targets and carbon pricing and clean tech and not really mean much. It sounds like a bunch of jargon and it's not something that inspires people to think that we need to take action, nor does it show, okay, what are the solutions? What can we be doing?
And so I think how we talk about it is really important. So just a little example, like when you talk about carbon pricing, like pricing pollution -- what you don't want. I think that's when I saw people, they're like, a lot of people like, oh yes, that makes sense. You want to price what you don't want. And we don't want… you want to put pay… have people pay more if they pollute. So I think that kind of thing is really important.
I think that talking about the science behind climate change in a way that people can understand. And often it's visuals that, you know.
Hans, you talked about the images from Students on Ice, and they're really impressive.
You see huge glaciers that are melting, and when you see animals that we're worried about disappearing, I think that really has an impact. And we also tried our best, you guys are way cooler.
Youth is much better with technology, but we do our best. Now I'm on Snapchat and Twitter and Facebook. We need to be sure that we're communicating with people on the ground.
So making sure that (inaudible) people where they are. So not thinking that everyone reads the newspaper, but often you're getting your information online in little bits, you're sharing information, so trying to figure out how do you talk about, how do I talk about what I do on a daily basis in kind of a tangible way, because I think people could just think I sit in meetings and like, I don't know, hang out and talk about really boring things -- sometimes I do that. But I, you know…
Frequently I have important meetings, I have important discussions, I'm in labs to see solutions with scientists. I think it's important to talk to people.
So that’s what I try to do. But also hearing from you guys and actually hearing other people talk about, you know, what's going on and what they care about I think is really a priority, to promote other people's works and thoughts and concerns.
Jen Collette: Do you have a question for the Minister?
Hans Poitras: Yes… I think it's working. Well, at my discussion table we were talking about education. We wanted to know what will be implemented in the next few years to improve the education system, not only in Quebec, but throughout Canada when it comes to the environment, but not just to concentrate on carbon, but also methane, and all aspects.
Hon. Catherine McKenna: Well, I'm not as young, but what do you find at school? Do you find that it's too narrow? What do you see?
Hans Poitras: Well, indeed, we're often too focused on say natural gas, oil. And of course those are important factors, but there's also other factors like food, the impact of some of our foods on the environment, interactions between food and other parts of the ecosystem. We're too focused on oil.
Hon. Catherine McKenna: There needs to be more access to more different resources. I do think that it's not, that various subjects aren't mainstream enough. There needs to be more of a link. There are problems and solutions when it comes to food. With science there are solutions. We can do experiments to find solutions. I'd like to see that because I think it's a lot more effective because if they just say, well, we're going to have a test on this, and then we're putting it aside...
This is mainly up to the provinces and school boards, but we're trying to gather more resources so we have broader discussions and so that teachers can get their hands on more resources that discuss all aspects, solutions to problems, and everything that's happening in this very broad area of climate change.
Jen Collette: Thank you so much for your perspectives.
Can you speak to us a little bit about the mood out there? How do you feel the mood of the conversation is going?
Question: Oh, it's great, it's really positive out there and lots of different perspectives at each table, people from different backgrounds, different areas of expertise, which is awesome, and there's a lot of progressive conversations happening.
Hans Poitras: As mentioned, we've had some great conversations. We've heard from people with very interesting perspectives, whether it be on meat, labelling, foods. We really concentrated on food, but the whole discussion is very interesting.
Jen Collette: Yes, and it's very rare to meet with students from various different schools. It's great to share ideas like we've been doing and to hear from people with very widely divergent perspectives.
Now, let's get back to our questions from the web.
The next question is from Ja Mingfan (ph) from Mississauga, Ontario, and it's a popular question, so several other folks may recognize it as well. What are the government's plans to take action on climate change?
Hon. Catherine McKenna: Wow, okay, so that's a really big question.
Jen Collette: Big question.
Hon. Catherine McKenna: I feel I have to talk really, really fast. So when you think about climate change, we know where our emissions are coming from, so we know our emissions are coming from energy, like oil and gas, coal we've talked about. We know our emissions are coming from buildings. We need more energy-efficient buildings, so how do we, you know, ensure that we are providing the resources necessary. So in a support if you want to retrofit your house, make it more energy efficient and creating, you know, the incentives.
Transportation. A lot of emissions coming from transportation. You know, electric vehicles, hybrid vehicles are really important; thinking about charging stations, thinking about: what do we do with trucks and how do we have regulations that'll minimize the emissions there, and the kind of fuels we use. And so, kind of looking across the board, we know that we… the areas we need to reduce emissions. So when the plan is announced in December, you will see, across the board, all the measures that we're going to be taking to reduce emissions in these sectors.
But beyond that, there's the innovation piece. So we've already talked about that. How do we foster innovation? How do we make sure that we're supporting Canadians, Canadian entrepreneurs, Canadian scientists that have technologies, have maybe big ideas that might be the technologies of the future? How do we support them? Because that's a good thing, because we'll find solutions. Also creates good jobs and, you know, opportunities for us to find solutions here that we can export to other countries.
And then there's the adaptation piece. So we are seeing flooding across the country, we're seeing forest fires. Prince Edward Island is shrinking by an average of 43 centimetres per year. And then we know in the Arctic that the sea ice is melting, that buildings are no longer stable because of the permafrost melting.
And so we need to be making investments to address the changes that are already happening on climate change. So on the adaptation piece, looking at: how do we support provinces and communities deal with the impacts of climate change that we're already seeing, and the additional impacts that we know that we're going to see, you know, going forward.
Jen Collette: Great. Thank you very much. Our next question comes from Aiden Thompson, who is a high school student, and he says: I want to know how I can help to build a sustainable future for my generation and future ones.
Hon. Catherine McKenna: So thank you, Aiden. And I hear a lot about that, so how do I help? And I really love it because everyone wants to get involved. And, as I said before, I mean, I think you look at: what am I interested in doing? Where do I have skills? And it can be, you know, I really like getting people together to have a conversation about the problem so that educating people, having real conversations, like, you know, you can talk about the cool TV shows that you like, but also extending that to climate change, and, you know, having a discussion about that, or organizing your friends to do clean-ups of communities, or to do fundraisers to support organizations that are doing very good work to tackle climate change. Lifestyle changes. So we talked about using less plastic bags, riding your bike, turning down the heat in your house, putting on a sweater. I mean, there's very, you know, basic changes that you can do.
And joining networks, like getting together with other young people that really care and are interested so that you can work together because, I think as I said, this is all about working together. So it can be through your school. I know a lot of schools have environmental clubs, and that's a great way to do it. There's organizations that give opportunities to young people, like Students on Ice, where you can go out and see the science around climate change.
And then, of course, looking to your future. Like is this something you're passionate about enough that you want to go and be a scientist, be a researcher, join amazing people that work at Environment and Climate Change Canada. I know some amazing people.
Unidentified: We rock.
Hon. Catherine McKenna: You do rock. Parks Canada also doing some really amazing work in science, and looking at the opportunities how you can contribute and you can get the knowledge and skills to actually be able to do that in a really practical way.
Jen Collette: That's great. Lots and lots of different options to help make a contribution there.
Okay, our next question comes from Connor Childs (ph), and this is: So as somebody who studied science, I'm going to acknowledge, I studied science, this is an interesting question that I get to ask you now.
How can you talk to someone who doesn't believe in the science of climate change, and how can we bring them onside? Are there any good resources that we can point them too?
Hon. Catherine McKenna: So that's a great question. I mean, it's easy to think that everyone understands that climate change is real, but not everyone does. So we need to make sure that we do educate people. And this gets back to what I said earlier, like you have to go to where people are. Like, you know, you can go and have like a big scientific presentation from the world's top scientist and it may not have the impact. You can show pictures, before and after pictures, of the Arctic and the changes that they're actually seeing in the Arctic. You can show graphs that show that month after month, year after year, decade after decade, the temperature's changing.
We have a lot of resources -- the Environment and Climate Change Canada website -- that are very useful that you can, you know, there are pictures, there are graphs, there are facts. And I think you just need to figure out, you know, what does this person care about? And most people care about their future. Most people care about having, you know, the opportunity to go out in Canada's beautiful wilderness. Most people would care about being able to, you know, fish, being able to make sure that, you know, that you can still go, I don't know, skiing. And these are the changes. If we don't take action now, I mean, some of them might seem superficial, but they might be things that this person really, you know, the person you're talking to really cares about.
And then I think for a lot of people, even if you aren't, you know, it's not your biggest preoccupation, climate change, you should be thinking, most people think about jobs and they think about the economy. And young people, I know, often are thinking about where are the jobs of, you know, the future and the opportunities of the future? And it was very apparent when I was at the climate negotiations in Morocco this year, that businesses there, there are so many opportunities for business people... for young people in new jobs, in new business, whether it's in solar, or in wind, or in companies that are producing more sustainable project... products.
And so, you know, for economic reasons alone, we need to be going in this direction. Of course, we need to be doing it, and you would want everyone to do it because it's the right thing to do, also, for our planet. But I don't really care why people want climate action. I don't care if it's because you want to have a more energy-efficient house because you save money, because in the end that still has the impact. You reduce emissions. And I think that's why I’ve always focused on: how do I talk to people about the issues they care about in a way that really will help have an impact on climate change, and not just lecturing people, because lecturing people – I have kids, I was a kid – lecturing people does not work.
Oh, we got a new guest.
Jen Collette: We do have a new guest, yes, so we're going to introduce our new guest, and I believe this is Peter, is that right?
Peter Schiefke (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister for Youth): That's right, yes.
Jen Collette: Hi, Peter, we haven't met before, so Peter Schiefke is the Parliamentary Secretary for the Prime Minister's Youth Council, is that correct?
Peter Schiefke: Yes, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister for Youth Affairs.
Jen Collette: Excellent, thank you so much.
Peter Schiefke: Great to be here.
Jen Collette: And have you met Minister McKenna before?
Hon. Catherine McKenna: Never, never seen him before.
Peter Schiefke: No, we do not work together at all.
Jen Collette: (Laughs.)
Hon. Catherine McKenna: Peter is an excellent friend and the Prime Minister couldn't have picked a better person to be representing him, representing Canada on youth issues. Someone who is super passionate about young people, but also super passionate about climate action.
How long have you been working kind of in the climate change sphere?
Peter Schiefke: Over ten years. Yeah, I worked with Al Gore, as you know. I was running the Canadian branch of his foundation for five years, and previous to that I was working with David Suzuki and the David Suzuki Foundation on a slew of projects. And prior to that I was working in East Africa.
And actually what prompted me to get involved in climate change issues was witnessing the effects of climate change on those living in developing countries, particularly Uganda, which had just come out of a civil war only to then be faced with the longest drought in over 75 years. And it created 600,000 new refugees. And it was the first time in my life where I heard the phrase “climate refugee” -- the term climate refugee.
So I decided to come back to Canada and focus my time on educating Canadians on how we can reduce our carbon emissions and play more of a positive role in the international arena.
Jen Collette: That's great. Well, thank you so much for joining us today.
Peter Schiefke: It's a pleasure to be here.
Jen Collette: What are your thoughts about our Minister McKenna convening a day like today, folks from the Youth Advisory Council had a huge hand in helping out to get today launched? What do you think about events like today?
Peter Schiefke: I am floored, first of all. First of all, I want to say thank you for doing this. This is incredible. This is, I mean, not...
Hon. Catherine McKenna: It’s super fun.
Peter Schiefke: It's also fun, but it's amazing, it's amazing for us, and it's also amazing for the hundred plus students that are here. You know, the Prime Minister obviously is very committed to bringing youth into the decision-making and the discussions that we're having at the highest levels. This is a reflection of that. But he believes that for many reasons, and I just want to focus on two.
First: Climate change is one of those issues that is so important to young people because they have the most to lose or gain by the decisions that we make today, right? But in addition to that, they have this incredible ability to look at the world, not just as it is, but how it could be. And so the ideas that they put forward, most of the time are ideas, you know, the expression thinking outside the box. They come to the table with these incredible ideas and this energy that is so valuable to us, to all of the different ministries, and a lot of the things that we're learning come directly from young people.
So, I think what we're hearing today and what we're going to see at the end of the day when we start to compile all the data that we've been able to collect, we're going to have incredible ideas that we're going to be able to look at and hopefully implement, yeah.
Jen Collette: Terrific. And so maybe what I'll do is I'll go to a question that we have...
Hon. Catherine McKenna: We have lots of people, not just 100 in the room, we have thousands and thousands of young people who are online, which is really amazing.
Peter Schiefke: Well, welcome. Thanks, everybody, for being here.
Jen Collette: We've been getting questions from all across Canada, and one of the things that the Minister mentioned earlier is really getting to people and speaking to them where they are. And so perhaps you could speak to that from that lens of having the Youth Advisory Council. How do we get to youth and get that climate message out for folks where they are?
Peter Schiefke: So the Youth Advisory Council, which for those who are watching don't know, the Prime Minister started a Youth Advisory Council, the first of its kind in history to… directly to the Prime Minister. And the idea behind it was to get a group of young people from all across Canada, representing different backgrounds and different lived experiences, to talk about issues that matter most to them and bring, you know, a wide array of ideas to the table with the Prime Minister.
It's very similar to what's happening here. I was able to go and sit at different tables where we had discussions about how to communicate the science and solutions to climate change better, how we were going to put in place measures to provide solutions for the agricultural sector. All to say, all of the different students came from different areas from across the country and they all had something different to bring to the table.
There was one student who was talking about the fact that he's from Saskatchewan, and he's really looking for solutions that he's able to bring back and share with farmers, because farmers want to be a part of the solution. They understand that there's emissions in the agricultural sector. How do we make sure that farmers are brought on board and that we're working collaboratively? So he brought that to the table.
There was another student who said that she was actually from Nunavut, and… originally from Nunavut, and she said, you know, we've got our own issues up there. We need to make sure that we're communicating those to Canadians from coast to coast to coast to really talk about the impacts that we're having. How do we communicate that? And she was, you know, throwing around some ideas.
All to say, the fact that we've brought all these young people together from all across the country allows us to have a better understanding of what's happening and also how to move forward with innovative ideas.
Jen Collette: That's great. And I think we're seeing the beginning of a trend of these sorts of engagement events that allow youth to, I think what we heard this morning, is have that seat at the table so that they can share their voices and help participate in our democratic policy and decision-making process. So that's fantastic.
Peter Schiefke: Exactly. And I can just say, from the feedback I received this is one of the most popular ones. I mean, a lot of young people, if you ask them what their top priorities are, climate change is always near the top of the list, if not at the top of the list. So…
Jen Collette: I definitely think seats for this event sold out pretty quickly. They weren't... they were free, but they still, they got taken up very, very quickly, so that was fantastic. Thank you so much for making the time to join us today.
Peter Schiefke: It's an honour to be here. I'm going to go back to the tables now.
Jen Collette: Excellent. I really appreciate your time.
Peter Schiefke: Thank you. Thank you, Catherine.
Hon. Catherine McKenna: That's great. I think the point you made that youth come from different perspectives and really hearing great discussions, and I think as you say, like from farmers to what's happening in the Arctic, we're a big country and people are really excited, young people are excited about being part of the solution. So thank you.
Peter Schiefke: It’s great to be here.
Hon. Catherine McKenna: And thanks for all your work. You're awesome.
Peter Schiefke: Thank you, Catherine. I'll see you soon.
Jen Collette: All right, so I'm looking on the screen, and do we have time for one last question, or are we wrapping up the Q&A? We'll do one last quick question. So...
Hon. Catherine McKenna: Last question in French?
Jen Collette: It's not in French, unfortunately. It's from Liam Ragan (ph) and he says, maybe I can try and translate on the fly.
Can you give us an example of a time when the federal government worked with communities to work on sustainability, and why is it so important to work with various levels of government?
Hon. Catherine McKenna: That's an excellent question. Every day we work with communities...
We work with communities every day, whether it's on parks issues and looking at, you know, the research that's being done and how do we protect parks, how do communities work with them? So we have parks that are co-managed with Inuit, which is a really amazing model, and looking at the science there, then how do we feed that science back in.
Environmental assessments. You absolutely have to work with communities because they're the ones who feel the impacts. You need to understand their concerns and respond to their concerns and look for solutions.
So it's a very practical thing, this, you know, my job, where, you know, people are really feeling the impact of environmental changes, or want to see opportunities in their communities, so working with communities that are looking at clean energy. How do we support them?
We're having many discussions with indigenous communities in the North who are on diesel. They want to be part of the solution. They want to get off diesel, so how do we find location solutions that'll create jobs and really benefit the community? And you can't just be top down. It's very important that you engage with, you know, with communities and understand what are their concerns? And often it's very different than what people think. Like, you know, people who care about the environment, they also care about jobs and they want to figure out how this is all going together.
And so I think it's just being mindful that you don't come in with your ideas and saying, okay, you know, there's going to be, for example, no development, or we're going to do this solution, or this solution. You have to sit down and really, you know, have an opportunity to listen and look for win-win situations… win-win solutions.
Jen Collette: Excellent. Well, I think that was a great place to finish off our Facebook Q & A segment. So that portion is coming to an end. We hope you folks online have enjoyed yourselves and gotten a little bit of a taste of what it's been like in this pretty amazing building. I think this was a really unique way to sit down and have a chat with a federal cabinet minister. Definitely my first time doing this.
The discussions and the questions don't end here. You have to keep on talking about climate change and to find solutions, and to share them, and share our efforts and our actions.
Please reach out to your friends on Facebook and through other social media to talk about climate change and your experience today, and please keep those conversations going with the #youthclimateaction
Report a problem or mistake on this page
- Date modified: