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Mikellena Nettos, Youth Engagement Coordinator

Saturday Spotlight Series

· Climate Reality Canada Team
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As a lifelong environmentalist and a Master of Sustainability, I know that we have a long journey ahead of us in the fight against climate change. I believe that change begins with the education of those who can and will shape our world for the better, the youth of the future. My sustainability journey began when I was in junior year of high school and my passion for climate action has only intensified since then. I have an Honours bachelor’s degree in medical science (with a minor in Environmental Sustainability and a minor Dramatic Arts), and a master’s degree in Sustainability Science and Society (MS), both from Brock University. I recently completed the Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training in October 2021 and I am thrilled to be the Youth Engagement Coordinator for Climate Reality Canada. At the start of the pandemic, I created a clean-up initiative which led to the creation of a climate book club (featuring many people from the Leadership Corps Training)! My educational background and experience lay a strong foundation for interdisciplinary action towards a more sustainable future. 

Why did you join the climate movement/what pushed you to become interested in climate change issues? 

I've always tried to be environmentally conscious, which also comes from saving money in a large single-parent family. During my undergraduate studies, I came across a poster for a minor in Environmental Sustainability and the more I learned about the interdisciplinary nature of climate change, the more I felt drawn to enact positive change anywhere and everywhere I could. Thankfully, this minor led to completing my Master in Sustainability at Brock University. 

What is one achievement you are proud of? 

My master’s degree: I am the first person in my family to obtain a master’s, and as a low-income minority this was a huge accomplishment. 

What are some climate change initiatives you are currently taking part in? 

Hosting a Climate Book Club with Climate Reality Leaders I met at the Leadership Corps training. I love having weekly meetings with like-minded individuals to discuss current climate issues and solutions—it's a great method for reducing climate anxiety. I also was previously involved in planning a climate strike in Niagara in September 2021 with other climate activists in the area. 

What do you think is the most effective way for people to take climate action? 

Engaging with your community to advocate for climate policy on a municipal level is an effective way to make change on a smaller scale. I believe community work also invokes empathy for people and planet, by getting to know the people and natural areas you share your city with, you start to care more for the people living there and the natural world surrounding it. 

What is a fun fact about yourself? 

I love musicals and I participated in one during my first year of university! I was also in my high school choir all four years—singing has always been a big passion of mine.