campus climate action summit 2023
We're excited to announce that the Campus Climate Action Summit is back for its third edition this summer! This event will offer a unique opportunity to hear directly from a host of experienced sustainability advocates and learn about climate engagement through hands-on workshops.
HOW TO PARtIcipate
The Summit will take place every Tuesday evening (6 pm to 8:30 pm ET) from July 11th to August 22nd, 2023. Participation is free! The summit is a space for students to learn about climate justice AND to gain the skills and build the networks necesssary to become an effective advocate for change. This student-led initiative is all about mobilizing and equipping students to recognize their potential to influence policy on their campuses for the benefit of everyone. Sustainability, curriculums, divestment, student well being, environmental justice — there are so many ways that post-secondary institutions can contribute to fighting the climate crisis. Our, we can humbly say STELLAR, program of workshops and speakers will be announced soon, stay tuned! In the meantime, sign up below!
Sign-ups for 2023 are now closed.
Our annual summit is open to all post-secondary students (full-time or part-time) from across Canada as well as students involved in Climate Reality Campus Corps chapters in the United States. The Summit brings together students from diverse paths of life joined by their commitment to climate justice and climat action. Together, participants explore concrete and innovative solutions to combat the urgent climate crisis and influence their university or college to become more sustainable. The virtual event series will also offer a great opportunity to meet engaged people and broaden your personal network. Keep an eye out next year for our next edition!
Finding Your Climate Why: How to tell your Advocacy Story
Kicking us off, the, participants will be welcomed to the Summit with an opening statement by Indigenous Elder Kevin Kanahsohon Deer, in the spirit of grounding our approach in the amplification of Indigenous people's rights to self-determination and the support of Indigenous-led stewardship of land and water. Next, we will have a keynote presentation on “Finding Your Climate Why,” navigating the complex web of possible actions you can take and finding your own meaningful ways to help address the climate crisis. The goal of the session is to highlight the variety of avenues to climate action, and how a diversity of approaches is needed to achieve true transformative change. In the last section of the session, students will have a chance to craft and share their own climate stories through a guided workshop. This will not only serve as an icebreaker for cohort students to get to know each other, but will also foster a sense of belonging to the cause and a stronger understanding of the factors that brought you to climate advocacy.
Impactful Communication: How to Talk About Climate Change
The goal of this session is to adopt key climate communication strategies from learning about how to have hard conversations. Despite the increasingly unequivocal impacts of climate change, the topic of climate action remains controversial in some contexts and demographics. Plus, the topic can trigger eco-anxiety and other negative reactions. In the context where we need to build widespread support for immediate, ambitious and systemic shifts, it is therefore critical to know how best to talk about this sometimes-delicate topic. Social Media Manager at The Climate Reality Project's global headquarters in the United States, Ashley Walker will kick off this session with a background of what "climate communication" actually entails and five of its key tactics, followed by a Q&A on the topic. We will then have an interactive activity, facilitated by our fantastic Community Engagement Manager, Mikellena Nettos, involving character role-playing, on how to effectively engage and talk to different audiences. Next up, with a greater focus on campuses, Toronto organizer Chloe Tse will lead a goal-setting workshop. Guiding participants through the steps of identifying key stakeholders and climate indicators of concern on university campuses, the activity will allow participants to practice how to effectively advocate for change at schools through writing and verbal techniques.
Mobilization & Organizing: How to Plan an Effective Campaign
Learn about the movement ecosystem, different organizing strategies, and how to build the foundations of a campaign from scratch. Hear firsthand from student activists about the challenges, wins, and how various climate organizing groups are structured to center community care AND large-scale mobilization of hundreds of students. A keynote and discussion will be followed by a strategy workshop on how to build an effective campaign.
Equity & Climate Justice: Taking an Intersectional Approach to Solving the Climate Crisis
Fully grasp the intersectionality of the climate crisis as a political, racial, social and economic crisis, starting with amplifying Indigenous stewardship of the land and waters. The highlight of this session will be a youth panel on intersectional climate justice, with a fantastic lineup of panelists (representing a variety of perspectives) who will be sharing how their respective identities influence how they and/or their community are impacted by climate change. This panel will be followed by an interactive activity focusing on multidimensional nature of climate justice and how to advocate for more intersectional campaigns as student organizers.
Divestment: Demanding your Post-secondary Institution put its Money where its Mouth Is
This week is special as it is the only session focused on a specific campaign, a foundational keystone of the climate movement: divestment. The goal of this session is to equip participants to lead their academic institutions towards divestment from fossil fuels and the largest supporters of polluting industries such as major banks. Participants will also build bridges with other youth advocates across the country. Divest Canada Coalition will start us off with an introduction of the student divestment movement. Next up, we will be joined by a wonderful panel featuring student representatives from a few campus divestment groups from across Canada and the USA. Featuring Banking on A Better Future’s Michelle Marcus, last but not least, we will have a workshop on how to fight fossil fuel banks on university campuses.
How Capitalism Catalyzed the Climate Crisis: What We Can Do to Change Course?
Capitalism, the dominant paradigm and economic system in which our world operates, has become a vicious force in today’s fast-paced, high-tech and hyperconnected world. Under its rules, private companies distribute goods according to supply and demand to maximize profits. In its current unhinged form, no one is held accountable, and those profiting from the system are not paying for the true cost of production. This session covers how our current consumerist economic model is a prominent root cause of the climate crisis and how it destabilizes democracy. Specific cases will be considered, ranging from fast fashion to greenwashing to private corporations. Systemic transition frameworks such as a solidarity economy and co-operatives will be explored.
Next up: Pathways to ACTION!
In this celebratory final session, we will be inviting students from the international Climate Reality network around the world to join us in an exciting evening of Campus Climate Action Networking! Participants will be invited to share the campaigns they are working on, and their unique campus organizing experiences. Though students in different countries may be operating in very different contexts (economic, political, etc.), participants will no doubt gain valuable insights and inspiration from fellow student climate organizers fighting the same fight at a different campus elsewhere in the world. In addition to this galvanizing networking session, we will conclude the summit with a small workshop focused on how to take care of yourself on your climate journey by unpacking eco-anxiety, and how to transform anxiety in to agency and action. What concrete action will you be taking after this Summit as your personal commitment in fighting climate change?
This event will offer a unique opportunity to hear directly from a host of experienced sustainability advocates. Learn more about there experience below.
Ka’nahsohon Kevin Deer
Elder, Knowledge Keeper and Educator from Kahnawá:ke, Mohawk Territory
Kanahsohon Kevin Deer is from Kahnawake Mohawk Territory. For the last 30 years he has been involved in Mohawk Language retention and revitalization. He is also a Faithkeeper at the Mohawk Trail Longhouse which involves knowing sacred songs, dances and rituals. He enjoys discussing and presenting the Iroquoian world views, history and philosophy. Kevin has participated in many events. In 1990, he was involved in the Oka Crisis using the power of peace to try to resolve that conflict. In 2003, he was part of a planning committee of the historic event that involved horses coming across the land from British Columbia to Six Nations to help wipe the tears of the 7 generations and heal the earth. In September 2015, he was deeply involved in the Bretton Woods IV convocation, performing a ceremony to help all participants who gathered to see, hear, and speak more clearly about matters of global financial concern from a Native, First Nation’s perspective. In February 2016, he made a presentation on Native spirituality at the United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week in New York.
Manager of Bagida’waad Alliance
Natasha Akiwenzie is the manager of an Indigenous environmental not for profit group called Bagida’waad Alliance. Bagida’waad Alliance was formed to do research on the waters of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, to encourage youth to hear the stories of the Elders about the fish and to do more active stewardship of the lands & waters. Natasha is a member of the Lac Seul First Nation and lives at Neyaashiinigmiing with her husband and three sons. They were a sustainable fishing family that caught whitefish and lake trout in the waters of Georgian Bay. Natasha became a trained Climate Reality Leader in July 2020.
Communications and Engagement Coordinator of David Suzuki Foundation
Janelle Lapointe is an Afro-Indigenous climate justice and Indigenous rights activist from Stellat’en First Nation, currently the interim Director of Public Engagement and Mobilization at the David Suzuki Foundation and a guest on Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) territories. She leans on her lived experience growing up on her small reserve in Northern British Columbia to ensure that intersectionality is at the forefront of environmental narratives, to build power and help others see their stake in fighting back against the status quo. She has spent the last few years Frontloading* a new mass movement organization, to unite everyday people from Canada, Quebec and many Indigenous Nations across the lands to demand a Green New Deal that takes power from the hands of the billionaires and returns it to us all. (Easy stuff!)
Chair, Climate Reality Project Campus Corps at University of Waterloo
Ceileigh McAllister is currently studying Environment, Resources, and Sustainability at the University of Waterloo. She is very involved in campus organizing through many avenues. Currently, she is the co-chair of the Sustainability Literacy Initiative, a senator, and a student leader and committee member in the reduction target project at Conrad Grebel University College. When she is not wearing her activism hat, you can find her cooking vegan food, walking her dog Coco, tending to her garden, or very occasionally doing schoolwork.
Campus Organizing Lead at Banking on a Better Future
Michelle (she/her) is the Campus Organizing Lead at Banking on a Better Future. She is also a co-founder of the Divest Canada Coalition and alumni mentor at Climate Justice UBC. She helped found the Divest Canada Coalition, a network of 20+ student groups across the country calling on our universities to divest from fossil fuels, reject false solutions to the climate crisis and reinvest in a just future by providing resources, trainings and mentorship. Her hobbies include watching documentaries, reading, cooking, and of course cuddling with her cats.
Communications Specialist, Responsible Investment Association
As Communications Specialist, Karishma (she/her) is responsible for planning and executing communications and marketing materials for the RIA, including email communication, social media, graphic and web design, and event promotion, with a focus on the Climate Engagement Canada (CEC) initiative. Karishma also supports CEC on project planning and administration, business development materials and relationship management. Before joining the RIA, Karishma worked in the Consumer Packaged Goods at Johnson & Johnson, on the brand management teams for household brands such as Tylenol and Band Aid. She expresses her passion for climate action and sustainability through her work as a social media creator and educator.
Principal Coordinator of The Global Grassroots Support Network, The Climate Justice Organizing HUB Trainer
Kenzie (she/they) grew up as a settler on the traditional territories of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation which includes the Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi Peoples. They have been involved in the movement for climate justice since 2019, devoting most of their efforts to banks fossil fuel divestment, Indigenous solidarity and climate justice education. In addition to being a HUB Librarian and Trainer, Kenzie presently works as the principal coordinator for the Global Grassroots Support Network.
Climate Justice Organizer, Climate Justice UBC
Anna Brookes (she/her) is an uninvited guest on Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh lands. Her climate journey started with a campaign against Styrofoam lunch trays at her elementary school, and she's been involved in climate justice organizing ever since. Anna has organized climate strikes, co-coordinated divestment and action group Climate Justice UBC, and worked with the UBC Centre for Climate Justice. She loves storytelling in all forms. She teaches climate storytelling to high schoolers through the UBC Climate Hub's Youth Climate Ambassadors Project and continues to bring stories into all of her work. Her other interests include 500-or-fewer-piece puzzles, being outside, and biking very slowly around Vancouver. She is so excited to work with the Campus Climate Action Summit.
Executive Director, Be the Change Earth Alliance
George Radner (he/him) is the Executive Director at Be The Change Earth Alliance. He first joined Be The Change as the Program and Operations Coordinator in the summer of 2019. George also served as a student representative on the BTCEA Wisdom Circle. George is passionate about climate justice and has been actively volunteering with climate and environmental groups since high school. He has a BA in Economics and Mathematics from the University of British Columbia. George seeks to use the technical knowledge and skills from his degree to become a more effective advocate for the issues he cares about. George is a founding member of the student-led UBC Climate Hub and leads their Youth Climate Ambassador Project, which trains university students to facilitate hope-inspiring climate action workshops in high schools. He first connected with Be The Change when exploring ENGOs that could help implement this project.
Divest McGill Organizer
A cognitive Science student and climate justice advocate at McGill University, Zahur (she/he/they) has been organizing around divestment from fossil fuels and climate justice in Tiohtià:ke. She is also a programmer, language enthusiast and creator, and fan of the interdisciplinary.
Climate Activist & Program Manager, Environmental Defence Canada
Aliénor (Allie) Rougeot (she/her) is a climate justice activist, and a program manager at Environmental Defence Canada where she advocates for a just transition for workers and communities. She has been a human rights advocate since a very young age, with a focus on climate justice since high school. She co-founded the group Fridays for Future Toronto and has led numerous student climate strikes in that role. She is a public speaker and workshop facilitator, using these opportunities to raise awareness on the urgency of the climate crisis, discuss the solutions that are available to us as a society and empower others to join the fight for climate justice. She has been recognized by The Starfish in the 25 under 25 Environmentalists, and by Corporate Knights in their 30 Under 30 Sustainability Leaders.
Banking on a Better Future, Toronto Hub Coordinator
Chloe (she/her) is BOABF’s Toronto Banks Hub Coordinator. She is also a part of Fridays for Future Toronto and Climate Voice. Chloe’s favourite hobby is going to concerts, and when she was in grade 4 she won a gold medal in speed stacking!
Jaden L. Phillips
Youth Engagement Coordinator at The Climate Reality Project Canada
A third-culture-kid and aspiring climate scientist, Jaden Phillips (they/them) first became curious about and interested in nature at a very young age, traveling the world as a little kid. Fast forward a few years, during their BSc degree, they discovered an intense passion for the science of climate change, but it was only during their final term abroad in London in the Fall of 2019 — coinciding with the global climate strikes — that the galvanizing magic of climate activism ignited a flame within them. Jaden has been an avid climate activist since then, organizing with various youth-led climate orgs. at universities and beyond. They are especially passionate & excited about galvanizing youth into climate action, as youth have a livable future to fight for! Jaden has a Hons. BSc in Environmental Science & Psychology from UofT and is currently an MSc student at UBC's Institute for Resources, Environment & Sustainability.
Youth Engagement Intern, Climate Reality Project Canada
Emily (she/her) is a Geography and Philosophy Joint Honours student at McGill University and is involved with various climate and social justice groups on campus. She has a background in mobilizing for climate justice, fossil-free futures, food affordability, community care, and facilitating popular education programs. Emily is interested in bringing a greater focus on the disproportionate impacts of the climate crisis on marginalized communities and the root causes of the climate crisis. She is passionate about working within grassroots organizations and empowering individuals from the bottom up to resist exploitation and ecological degradation. In her free time, Emily enjoys taking film photography and hiking.
National Campaigns Manager, Climate Reality Project Canada
Originally from Saskatoon, Hannah (she/her) now lives in Winnipeg (Treaty 1). She has a background in research, organizing, and advocacy. Her past work includes leading community-based conversations across Canada on the connections between climate change and income insecurity with the Green Resilience Project, and campaigning to ban fossil fuel advertising with the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment. She has also been involved in grassroots climate justice organizing for over five years. Hannah holds a Master's degree in Natural Resource Management from the University of Manitoba, where her thesis research was on traditional Indigenous food systems. Hannah is excited to continue learning and working with others to address the climate crisis by building new systems based on ideas like participatory democracy and shared public goods. In her spare time, she enjoys playing the banjo.
Community Engagement Manager, Climate Reality Project Canada
Mikellena Nettos (she/her), as a lifelong environmentalist and a Master of Sustainability, knows that we have a long journey ahead of us in the fight against climate change. This battle is multifaceted, and she believes that real and significant change begins with the education of those who can and will create change, the youth of the future. Her sustainability journey began when she was in her junior year of high school, and with the increasing intensity and frequency of climate disasters—the need for sustainability and her passion for action have only intensified since then. She recently completed the Climate Leadership Corps Training in October 2021, and she is thrilled to be the Community Engagement Manager for Climate Reality Canada. She has an undergraduate degree in Medical Science with a Minor in Environmental Sustainability and Dramatic Arts (Hons. BSc), and a Master’s degree in Sustainability Science and Society (MS), both from Brock University. Her educational background lays a strong foundation for interdisciplinary action towards a more sustainable future.
Social Media Manager, Climate
Ashley Walker is the Social Media
Manager at The Climate Reality
Project. She graduated from Western
Michigan University with degrees in advertising & promotion and gender
& women's studies with a minor in
psychology. Recently, she earned a
certificate for women entrepreneurs
& leadership from Cornell University.
Ashley began her career at Hudson
Rouge in client account management
leading agency efforts across digital
and social campaigns. Prior to joining
Climate Reality, she was a freelance
consultant helping businesses build
out and execute their goals across
social media. Ashley is passionate
about community change and further
committed to the empowerment of
women through education and
personal wellness. She is a
motivational speaker, entrepreneur,
and mentor who revels in the
knowledge all good change starts
with us. In her free time, Ashley
enjoys art, cooking, decorating,
dance, comedy shows, reading books,
playing board games, a good karaoke
moment, swimming, and solo
traveling around the world to
immerse herself in other cultures.
The Climate Reality Project Canada’s (CRPC) office is located on land which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous peoples, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabeg Nations. CRPC honours, recognizes and respects these Nations as the traditional stewards of the lands and waters on which we are today.