Around the world, youth continue to mobilize for climate justice. They’ve created an unprecedented global movement.
But a significant portion feel powerless, due to a lack of confidence and knowledge. “Gaptivists” are young leaders taking time off from study to focus on activism, to help their generation take flight.
Four of these amazing environmental innovators dedicated 36 weeks each to our work.
Our goal is help amplify their diverse voices and better support their contemporaries. And they have so much to teach us!
Beyond the transmission of knowledge, the hope for a better world lies in the realization of the power that each individual has to act.
Meet the gaptivists
Based in Tiohtià:ke (Montreal), Albert Lalonde is one of the young climate plaintiffs taking the federal government to court. (Encourage them with your words of support.) He’s also a member of La CÈVES (the Student Coalition for an Environmental and Social Shift).
For Réseau demain le Québec, Albert ran two four- and eight-week interactive “activism schools” for young people aged 13 to 23 in December and March-April 2020. Youth from diverse backgrounds shared expertise and experience on topics ranging from defining climate justice and mobilizing a community to structuring strategy and promoting self-care for positive engagement. Albert also supports RDQ’s adult activism school.
“The environment must be our absolute priority because otherwise, nothing makes sense. Government’s refusal to act on climate change according to what science states is needed for survival is violating young people’s right to be young.”
Photo: Félix Legault-Dignard
Divya Arora is co-founder of Community Climate Council, a youth-led organization in Ontario’s Peel Region, interested in providing community residents, especially youth, equitable access to consultations for development and implementation of local policies.
Divya helped win a motion opposing a highway proposal, including delegating before Peel Regional Council and contacting local media to raise awareness about the campaign. She’s also launching a six-month intersectional organizing program and an activism video project.
“You don’t need to wait for the right time, the right tools, or the right background to make a change. If you put your passion out there, there will be people who share your beliefs and will support you.”
Photo: Patrick Leung
In 2019, Rebecca Hamilton was a moderator for David Suzuki and Stephen Lewis’s national Climate First Tour and helped lead the largest climate march in Vancouver. She’s a member of the youth climate justice movement Sustainabiliteens and also worked with Charged Up, our climate and clean energy project.
Rebecca helped launch Future Ground Network’s youth activism school. She’s part of the film What about our future? and organized a screening and panel discussion for our community.
“Like many of my generation, I think I’ve always been somewhat concerned about climate change. We’ve grown up with this latent awareness of an impending horizon of doom. I remember watching a documentary in a Grade 7 science class showing the extreme weather effects of climate crisis, and feeling overwhelmed, confused, and frustrated. That’s when I started really started worrying about it.”
Photo: Trevor Leach
Sustainabiliteens organizer and self-described climate justice advocate Sam Lin works on sustainability conferences and local Vancouver initiatives. Her goal is to make the world a more just, equitable place for all.
For Future Ground Network, Sam organized Fossil Free Cities workshops and webinars on speaking to city council, social media, mobilizing for the climate emergency (with Seth Klein) and local government relations. She also created a space for organizers who are Black, Indigenous and people of colour to share stories and experiences, and co-ordinates anti-racism training for the network.
“We are at a crucial time — in the midst of a global pandemic and a climate crisis, we have the power to shape the world that emerges beyond this. As youth, we are bringing communities together to fight for the just future that we know is possible. Together, our voices are powerful, and we made our message heard: we must invest in the well-being of people, not big oil, starting today.”
Photo: Alicia Holownia
Finding Solutions features stories of caring people like you who make everything here possible. You can read, share, discuss, take action, join, donate. Whatever you choose, you’re helping protect Earth’s life-support systems. Thank you.