Introducing: the Canadian Youth Delegation

Meet the Canadian Youth Delegation headed to Marrakesh, Morocco for COP 22 this coming November. The delegation is made up of 17 individuals from all across the country who are dedicated to calling for climate action in Canada. Donate to support the Canadian Youth Delegation here

Here's a little bit about each of us:


Aleah Loney

Age: 27

Edmonton, Alberta - Treaty 6, Amiskwaci

When it comes to the current state of the climate movement, I am most inspired and excited by the fierce determination of frontline communities, racialized communities, First Nations, Metis, and Inuit communities, low-income communities, queer communities, migrant communities and others for overcoming systemic and historical challenges to their very existence and fighting back with dignity and honour.  I am excited about climate justice, which to me means that we ensure first and foremost that those most impacted are the ones making the decisions.  That is what brings me to this work each day: the idea that we’re going to change the world and that we’re going to do it together, with those most impacted leading the way.

I’m going to Paris because I want to remind world leaders that we can’t eat money and we can’t drink poisoned water.   I want to remind world leaders that while they sit in the conference rooms discussing the future of the globe and all of its inhabitants in relation to the climate, that there are hundreds of thousands of people and ecosystems across the planet who don’t need to be told that climate change is coming; they are already experiencing it.  I want to remind them that the UN negotiations are no place for oil and gas companies, for corporate interests, for the “bottom line” but that they should be spaces for community voices, frontline voices.  I want to remind them that we are determined and that we have hope and that we aren’t giving up any time soon, not even close!

Click here to support Aleah's work with the CYD.

Atiya Jaffar

Age: 23

Toronto, Ontario - traditional land shared by many nations including the Wendat, Petun, Tobacco, Seneca, Haudenoshaunee confederacy, and Mississaugas of New Credit

As someone from a part of the world that has been profoundly and irreversibly impacted by climate change, Pakistan, I intimately understand the urgent need for action on climate change. I'm tired of sitting on the sidelines as world leaders repeatedly fail to action & look forward to going to Paris to exert some pressure on leaders in the Global North-- especially Canada

I am so excited about witnessing the increasing engagement of youth across the country that is really beginning to help shape a justice-based discourse around climate action. I had the honour of working to support the March for Jobs, Justice and the Climate in Toronto-- it was such an inspiring demonstration of solidarity between a diverse range of people and organizations!

Follow Atiya on Twitter at @atiyeahthoughts 

Ben Donato-Woodger

Age: 22 

Toronto, Ontario - traditional land shared by many nations including the Wendat, Petun, Tobacco, Seneca, Haudenoshaunee confederacy, and Mississaugas of New Credit

I’ve seen climate organizing take a hard intersectional turn on my campus and it’s long overdue. It’s beginning to shift from a purely scientific technological problem to an understanding of climate change through a justice lens. We’re having more conversations about how to make our spaces safe for women, racialized, indigenous and queer folks. We’re building more connections with labour and by bringing everyone on board (and working with long-standing leadership from frontline communities) to start the work towards a just transition.

Over the summer, I worked to support the We > Tar Sands mobilizations, and here’s why. We are greater than the tar sands because we are part of a growing movement for climate justice and they are shackled to a collapsing morally bankrupt industry. While divestment campaigns are growing at an eye-watering scale bringing more young people than ever before into the climate movement’s folds, tar sands corporations are struggling with low oil prices and resurgent land defense movements wherever they try to build pipelines. The climate movement is working with other movements making a movement of all movements, and their friends are jumping ship.

Follow Ben on Twitter at @benji_dw 


Bethany Hindmarsh

Age: 24 

Halifax, Nova Scotia - Mi’kmaq Territory

It’s hard to overstate the significance of this year for Canadian and international climate policy. Both the federal election in Canada this fall and the conference in Paris this winter are crucial opportunities to set a new agenda. The stakes could not be higher. We have to reject false solutions and to take the bold steps that are necessary to stop runaway climate change and mitigate environmental damage. The conference this December is the deadline for a legally binding and universal agreement on climate. The ‘universal’ part means that the intention is for all of the nations in the world to sign on (not just the wealthy countries that signed the Kyoto Protocol) to the legislation that they craft together. I’m grateful to be going to COP 21 as a youth delegate, because the more I study intergenerational climate ethics and political ecology, the more I understand that the negotiations in Paris are incomplete without the voices and interests of youth. It’s crucial that we hold Canadian climate policy negotiators to higher standards than they have set for themselves in the past.

Anyone who can vote or get involved with political action in Canada can work with their communities to prevent the Canadian federal government from subsidizing the fossil fuel industry. This October, we can use votes and voices and actions to tell federal leaders that climate-torching policies are both morally and financially bankrupt. Divestment campaigns across the country are telling churches and schools and municipalities that it’s time to revoke the social license given the industries whose business models rely on ecological destruction. The same is true on the federal level: we can revoke the license given to leaders who whose climate policies are destroying our future. The power to do that is already in our hands.

Follow Bethany on Twitter at @bthmrsh


Brenna Owen

Age: 22 

Toronto, Ontario - traditional land shared by many nations including the Wendat, Petun, Tobacco, Seneca, Haudenoshaunee confederacy, and Mississaugas of New Credit

2015, particularly this summer and fall, is shaping up to be particularly critical in the growth of the climate movement in Canada. I’m excited to organize around the upcoming federal election, demanding that the parties include ambitious climate action in their platforms and, later, their policies; I am also excited about this summer’s We > Tar Sands mobilization, which I already sense and hope is bringing new people into a diverse but united movement for justice and healthy, sustainable communities. Perhaps it’s just because I’m part of the climate organizing community in Canada, but I feel a palpable sense of urgency and determination this summer. More people across the country are awakening to the crisis a changing climate poses, and to the unjust reality frontline communities face. I’m excited to meet these newcomers, just like myself a few years ago!

I travelled to COP 20 in Lima last year because I wanted to be a part of a group that shows the Canadian public and the international community that Canadian youth will not stand for the current government’s profit-based, oil soaked agenda. I am going to Paris because I believe that this summer’s mobilization and changing climate movement will set a tone and present change-making opportunities amongst Canadians at the negotiations. I feel incredibly motivated, and excited for the CYD to build on our COP 20 foundations; we’ve got a seasoned and diverse team this year, and we will pointedly hold our (newly) elected representatives accountable for injustices and climate (in)action at home and abroad. I expect the energy in Paris to be incredible - an environment in which the CYD will thrive and rise to our own determined expectations.  

Follow Brenna on Twitter at @brennaowen


Bronwen Tucker

Age: 23

Toronto, Ontario - traditional land shared by many nations including the Wendat, Petun, Tobacco, Seneca, Haudenoshaunee confederacy, and Mississaugas of New Credit

I was really inspired to be a part of an action with the CYD and others at COP20 in Lima last yearcalling out fossil fuel company influences on climate policy-making.  Shell, Chevron, and the World Coal Association were holding a panel discrediting fossil fuel divestment campaigns and promoting false solutions like carbon capture & storage. We thought it was outrageous that they were given a platform to do so at UNFCCC negotiations, especially when the frontline communities most affected by the fossil fuel industry & climate change struggle to access the negotiations at all. We were able to highlight this injustice in a very high-profile way, holding a press conference and disrupting the event. I was very inspired by the speakers from frontline communities who fought their way into COP, and so fiercely called out these climate villains & the system that gives them so much sway in decision-making.

There’s a now well-known quote from a youth activist addressing negotiators during a speech at COP17 in Durban: “You have been negotiating all of my life.” Like many others, I came to the CYD wanting to channel my frustration at decades of inaction on climate by our government and others into something useful. More concretely, I was already working on fossil fuel divestment and anti-pipeline campaigns, and found out about the CYD through those projects. For me the CYD is as much about calling out the Canadian government’s climate negligence as it is about giving youth the tools and mindset to affect meaningful change on these issues. We were able to make good on these goals last year in Lima and I am really really excited to build on those efforts this year in Paris.

Follow Bronwen on Twitter at @bronwentucker

Diane Connors

Age: 26

Edmonton, Alberta - Treaty 6, Amiskwaci

I was drawn to the CYD after becoming aware of the kinds of creative actions the organization was part of for previous COP events, including bestowing Canada with the “Fossil of the Year” award multiple years in a row. I think this kind of creative action and reporting can help connect the general public to the reality of things as abstract as climate change and COP negotiations - and our role in these things as people who live on Turtle Island (Canada/North America). As a trained creative, I’ve been thinking for some time about making politically charged work about climate change; joining the CYD is proving a great opportunity to use that energy to engage people in new ways and push my work. I’m hoping to learn more about how to step up from awareness to action, how to build and mobilize community, and how to use my creative practice to support this movement.

To me, the most exciting thing about the climate movement right now is watching widespread support for climate action, and related movements like Idle No More, grow through mainstream society. Seeing the mobilization of thousands upon thousands of people from different walks of life come together with one voice is incredibly inspiring. Having a feeling of community with so many is a feeling like no other – it’s beautiful that something so important can bring us together in such meaningful ways. Building solidarity with one another is the only way we will become powerful enough to make the changes we are fighting and working for.

Follow Diane on Twitter at @Deematerialize


Erica Lee

Age: 25

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan - Treaty 6, Prairie Cree. 

Indigenous youth in Canada are leading the way for climate and social justice activism. When you grow up on the frontlines of the struggle, it's impossible to be idle. 

I've been so inspired to work with and witness Indigenous communities that sustain land-based resistance against big corporations and government, like the Dene trappers alliance in Northern Saskatchewan. It's so easy to feel removed from "the land", but it's imperative that we realize we're a part of nature if we want real climate justice.

Follow Erica on Twitter at @EricaVioletLee


Gabriel D'Astous

Age: 21

Gatineau, Quebec - Terres ancestrales Anishinaabe

Je me rends à Paris parce que le changement ne vient pas des élites, mais plutôt par les forces démocratiques républicaines desquelles j’espère faire partie avec les autres membres du CYD.

Sans contredit, la grève étudiante québécoise de 2012 puisqu’elle était animée par des valeurs démocratiques et par un désir de justice sociale. La grève était controllée par des assemblées générales dans les universités et les CÉGEPs. Il n’y avait pas de chef ou de leader, ainsi la décision

de poursuivre la grève, d’accepter, de refuser et de discuter d’offres gouvernementales, et toutes autres décisions étaient prises par les étudiant(e)s. Au final, nous avons fait tomber le gouvernement libéral provincial en participant à un mouvement guidé par des principes de démocratie directe qui avait espoir de redonner le pouvoir au peuple.


Jenna Gall 

Age: 23

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan - Treaty 6, Prairie Cree. 

I have always been passionate about youth involvement in high-level decision-making. No matter what level of decision-making it may be, I believe that the youth voice is a critical one to include, as we are the ones who will inherit the mistakes that are made today. I was still in high school when I became active in the climate change movement and the CYD was the first organization that inspired me to get involved. I joined the Home Team for COP 15, 16 and 17 and was actively engaged in the CYD’s programs here in Canada. My passion for the youth voice has only grown stronger and I am excited to be a part of the Canadian Youth Delegation to COP 21!

I am most excited about the little victories! No we haven’t stopped the expansion of the tar sands and we haven’t created a shift to entirely renewables, but the little victories are absolutely inspiring! From changes in government policy to changes in the minds of people closest to us, we are seeing change and it is really exciting. I think this is monumental year for the climate movement in Canada. As we move towards a federal election and we continue to gain traction, I believe that we will see change at an even larger scale this year.

Follow Jenna on Twitter at @JennaKorenGall 

Katie Perfitt

Age: 27

Halifax, Nova Scotia - Mi’kmaq Territory

Growing up in rural Ontario, and spending most of my childhood and teen years exploring the forests, rivers, and fields of the Ottawa Valley, I’ve learned to place my relationship to the natural world at the forefront.

Like many youth, I felt really frustrated and defeated until I began climate justice organizing. I got involved with Divest Dalhousie, a fossil fuel divestment campaign at Dalhousie University while I was taking my Master’s degree.  This led me to be involved in organizing Powershift Atlantic, which in turn  motivated me to take action during Nova Scotia’s provincial fracking review. Due to grassroots resistance displayed across the province, a legislated prohibition on fracking was established. While the fracking ban leaves something to be desired, my faith in community organizing and the power in the grassroots was locked in during that time.

Recently, I travelled to Red Head, New Brunswick for the ‘Walk to the End of the Line’. An 18 tank oil storage facility with the capacity to hold 7.8 million barrels of bitumen and a deep water marine terminal would be the ‘snakes head’ of the pipeline, and would make this community a sacrifice zone of Tar Sands expansion if Enbridge (and Irving) had its way. Instead, the local indigenous and non-indigenous settler community have banded together to ‘draw a line in the sand’; to demand that their inherent right to breathe unpolluted air and drink uncontaminated water is respected and to put an end to Tar Sands pipelines that threaten the survival of our planet.

I also attended COP20 in Paris last year, and learned so much from the incredible CYD team I travelled with. I can’t wait to see the heat that this years’ delegation will bring to COP21 in Paris!

Follow Katie on Twitter at @katieraep and Instagram at @katieraeperf


Kiki Wood

Age: 25

Halifax, Nova Scotia - Mi’kmaq Territory

This is a really exciting moment in time. Paris will be a way of mobilizing and acting together as a group that is new for me. I don’t think that real change will be made by these UN climate negotiations, but I see this as an integral point of intervention to galvanize the power of the youth climate justice movement and show the strength of the grassroots climate movement to affect change. I am also going to Paris to hold our Canadian government accountable. If we have a continued Conservative government, I hope to expose the destructive, and hypocritical things they are doing. If it is not a Conservative government, I hope to relentlessly push them to step up and throw off the reins the fossil fuel industry has on Canadian governance.

The CYCC is one of the most inspiring organizations I have been a part of. Everyone I have met that is involved in this organization over the past few years has been so badass. The organizers I met at Powershift Atlantic and after through the CYCC have had very diverse and interesting organizing experience, great analysis on climate justice and the climate crisis, and are inspired and creative individuals. Not to mention, how I have seen this community, support, encourage, uplift, agitate, educate and organize. I am proud to be part of the CYCC and excited to see what we will do together in the next year.

Follow Kiki on Twitter at @KikiNWood 

Lauren Latour

Age: 22

Sackville, New Brunswick - Wolastoq Territory

Without a doubt, the most inspiring action I’ve ever been a part of was the People’s Climate March in New York.  Being surrounded by over 400,000 other people who were all fighting for the same cause was one of the most invigorating, joyful, empowering experiences of my life so far.  It felt like for the first time in my activist career, we were finally being heard, finally being supported and respected by those not immediately in the community.  Taking part in the march gave me the drive I needed to get through a really tough year as a divestment organizer, and helped me and the group of activists I was with at the time really grow as a unit, and helped us understand just how important our activism can be.

I am so excited about the momentum that is finally building in the climate movement.  Climate change has been on the radar for decades now, and has experienced varying levels of public attention.  As the hour grows late, and our window of opportunity to act shrinks at an alarming rate, I’m finally starting to see widespread, meaningful action from groups across the world at all levels of political and socio-economic power.  The optimism, enthusiasm and tenacity displayed by so many is uplifting to say the least.  It’s a beautiful demonstration of the collective willpower of humanity, that even when hope can seem lost, and nihilism an easy response, people are doubling down, innovation is accelerating, and  where business as usual was paramount, care and attention is now being paid.  Momentum is building, and there’s a sort of electric hum in the air. I can feel that change is coming; it’s going to be soon, it’s going to be big, and it’s going to be exquisite.

Follow Lauren on Twitter at @LaurenLatour


Matt Hammer

Age: 23

Calgary, Alberta - Treaty 7 Territory 

People power inspires me. That's why I am proudest of my work with Divest UVic [the fossil fuel divestment campaign at the University of Victoria], why I spend so much time knocking on people's doors, why I try to focus on building community, and why I'm going to Paris. With DIvest UVic, we brought out more than 250 people to a meeting to get our student society to work for fossil fuel divestment. We packed the halls with excited, happy, energized people, and gathered afterward to talk about what was next. It was all about relationships, and the power we have, in all of the spaces we're a part of, to stand up and demand a different future. What working with Divest UVic showed me is that us 'young folks' are ready to stand up, and we can get outraged about more than Game of Thrones.

That is why I'm going to Paris. The Paris Summit is a moment to ask our peers to step up, to be counted, and to refuse to suffer the wholesale auctioning of our future to the fossil fuel companies. I'm really excited to use Paris to fan the flames of the growing grassroots youth climate justice movement across this country. It's an opportunity to tell powerful stories about the importance of justice and solidarity with frontline and indigenous communities. It’s an opportunity to build bridges to global movements, and to local ones - to justice movements from the global south and to people building a sustainable economy here at home. Paris is about strengthening an already powerful movement, and I'm going because I want to try to make that happen. I'd love to get in touch with other folks, especially in Calgary, who share this vision of a growing movement.

Follow Matt on Twitter at @VerdantMatt


Nimra Amjad

Age: 29

Calgary, Alberta - Treaty 7 Territory 

My passion for getting youth involved in policy and decision-making brought me to the CYD. When I was 15 years old, in 2001, I attended the peace protests in Parliament Square, London (UK).  An incredible diversity of groups showed up and formed a coalition that turned into a movement in the months to follow: over 200,000 people saying war was not the answer. In a similar way, climate change will continue to affect our generation and it is our responsibility to ensure governments are committing to smart, sustainable climate policy.

Right now, the push for solutions in the climate movement excites me, along with the collaborative nature being shown by the diversity of allies. People now understand that we are all in this together; the climate movement is a collective of movements. In Canada in particular, climate justices is gaining more visibility on political platforms: both people and businesses want to see governments respond to the climate crisis through better policy and democracy.

I’m going to Paris to show that Alberta’s youth want a sustainable, climate-resilient future too just like youth around the world. I’m going to Paris to learn from other young climate delegates from across the world, and to put pressure on our government to commit to appropriate, reasonable climate targets. I’m going to Paris to learn and to work with an amazing team that is the Canadian delegation to COP 21.

Follow Nimra on Twitter at @nimraar

Click here to support Nimra's work with the CYD


Sophie Harrison

Age: 20

Vancouver, BC - Coast Salish Territories

The first Conference of the Parties of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change took place five months after I was born. When I was 15, I watched our global leaders fail to come to an agreement at COP 15 in Copenhagen, and I felt despair in the face of the climate crisis for the first time. This fall, just after my 21st birthday, I will be attending COP 21 as one member of a generation that can literally say to our world leaders, “you have been negotiating all my life.”

I am going to Paris to hold my government accountable to the urgency of this crisis they have ignored for far too long. Because growing up, watching year after year as the Canadian government stalled and derailed international negotiations, I felt more hopeful knowing the Canadian Youth Delegation was at the conferences representing a better vision for Canada. At COP 21, I look forward to holding our government accountable to an agenda of deep cuts in Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, global leadership that does not turn our backs on those most vulnerable to climate devastation worldwide, and a just transition towards a clean energy economy.

When I was in high school, my friends and I got kicked out of a shopping mall for singing climate change themed Christmas carols. Seriously. We were so inspired by that action that we launched a multi-year series of climate change youth flash mobs. Our two biggest hits were “Climate change is coming to town” (to the tune of “Santa Clause is coming to town) and “Climate change sucks” (to the tune of jingle bell rock).

I’ve participated is so many powerful actions and campaigns since, but I still think back to those flash mobs as pivotal for me as an organizer. Witnessing my high school network of neighbours, classmates, soccer players, and theatre geeks come together for a common cause was incredible. It opened my eyes to the potential of community building as a tool for social change.

Follow Sophie on Twitter at @sophiehh14

Click here to support Sophie's work with the CYD

Stephen Thomas

Age: 25

Halifax, Nova Scotia - Mi’kmaq Territory

We are in an extremely exciting time in the climate movement, right now. We are seeing a convergence of movements that truly has the power to tear down the old, and build up the new.

What’s most exciting for me is bearing witness to and taking part in the first steps toward a Just Transition from our current system to the better world that we all know we deserve – including a truly democratized, decentralized, diversified and decarbonized energy future.

I see this unfolding with every community-owned renewable project coming online, with every university or pension fund divested, with every coal plant shutting its doors for good, and with every fight to ensure people have a say in the way their energy systems and economies are structured. These are the first steps, but they’re truly exciting leaps toward this just transition.

Our generation has an unprecedented opportunity to see and understand all of the injustices inherent in our current social and economic systems. Our generation does not have the luxury of half-measures and backsliding negotiations as we work to ensure a livable planet for ourselves and for future generations.

I believe that our generation is the first to truly understand that no one is coming to save us, and to begin to rise to the occasion of saving ourselves.

It is the work of CYD at COP21 to report on negotiations at COP21, to influence those negotiations and exemplify their failings. However, I also believe it is the work of the CYD to amplify the climate movement among youth in Canada and worldwide to mutually inspire and support one another to do the work necessary to build a better world.

I feel it’s important to bring this reasoning, this emotion and this urgency to the table as partial representatives of Canadian youth, and of future generations. Youth have been fighting for decades for action and have made it clear that we deserve better - it is our time, now, to demand better.

Follow Stephen on Twitter at @StephenJWT

Torrance Coste

Age: 26

Victoria, BC - Coast Salish Territories

I grew up on Canada’s west coast, and I’m already seeing the impacts of climate change in the places I connect with most deeply. Now working as a campaigner with the non-profit Wilderness Committee, I’m in constant contact with coastal communities and First Nations working to fight off unsustainable developments and create resiliency in an uncertain future. The opportunity to share these stories with, and then to learn from, other young climate activists from across the country and the planet is what drew me to join the CYD.

One way or another, COP21 is going to be a defining moment for our generation. I want to attend and do everything I can to challenge Canada’s long-held status as an international climate pariah. The ability to attend a climate conference in Paris is a tremendous privilege – recognizing my own status as a white activist from a wealthy nation and working to center the voices and struggles of marginalized peoples will be a main goal for me. Climate justice and social justice aren’t mutually exclusive, so I’ll work with my fellow CYD members to frame climate action as a global responsibility and highlight how bright and equitable a fossil fuel free future can be, and how we can only get there together. The urgency of climate change couldn’t be greater – but neither could my conviction that we can do this: at home in our communities and on the world stage at events like COP21

Follow Torrance on Twitter at @TorranceCoste