Introducing: The Canadian Youth Delegation to COP22

Jennifer Deol

jennifer.pngJennifer is new to the climate justice movement, but has been working behind the scenes for well respected ENGO’s for several years connecting people to the natural world through community outreach and digital media. Jennifer was first introduced to climate justice in high school, where she was appalled to learn that our political leaders were giving the green light to fossil fuel moguls to explore the Arctic for oil and gas, a place with unique ecosystems and Indigenous peoples of the arctic that depend on the land for their livelihood, and even more appalled to learn this narrative exists in other parts of the world.

Being from a traditional South Asian heritage, Jennifer always saw herself as an academic over an activist, but soon after graduating from the University of British Columbia she worked on a number of “glocal” grassroots campaigns that focused on connecting diverse voices, particularly voices of colour, to the climate change movement. With a proven track record to mobilize people to action, Jennifer is both excited and honoured to bring her expertise in cross-cultural climate change communication to Marrakesh for COP22 and continue to be an advocate for a just, safe and livable future for all.

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Christa Croos

Christa.pngI’m an immigrant who is passionate about environmental advocacy and strives to impassion others to feel the same in all aspects of my life. As someone whose home country, Sri Lanka, is at great risk due to climate change, it’s impossible to stand by and watch as our elected representatives and global leaders continue to compromise the health of our planet year after year. I’m currently completing my final year at UofT, double majoring in Chemistry and Environmental Science. 

I’ve been involved in environmental advocacy work both in my educational and professional life, from the Divest Fossil Fuels campaign at UofT to working in Ottawa at Environment Canada on the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory. Attending sit-ins and marches and working with other people of various identities (specifically Indigenous, racialized and queer folks) has demonstrated to me how the richness in our collective experiences and knowledge can lead to more inclusive progress and I count those among the most motivational and inspiring experiences of my life. I hope to count COP22 among those and use my voice to join the chorus calling for climate justice.

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Maya Menzes

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

Maya Menezes is a professional non-profit campaigner, fundraiser and organizer that has been working in the field for almost 7 years. She studied race gender and class oppression with a double major in environmental studies at the University of Toronto. She has worked on Divestment, environmental justice organizing, freelance reporting on Indigenous solidarity issues and manages a number of community groups in Toronto dedicated to justice base advocacy and organizing.  Maya believes that a climate movement that does not center the voices of Indigenous Black and POC communities is one that is doomed to fail, and strives in all aspects of her work, study and advocacy to fight for the voices that have always been there, but are not always heard.

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Gab D'astous

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Gabriel D’Astous was a local organizer of the 2012 student strike, which led him to hone his organizing skills during the 9 week-strike. He was a lead organizer of a student movement at UBC in 2015 which saw an apolitical campus engage in protests, sit-ins and direct action.

Last year, Gab was a member of the Canadian Youth Delegation at COP21 in Paris and is returning this year to pressure the Canadian government to respect its promises to uphold the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

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Sam Harrison

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Sam Harrison is third year undergraduate in the Engineering Science program at the University of Toronto, pursuing a specialization in energy systems.

In 2012, Sam was in grade 11 when he became director of the Vancouver organization Kids for Climate Action. K4CA organized young Canadians not old enough to vote, but whose generation would be the first to bear many of the dire impacts of climate change. With more than 2000 supporters, they organized protests, lobby meetings with elected officials, and more, gaining considerable provincial news coverage.

Upon finishing high school, he was communications coordinator of the U of T fossil fuel divestment campaign, an initiative which gained national media attention when the University’s advisory committee publicly recommended divestment. Prior to the 2015 federal election, he worked as community organizer for the Dogwood Initiative, supporting volunteer teams in a Vancouver swing riding.

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Tina Oh

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Raised on Treaty 6 land (Edmonton, Alberta), Tina now resides in unsurrendered and unceded Mi’kmaq territory in rural New Brunswick. She is in her third year majoring in Philosophy, Political Science, and Economics, with a Canadian Studies minor on environmental issues at Mount Allison University. Tina is on the Board of Directors for EOS Eco-Energy, a non-profit organization that tackles climate change in rural settings with local solutions. Tina is also the Vice-President External Affairs for the Mount Allison Students’ Union; and Vice-Chair for the New Brunswick Student Alliance (NBSA) – representing over 12,000 students across New Brunswick.

Amongst student advocacy and lobbying, Tina is passionate about the divestment movement that is making disturbance across post-secondary institutions in Canada. You can also find her wandering farmer’s markets and spreading the good word of sustainable, local foods.

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Kell Gerlings

 kell.pngKell is a queer, non-binary trans person dedicated to social justice and making this world suck less through radical empathy, solidarity and story-telling. They received a BA from UBC in political science and gender, race, sexuality and social justice, with particular interest in accessible education, gender and social inequalities, and youth empowerment. Kell is a spoken word poet and youth activist not afraid of a microphone or hierarchies. They have spent their last 5 years on unceded Coast Salish territories facilitating workshops on queer identity and politics, organizing for local feminist anti-violence groups, and working against gentrification in Vancouver's downtown eastside. They enjoy smashing binaries, the patriarchy, and white supremacy, as well as continuing to self-educate through listening, listening, listening.

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Sadie Phoenix-Lavoie


sadie.pngSadie-Phoenix Lavoie is a 22 year old student at the University of Winnipeg, originally from Sagkeeng First Nation, working towards a 4yr BA in Indigenous Studies and minor in Political Science. Formerly she was the Co-President for the UW Aboriginal Student Council, as well former Aboriginal Student Commissioner for the Canadian Federation of Students MB Chapter. She is currently the Vice-President of External Affairs on the University of Winnipeg Students' Association. Sadie-Phoenix is also a co-founder of the Winnipeg based, Red Rising Magazine, which gives Indigenous youth a platform to share their perspectives and experiences to a broad audience without censorship.

Sadie-Phoenix has worked on numerous initiatives including the Indigenous Course Requirement that is now being implemented this fall term at the University of Winnipeg, which ensures every undergraduate student must take one course from a range of approved courses that is majority Indigenous perspective in areas of culture, language, history, contemporary issues, and ways of knowing. 

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Claris Figueira


Claris.pngClaris Figueira grew up in Vancouver on the unceded territories of Coast Salish peoples: mice:pkʷətxʷiləm (Tsleil-Waututh), Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations.

Her involvement in the climate and environmental justice movement is rooted in a deep love for the Pacific Northwest and the beings who inhabit these lands and waters. After studying philosophy and environmental sustainability in Halifax she returned home last year to join the fight against export pipelines and fossil fuel projects that threaten the West coast. At COP22 she hopes to hold the Canadian government accountable to the commitments they made in Paris: which means no new fossil fuel infrastructure! She is a writer, musician and poet, and works to connect art and activism as a way to tell powerful stories and move people to action.

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Daniela Marin

daniela.pngI am a young mestiza, immigrant, feminist born and raised in El Salvador. I have lived in Turtle Island since 2007, I first moved here as a student and then stayed as an immigrant worker. I currently work as Forum Logistics Associate at the Association for Women’s Right in Development (AWID).

I am inspired by the power of people, the resilience of communities and the commitment and care of all those defending their territories, their people and the generations to come. I am passionate about grassroots work and believe that is crucial to bridge gaps amongst those in the frontlines, allies and those making decisions. This is why I believe that intersectional, people led spaces are critical in creating new discourses and work that will result in change that is multidimensional and sustainable.

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