On February 10, 2020, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Jonathan Wilkinson, announced $200,000 in funding through the federal government’s Climate Action Fund to the Youth Climate Lab. This one-of-a-kind program was developed by Youth Climate Lab in partnership with the Gwich’in Tribal Council and Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation.
“When it comes to climate change, young people know that the stakes are high and they are calling on governments around the world to rise to the challenge,” said Wilkinson. “Initiatives like FutureXChange are a great example of how youth are leaders in the fight against climate change and how they are using passion and energy to build a more prosperous future for all. As we aim for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, our Government continues to work toward increased ambitions to ensure a cleaner, more prosperous future for our kids and our grandkids.”
This funding will support the creation of the FutureXChange program designed to equip fifteen young Canadians with tools to create their own climate projects around traditional knowledge and climate policy. Of the 15 young participants, half have been selected from Gwich’in communities and the other half from southern Canada. These young adults have now dispersed across the country in their role as “Community Activators” to build local climate projects in their communities and raise awareness about climate change through digital outreach, community workshops, and conferences. The project is designed to reach more than 150,000 Canadians.
The Climate Action Fund provides up to $3 million annually to support projects delivered by students, youth, Indigenous peoples and organizations, not-for-profit organizations, small and medium-sized businesses, and research and educational institutions that raise awareness of climate change and encourage others to take meaningful climate action.
“Guided by the Ni’inlii Declaration, the Gwich’in Tribal Council will continue to inform, educate and equip young Indigenous people to be leaders in climate action,” said Gwich’in Tribal Council Grand Chief/Vice President Jordan Peterson. “FutureXChange has created a strong network of young Gwich’in and southern youth who will continue to engage their communities to share the knowledge they’ve gained from the elders and knowledge holders of our communities.”
Dominique Souris, executive director of Youth Climate Lab concurs: “The path to a net-zero 2050 must be grounded in traditional knowledge and powered by youth. FutureXChange cultivates space and resources for Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth from all corners of Canada to learn, share their skills and knowledge, and activate their communities to safeguard our collective future.”
A total of 19 projects were selected for funding from the 2019–20 Climate Action Fund intake.
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Featured image from Government of Canada: Minister Jonathan Wilkinson at Globe 2020 Vancouver, British Columbia.