For Youth, by YouthPowerShift: Young and Rising has been conceptualized and coordinated by a team of dedicated youth climate activists located across Canada. Working in a volunteer capacity, our Organizing Team, Steering Committee and volunteers have worked around the clock to bring PowerShift: Young and Rising to life. Together, we are dedicated to providing youth with the skills and resources they need to address the climate crisis, and protect our shared environment for generations to come.
Sophie Birks, Convergence CoordinatorSophie recently graduated from McGill University in Environmental Science, focusing on environmental racism and environmental impacts on health. Community organizing and environmental activism have paralleled her studies, largely through the organization of benefit concerts supporting Indigenous-led resistances against resource extraction on Turtle Island.
Shannon Chief, Advisor
From the Anishnabe Nation of the Ottawa River Watershed (Algonquin) Wolf clans are known for good memory in carrying indigenous knowledge. Shannon has been involved with the people’s intent to protect the land, animals and traditional way of life with the land. From land defending, to restoring Indigenous Governance, to building a Land Based Curriculum, to Anishnabe Odinewin Camps and taking part in Climate Change discussions in her homelands. Shannon also led and guided a unified written Women’s Declaration at Indigenous Women Against Extractivisim in 2018. Shannon remains loyal to work with the traditional Elders of the Land and offers guidance in shaping PowerShift: Young and Rising.
Akira De Carlos, Lead, Volunteers
Akira double majors in Environmental Science and Biochemistry at Concordia University. Her love for the environment extends beyond the classroom as she does a lot of work with BIPOC women to get them involved in the climate justice discussion. She is also the head of sustainability at her student union.
Mary Lovell, Co-Lead, OutreachMary is an organizer and activist working against pipelines and corporations in Vancouver and the Pacific Northwest. She is interested in direct action, addressing and dismantling various forms of oppression, and is really interested in the ways that a climate justice movement can tackle environmental racism and capitalism globally. She works with Greenpeace Canada and Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition.
Brenden Campbell, Co-Lead, Outreach
Brendan is of Cree, Métis, French and Scottish ancestry and was born in Regina, Treaty 4 territory and raised between Regina and Saskatoon, Treaty 6 territory. He currently lives on Michi Saagiig (Missisauga) Anishinaabeg territory, where he attends Trent University and studies Indigenous Environmental Studies. In the work he does, he constantly seeks to centre frontline indigenous land defenders. Making space for indigenous youth to be equipped to use their voice is also incredibly important to him.
Nayeli Jimenez, Co-Lead, Art & CultureNayeli is originally from Mexico, and works as a graphic designer and art director in Vancouver, BC. She has been involved in climate justice organizing since 2014, mainly working on campaigns against pipelines and tar sands expansion. She is currently the art director at Greystone Books, where she melds her twin passions for editorial design and social and environmental justice.
Shady Hafez, Co-Lead, Art & Culture
Shady Hafez is an Algonquin Syrian member of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg. Shady currently resides in Kitigan Zibi and is employed as the community’s Mental Wellness Team Coordinator. Part of this work includes utilizing land based programming and cultural revitalization as tools towards enhanced wellness in his community.
Vanessa Turpin, Co-Lead, Digital Communications
Vanessa has 5 years of experience working in digital marketing and communications. Since completing her degree in Environmental Studies at York University, she has channeled her passion and skills towards building social movements digitally. Vanessa has worked for organizations including Ecology Ottawa, Friends of the Earth, and Oxfam. She continues to remain active in the fight for climate justice, currently living in TkaRonto.
Louis Sobol, Co-Lead, Digital Communications
Louis is a Political Science student at Mount Allison University hailing from the territory of the Dish With One Spoon wampum. He became committed to the climate justice movement by watching bird numbers decline and his involvement in East Coast divestment movements. He aims to energize “fellow kids” with digital media.
Vi Bui, Co-Lead, Logistics
Vi is originally from Vietnam, and currently lives in Ottawa. She came into the climate movement from a scientific background after seeing scientists’ warning about the climate crisis routinely ignored by decision makers. Vi organizes locally with Ecology Ottawa.
Lisa Gunn, Co-Lead, Logistics
Lisa came to climate activism through her education rooted in sustainable community development, decolonization, and feminism. She recently finished her M.A. at the University of Ottawa and wrote her thesis on the role of gender in social movement resistance to the Energy East pipeline.
Kate Hodgson, Co-Lead, Programming
Kate is a settler born and raised on the unceded homelands of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ speaking xwmǝƟkwǝyʼəm People in what is now known as Vancouver. Kate came into climate activism in response to the Northern Gateway pipeline, and, most recently, organizes with UBC’s Fossil Fuel Divestment campaign. She is currently a student at the University of British Columbia, completing her BA in First Nations & Indigenous Studies.
Tina Yeonju Oh, Steering Committee MemberTina is a first-generation Korean immigrant that grew up in amiskwacîwâskahikan (Edmonton, Alberta) in a working-class family. She became involved in intersectional organizing through the student and fossil fuel divestment movements across Mi’kma’ki (New Brunswick & Nova Scotia). She is a graduate student at Dalhousie University researching displacement & dispossession as a result of climate change, migration, & settler-colonialism. Tina is a delegate to this year’s United Nations’ climate change conference (COP24) in Katowice, Poland, and previously to COP 22 and 23.
Andrea Bastien, Steering Committee Member
Andrea Bastien is Otter Clan from Siksika (Kainai, Piikuni), Anishinaabe and Nehiyaw nations. She is in operations at Indigenous Climate Action and is an artist who utilizes the mediums of music, dance, and crafts.
Nhattan Nguyen, Steering Committee Member
Nhattan grew up in the traditional lands of the Kanienke’haka Mohawk Nation (Montreal) and now works on unceded Algonquin Territory in Ottawa as the Operations and Outreach Coordinator with Climate Action Network Canada. Passionate about movement building, he has been a digital organizer since 2013 facilitating engagement of young people and civil society in global governance negotiations at the UN on climate and development issues.
Yolanda Clatworthy, Steering Committee MemberYolanda grew up on an organic farm on unceded Algonquin territory, and grew into activism confronting pipelines and LNG in the northwest. She has supported social and environmental justice across six continents, most recently spearheading divestment at Oxford. Yolanda is passionate about building connections and a common narrative and believes that the stories we tell ourselves matter. She is thrilled to be a part of bringing youth together to assert their right to a livable future and to articulate and catalyze a new way forward for the climate justice movement.
Katie Perfitt, Steering Committee Member
Katie was raised in working class family the Ottawa Valley on unceded Algonquin Territory. She is a community organizer who first got involved with the climate movement during her time in Halifax / K’jipuktuk with Divest Dal – a fossil fuel divestment campaign at Dalhousie University. Since then she’s been involved in anti-fracking and anti-pipeline work across Turtle Island, and now supports the participation of young people in the fight to keep fossil fuels in the ground with 350.org.
Maya Menezes, Steering Committee Member
Maya is the daughter of migrants and refugees from India and Pakistan- she grew up in the Dish with One Spoon, Toronto. She is the Senior Manager of Development at The Leap, a core organizer with No One Is Illegal Toronto, a member Board of Directors with Web of Change, a delegate to this year’s UNFCCC COP24 summit in Katowice, Poland and an alum of the University of Toronto having studied Environmental Science and Equity Studies in race, class and gender. She is a climate, refugee and migrant justice organizer, professional fundraiser and full-time hell raiser.
Jennifer Deol, Steering Committee Member
Jennifer is a Sikh diaspora migrant who was raised on her family orchard in the Okanagan Valley on the unceded territory of the Syilx (Okanagan) Peoples. She got involved with the climate movement during the Indigenous-led resistance against the Trans Mountain Pipeline back 2015. Since then, she has fiercely advocated for the inclusion of BIPOC voices in climate spaces and has supported the frontlines in the climate movement from behind both locally and internationally at the UNFCCC.
Maryel Sparks-Cardinal, Steering Committee MemberMaryel is Cree-Métis who grew up in Treaty 6 territory and now currently lives on Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam and Squamish territories (Vancouver BC). Maryel has experience in communications, as a videographer, photographer, policy analyst, filmmaker, and Indigenous youth worker. Maryel brings a diverse and well-rounded eye to her work at Indigenous Climate Action.
Lauren Latour, Organizing Team
Lauren was born and raised on the land of the Anishinaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Attawandaron, and Wendat peoples, in what is commonly known as London, Ontario. A graduate of Environmental Studies and Political Science at Mount Allison University in Mi’kma’ki (New Brunswick) Lauren first became involved in climate justice organizing through campus fossil fuel divestment campaigning. A past delegate to COP 21 and 22 with the CYD, Lauren currently resides in Ottawa, on unceded Algonquin territory, as a climate justice organizer.