On Saturday February 4th and Sunday February 5th, thirteen high school students from across the Greater Toronto Area came together at York University for the Youth, Climate Change, and Jobs Institute hosted by the Work in a Warming World (W3). The two-day Institute consisted of four half-day workshops created and facilitated by York University Professors Dr. Steven Tufts and Dr. Dawn Bazely and Matthew Carroll.
The first workshop titled Climate Science 101 provided students with a foundation of the evidence of climate change and analyzed the main climate change denial arguments using media from a variety of sources and perspectives. Professor Dawn Bazely and Matt Carroll addressed common questions such as how do we know the climate is really changing and how does peer reviewed science proceed in a doubtful political climate?
The second workshop titled Greening Workplaces began by introducing students to the concepts of the accumulation of wealth in the capitalist economic system. Professor Steven Tufts then led a discussion examining the term ‘green jobs’ and analyzed what it could look like to green all workplaces by facilitating a small-group exercise drawing on the work experience of the participants.
The third workshop invited students to critically analyze a variety of perspectives on climate change including various levels of climate deniers and responders to the climate crisis. In small groups students simulated a family gathering where each member at the table represented a different perspective and began to think not only about why certain stakeholders hold certain values on climate change, but how to begin to talking constructively about moving forward. This workshop concluded with the students discussing and crafting a vision and declaration of specific concerns for Youth, Climate Change, and Jobs for the future (view the Young Green Workers Charter).
The fourth and final workshop was a panel session of guest speakers on the topic of climate change and work. Students heard from accomplished labour activist Winnie Ng, youth volunteer coordinator Hannah McKinnon, doctoral candidate James Nugent and Greenpeace activist Steve Shallhorn on their views and experience working for progressive social and environmental change. Students were then invited to ask questions and dialogue with the panelists.
The institute concluded with a certificate ceremony and celebration of the accomplishments of the students involved.
To see the video of this this event please utilize the link provided below