YouCAN: Educating students on taking climate action today

Climate change is a global issue, its effects are felt at regional, provincial and community levels. Clean’s Education and Engagement team continually collaborates with teachers to help students become climate action conscious citizens. This year, the team was proud to work on the creation of a new program targeted at young Atlantic Canadians called Youth Climate Action Now, or ‘YouCAN’. 

This new and collaborative initiative, between the Clean Foundation and current partner organizations, the Gaia Foundation and The Conservation Corps Newfoundland and Labrador (CCNL), will engage with youth and educators across the Atlantic provinces with the goals of improving climate awareness and understanding of personal mitigation efforts, supporting teachers across disciplines to educate on climate science, and empowering youth to take action in their lives and communities.  

“It’s imperative for the next generation of Canadians to understand the science and solutions behind the global challenge of climate change as it will greatly affect them in their lifetime,” said Shannon Harding, Director, Education and Engagement, Clean Foundation. 

Empowering youth

 YouCAN’s strength is allowing the Atlantic provinces to highlight local issues with local solutions while connecting youth with opportunities to get involved in their communities. Over the projects span, professional learning will be provided to 2,000 teachers and community educators across the Atlantic provinces. Through YouCAN, 70,000 youth will become engaged and empowered to lead hundreds of climate actions to address climate change in their communities.  

YouCAN’s science-based foundation will equip youth with the knowledge and tools to create change themselves.  

“Youth participating in the program will become climate-literate citizens, become aware of green career pathways, and contribute to Canada’s goal of net-Zero GHG emissions by 2050,” said Shannon. “With this invaluable information and experience, youth will receive the guidance to be stewards in their communities.”   

Understanding the impacts of climate change within Indigenous Nations 

The collaborative regional approach set out by YouCAN will allow for local issues and local solutions to be highlighted, creating momentum across the Atlantic Provinces.  

“Through YouCAN, opportunities will be created for meaningful relations with Indigenous Nations,” said Shannon. “Leading to the incorporation of relevant and culturally appropriate Indigenous ways of knowing and showing respect for regional differences between cultures.” 

A five-year investment 

YouCAN would not have been possible without the tremendous support from the Government of Canada and the Department of Environment and Climate Change and their invest of more than four million into project.  Over five years Clean will lead the YouCAN partnership alongside of environment organizations such as the Gaia Foundation, The Conservation Corps Newfoundland and Labrador (CCNL) and a partner from PEI, to be engaged by March, 2022.  

Getting trained  

Education for YouCAN teachers and informal educators will begin in the summer of 2021 for those in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland.  

Don’t miss the opportunity to get involved! For more information about YouCAN visit: 

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