CYD Durban (’11)

Chris Bisson
Policy and Research Team

Coming from a military family, Chris was born in Ottawa but raised around the world.  He has lived in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Belgium and Italy, but since finishing highschool in Goose Bay, NL, he calls Labrador his home.  Chris has been living in Ottawa since 2005 where he completed a B.A. Hon in Geography with a minor in Economics at Carleton University.  Currently he is an M.A. candidate in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Carleton University where he is undertaking research into the political ecology of conservation policy surrounding the declining George River Caribou Herd in Labrador and Northern Quebec.  Chris is also an active organizer and advocate of local food sovereignty and ecological justice movements. Currently he is on the board of directors for Ontario Public Interest Research Group – Carleton, and occasionally writes and photographs for the student newspaper, The Leveller. He is working towards his Permaculture Design Certification and hopes to continue organizing sustainable urban food systems.  Next to his fiancé Kim and ecological justice, Chris’s greatest passion is his gardens, and can be frequently seen starting new ones all over downtown Ottawa “with or without permission”.  At the very bottom of his heart Chris is a complete economics and policy nerd and looks forward to pouring over briefing notes and position papers as part of the policy and research team. Follow him on twitter @echologik.

Malkolm Boothroyd
Actions and Strategy Team

Malkolm Boothroyd is a 19 year old from Whitehorse, Yukon. He took up activism at age 8, dressing up as a caribou calf and joining a rally outside BP’s London shareholder meeting to protest oil companies efforts to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Since then he has found creative ways to combine activism with his love of the outdoors. When he was 15 Malkolm and his parents cycled from the Yukon to Florida, raising money for bird conservation and raising awareness about climate change. When he was 17 he joined Pedal for the Planet, cycling from Whitehorse to Ottawa to urge Canadian politicians to take climate change seriously. Last fall Malkolm cycled from Alaska to Washington DC as part of the Solutions Revolution bike tour/ documentary. They visited communities across the United States and filmed the ways citizens were finding solutions to climate change –everything from Chicagoans transforming an abandoned meat processing plant into a vertical farm to a Montanan scientist developing biofuels from fungus cells. Malkolm ended his journey in Cancun for COP 16. Durban will be Malkolm’s second time with the Canadian Youth Delegation; he plans to travel to South Africa via train and container ship.

Matthew Chisholm
Policy and Research Team

A native of Nova Scotia, Matthew recently graduated from St. Francis Xavier University ’10 with a BA in Political Science and International Development. Born in Vancouver, BC, Matthew has lived on two of the three coasts in Canada. While at StFX, Matthew took an interest in many facets of policy and climate change. It was a term paper on the Canadian business and Kyoto that sparked Matthew’s interest on the subject of politics of climate change and he has not looked back. In 2009, as Coady Youth Associate in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, Matthew spent 4-months working with Families South Africa on numerous human rights projects. In March of 2010, Matthew received the ECO Canada Student Ambassador Award for environmental research (The Local Low-Carbon Economy). Matthew has also represented the Atlantic region at the Canadian Water Innovation Lab 2010 in Exshaw, AB. His research interests are the influence of business on national and international climate/environmental policy, community-based approached to development, adaptive governance, and decentralized power generation. He also loves the outdoors and being active. Matthew is pumped for his return to the rainbow nation with what looks to be a very talented group for COP-17 in Durban! Follow him on twitter @MatthewChisholm.

Toby Davine
Media and Communications Team

A Toronto native, Toby recently graduated from McGill University with a B.A. Hon in International Development Studies and Environmental Studies. Over the past few years, she has been actively involved in the environmental community at McGill and in Montreal, serving as the Student Society’s Environment Commissioner to promote and facilitate the work of over 30 environmental groups on campus, as well as several local environmental organizations. Toby’s first involvement with the climate movement came in 2009 as one of the Quebec recruitment coordinators for PowerShift Canada. In addition to her commitment to social and environmental justice at home, she is particularly interested in the potential role that climate change adaptation policy can play in building international peace and cooperation. Toby is thrilled to be able to work with the incredibly diverse and accomplished Canadian Youth Delegation!

Brigette DePape
Policy and Research Team

Born in Winnipeg, Brigette now lives in Ottawa where she recently completed a degree in International Development and Globalization. Brigette learned that if we really want to address the root causes of poverty and climate change, what we need is not ‘development’, but climate justice. Hence, she became involved in a number of climate justice initiatives, including the Mining Justice Ottawa collective. Brigette sees that the change we need will not come from a broken political system, but from creative direct actions, and from social movements led by directly impacted communities and Indigenous Peoples. Her experience in policy research includes interning with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), writing reports for Model United Nations simulations, conducting field research in Bolivia, and utilizing computer-based software to code research for a Professor’s book. She is committed to working from the grassroots, and was a participant at the World Social Forum in Dakar, as well as a program coordinator for a locally-run youth center in Bosnia. She is excited to join CYD and to work with young people across Canada and the globe towards more just and sustainable communities.

Cameron Fenton                                                                                                                                                                        
CYCC National Director

Born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Cameron grew up splitting time between the rocky mountains and the northern prairies. He developed a passion for do it yourself organizing as a teenager in the Edmonton music scene, starting both a promotion company and record label and connecting music with grassroots movements for social and environmental justice. After moving to Montreal to study at Concordia University Cameron became increasingly involved in climate organizing, and has since been involved in numerous initiatives with the CYCC and other organizations. He is also an avid supporter of independent media, having worked as a journalist and editor for a number of independent papers and magazines in Canada. Cam is also a founding member of Climate Justice Montreal and an action and strategy trainer, and is dedicated to empowering youth to become the movement we need to ensure a safe, just and clean future for our generation and those that will follow us. Follow him on twitter @CamFenton.

Sonia Grant
Actions and Strategy Team

I was born in raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where I currently study International Development at Dalhousie University. As a Maritimer, the ocean is an important part of my life. I enjoy hiking and swimming along our beautiful coast, and being out on the water. I’m involved in activism on the Dal campus and in my community. I’m particularly active around food sovereignty and migrant justice issues. I helped start the Loaded Ladle, Dalhousie’s first student-run food cooperative, and am a part of No One Is Illegal-Halifax. Outside of school and the organizing world, I love to play music, to practice yoga, to garden, to cook and bake, to read critical theory, to drink tea, and to bike around the city with friends in the summer. I’m passionate about climate justice, and am increasingly frustrated by the Canadian government’s serious lack of action in working towards it. I’m thrilled to be part of the CYCC and the CYD-Durban, and am looking forward to taking action with youth from across the country and across the world to tackle the climate crisis.

Crystel Hajjar
Media and Communications Team

In 2005, after living in Lebanon for over ten years, Crystel moved back to her birthplace, Ottawa, where she attended the University of Ottawa. Crystel completed a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Political Science in 2009. Currently, she is involved with the CYCC, organising actions in the lead to Durban, as well as local community based activism, before attending journalism school in September. Crystel has been an active organiser in the climate movement since 2006. As a founding member of the CYCC – Ottawa chapter, and Climate Justice Ottawa, and an organiser in Powershift 09, she has participated in key events and witnessed multiple defeats and victories of the movement. Crystel believes in grassroots organising as the effective strategy to achieve ecological justice and stand up against other injustices. While mostly focusing on environmental activism, Crystel is also a feminist and an anti-war activist and has been actively trying to connect with other movements and learn about the interlinkages and similarities. She has been on the board of directors of the Ontario Public Interest Research Group – Ottawa for few years working with the community on multiple issues. She is extremely excited to go to Durban and is looking forward to working with the team.


James Hutt
Actions and Strategy Team

James studies environmental studies, international development, and Spanish at Dalhousie in Halifax. He grew up on the east coast but, with an incurable case of wanderlust, he has spent considerable time travelling and working abroad. Most recently, he was selected as one of Oxfam International’s Youth Action Partners. In this position has been working to develop a conservation and restoration program linking the Halifax and Habana harbours, as well as establishing an international environmental youth network with partners from Kenya, Brazil, Germany, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, among others. In Halifax, this past school year, James was the Water Coordinator for Sierra Club Atlantic Canada, where he engaged community members and stakeholders around issues of water quality and contamination. A self-described activist and writer, James is passionate about waking up both the social and environmental conscience in those around him. As a community organizer his work focuses on highlighting the connections between social justice and sustainability – showcasing, in particular, the social and gendered impacts of climate change. James is excited to be joining the Actions and Strategy teams for COP17. He strongly believes that actions speak louder than words and plans to make the youth delegation be heard.

Meghan McCarthy
Media and Communications Team
Meghan was born and raised in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador. She started working and learning about the environment when she was little, as a Junior Forest Warden, romping around the beautiful Newfoundland wilderness. With a few years of organizing anti-poverty and sustainability campaigns under her belt, Meghan became active in the climate movement in 2009, as one of the founders of the NL Climate Action Coalition, and did substantive organizing around COP15 in Copenhagen. Starting first with Oxfam Canada’s Women’s Rights and Climate Change Campaign , Meghan has become deeply passionate about how climate change disproportionally impacts marginalized communities; both in Canada and in the Global South. Besides that, she has been a climate change educator for youth, a member of the University Senate, and the Executive Director of Campaigns for the MUN Students’ Union, among other things. When she isn’t working her butt off for climate justice, she really enjoys tea, cycling, and dancing off her carbon footprint. Meghan is unbelievably excited to be a part of the Canadian Youth Delegation, and will try her absolute best to create a world her grandchildren would be proud of. Follow her on twitter @Meghan709

Kaleigh McGregor-Bales
Policy and Research Team

After spending the winter in Prince Edward Island researching agricultural vulnerability to climate change, Kaleigh is back in her beloved home of Halifax working as a Policy Researcher for the CYCC and organizing a Sierra Youth Coalition Youth Action Gathering for high school students in the Maritimes. Born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario, Kaleigh’s first experience in activism was in the sixth grade, when she contacted Monsanto to tell them to  stop exploiting farmers. Her passion for the environment and social justice, with a particular focus on food issues continued, and last year she helped start an Edible Campus Container Garden to reclaim un-used concrete spaces on campus. She also helped start  the Loaded Ladle, a student-run food cooperative on campus. Kaleigh loves to share skills and teach others. She has coached youth soccer and Special Olympics nordic skiing, and taught swimming.  After attending PowerShift and a Greenpeace Climate Action Camp in 2009, Kaleigh helped organize “Climate Mob Mondays” leading up to COP15 in Copenhagen and other direct actions in Halifax. Kaleigh enjoys rock climbing, making medicines with local wild plants and going on canoe trips. She is excited to be a part of CYD-Durban!

Emilie Novaczek
Media and Communications Team

Born and raised in (very) rural Prince Edward Island, Emilie now lives in Halifax where she’s finishing up a combined honours in Biology and Sustainability at Dalhousie.This year Emilie spent a semester at the University of the West Indies in Barbados, studying Marine Biology & Climatology. In addition to the CYD, Emilie also contributed to Youth on the Coast 2010 and has been selected to participate in the IMPACT Youth Conference for Sustainability Leadership.  In Halifax, Emilie volunteers with the King’s alternative food co-op and I.T.S. For Girls, a program that encourages girls to get involved and interested in science. She spends her free time working with Action!King’s, an organization that tackles student issues like campus food, sustainability on campus and rising tuition. Emilie first joined the Canadian Youth Delegation to Cancun for COP16 and acts as one of the media coordinators for the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition. Follow her on twitter @emilienovaczek.

Tasha Peters
Actions and Strategy Team

Raised in Calgary, and with roots in Northern Alberta’s Peace River region, Tasha now calls Ottawa home.  She has been involved with environmental and social justice initiatives since high school and is now finishing a degree in political science and environmental studies at the University of Ottawa.  After spending her first year as a page in the House of Commons, she realized that neither our government nor its broader political structure is working towards an environmentally just society; in fact, they are going the other direction.  She is now an organizer with Climate Justice Ottawa and tries to connect with and learn from (dis)ability, radical feminist, migrant justice and Indigenous movements.  In addition to attending several action trainings, she has been involved with the planning and carrying out of many direct and symbolic actions.  She is on the board of her student federation and works at the campus bike co-op.  In December of 2010 she traveled to the UN Climate Conference in Cancun with the Canadian Youth Delegation and connected with members of frontline communities around the world who are resisting climate injustice.   She also enjoys biking, critical theory, coffee with friends, discussing movement strategy, experimental cooking, and queer dance parties. Follow her on twitter @tasharpeters.

Amara Possian
Delegation Coordinator

Amara’s experiences within the climate movement have taught her that ensuring a strong youth voice at the negotiating table requires a little bit of creativity! Over the past couple of years, she has served as one of the national coordinators of Power Shift Canada, blogged for the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition from the UNFCCC intersessional negotiations, and as part of the Canadian Youth Delegation to COP16, tracked and translated policy while blogging for the CYD, McGill’s Climate and Sustainability Advocacy Project, the McGill Daily, and Écotrip.  When she isn’t living inside the CYD’s gmail-skype-google-doc-google-group-google-cal universe, Amara is (slowly) translating a book from Armenian to English and seeking out friends to help her improve her Turkish. As an organizer with the CYCC, she is actively involved in local and national environmental justice campaigns that use popular education and creative actions to push the Canadian government to act on climate change. She is looking forward to collaborating with and learning from passionate and inspiring youth from around the country while coordinating this year’s delegation to COP-17! Follow her on twitter @amarapossian.

Karen Rooney
Actions and Strategy Team

There exists in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan a rather strange and unique species, the Karen Rooney. The Karen is a type of human with a rather developed interest in social justice, health, politics, the environment and food – and a keen eye for making the links between them all. The Karen spends her days working as an oncology (aka cancer-care) nurse, where she has the opportunity to meet many awe-inspiring people, hear their stories and learn from the wisdom they share. In her off-time, the Karen can be found listening to old records, cooking up some great veggie fare, spending large amounts of time socializing with other similar members of the species and pondering the world about her. The Karen is a recent graduate of the inaugural Next Up Saskatchewan program, a leadership development course for young activists across Western Canada. This course was the catalyst to many of the Karen’s current projects including a civic campaign to encourage citizens to engage with their city council around the adoption of a city-wide recycling program. It has been said that the Karen is an optimist and a dreamer…she likes to think of herself as a pebble that will make some waves.

Jasmine Thomas
Actions and Strategy Team

Jasmine Thomas is of Carrier/Cree descent and a member of the frog clan from Saik’uz First Nation located in the heart of British Columbia. Taught by her late maternal great-grandmother Sophie Thomas, traditional healer for the Yinka Dene (People of the Earth), she continues the ancient practice of traditional medicines in her community. She has studied Environmental Planning at the University of Northern BC and is a youth advocate and organizer for the Yinka Dene Alliance on a broad range of social, environmental and climate justice issues. The Alliance includes her community of Saik’uz as well as Nadleh Whut’en, Wet’suwet’en, Nak’azdli and Takla Lake communities who are leaders of the “Save the Fraser River Declaration”, a living document signed by 61 First Nations in British Columbia banning the transportation of Tar Sands and its related infrastructure through their lands and watersheds that is based upon Indigenous laws. Jasmine has also been heavily involved in the Canadian Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign with the Indigenous Environmental Network over the past two years. She enjoys working with youth, teaching traditional Carrier song and dance, and being out on the land any chance she gets.

Anika Terton
Policy and Research Team

Ani currently works as a Public Education and Outreach Coordinator for Climate Change Connection, a non-profit organization, which strives to connect Manitobans to climate change facts and solutions. Prior to working with CCC, Ani finished her Master’s thesis on Canadian climate change policy, worked at the Environmental Policy Research Centre in Berlin and the German Cultural Centre in Toronto. Ani is originally from Germany but adopted Manitoba as her new home three years ago. Camping, cycling, kayaking and yoga are just some of her favorite things to do in her free time. Ani holds a MA in Political Sciences and is especially interested in the political effects of climate change, environmental justice, and renewable energies. Inspiring and empowering people is a theme that resonates through her personally, and something that she believes will become increasingly necessary in our modern society.

Robin Tress
Media and Communications Team

Robin grew up in Barrie, Ontario, but has since relocated to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and recently graduated from Environmental Science and Biology at Dalhousie University. Robin has been largely involved in campus sustainability groups and local social justice movements, and has been involved in CYCC activities since 2009. She is currently the CYCC outreach co-ordinator for Atlantic Canada, and is working on projects like Power Summer and the Wings of Change. She would like to get into green energy development in the future, but for now is working on local environmental issues like coastal protection and environmental education. Robin was part of the media and actions teams on CYD-Cancun in 2010, and has used her CYD training and connections back in Halifax to organize events like a vote mob and a rally for electoral reform. She’s excited to get to work with CYD-Durban and would love to meet with anyone in the Halifax area to build the movement and help them become more involved in the CYCC. Follow her on twitter @more_tress.

Daniel T’seleie
Media and Communications Team

Daniel T’seleie is a member of the K’asho Got’ine Dene Band from Radilih Koe (Fort Good Hope), Denendeh (Northwest Territories). He lives in Yellowknife and is currently the Acting Director of Dene Nation’s Lands and Environment Secretariat, and the Dene Nation’s representative on the Assembly of First Nations’ Environment Committee. As a Jane Glassco Arctic Fellow with the Walter & Duncan Gordon Foundation he is conducting policy research into greenhouse gas emission reductions in the NWT. His past work on climate change has included positions with Climate Action Network Canada and Yellowknife-based Ecology North. His past work with youth includes the helping with the 2009 Young Leaders’ Summit on Northern Climate Change, organizing with Climate Justice Ottawa, and instructing a sustainable communities and climate change course at Dechinta Bush Unversity. He has attended the last two COPs with the CYD. Daniel graduated from McMaster University with a BSc in mathematical sciences in 2007, and has worked as photojournalist in Yellowknife and Iqaluit, as a policy officer with the Government of the NWT, and as math teacher for mature students. Despite living in Yellowknife, Daniel considers Fort Good Hope his home, and regularly returns to visit family and go hunting.


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  1. […] a Canadian Youth Delegate to the UNFCCC COP17, I attended a meeting with the High Commissionaire of South Africa and Canadian […]

  2. […] certainly wasn’t hard to find the answer to my own question about who was paying for the Canadian Youth Delegation who demonstrated against Canada at the Durban UN climate change […]

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