Greenpeace volunteers do incredible things from scaling buildings, hanging from bridgesand dropping banners from massive heights, Around the world, you’ll see them blocking environmental destruction at the source and holding politicians and corporations to account, They march in rallies, lobby their politicians, work with allies, run social media accountsand talk to people every single day about the world’s injustices and what needs to be done to change course for a healthy future.

Greenpeace volunteers also play a very important role in youth environmental education and engagement. These volunteers often operate under the radar, working within the system to build a movement for environmental literacy and understanding; The building blocks that are necessary to inform, engage and empower youth as contributors to shaping the future.

The Greenspeaker program at Greenpeace, which is powered by the tireless efforts of volunteers, helps young people understand the nature and complexity of environmental challenges and builds their capacity to take action. In Ontario, these incredible volunteers provide thought-provoking workshops in schools across the GTA and Hamilton. Since 2015 they’ve connected with over 17,000 students from K-12, in over 325 schools.

Finding ways to reach the hearts and minds of young people on topics that are alarming and depressing, while still remaining positive and hopeful is NOT easy, to say the least. Motivating young people to make better the mistakes made by those who came before them is a massive feat. I have nothing but respect and appreciation for this passionate group of activists. You don’t need me to tell you how impressive and important this work is.

So, in the spirit of sharing wisdom, we asked some of these folks what inspired them most about being a Greenspeaker, and for any advice they would give the climate youth of today, and this is what they had to say:

alessia

What inspires you most about the Greenspeaker program?
“The teachers and students! It’s so wonderful to see how many teachers place importance on helping our environment and how they are able to share this passion with their students. The best part of this program is witnessing how students get inspired to do art or recycling projects and so much more, to continue raising awareness.”

If you could say one thing to the climate youth of today, what would it be?
“Young people are not only ‘the future of our country’, we are also one of society’s main agents of change, so do your best to make a positive environmental change!”

Epiphany

What inspires you most about the Greenspeaker program?
Impressive! The students are so knowledgeable. They are very creative and innovative in finding solutions that could make a difference in society.”

If you could say one thing to the climate youth of today, what would it be?
You are laying the building blocks to a better world! Keep sharing and developing new solutions that are beneficial to our planet.

Julia

What inspires you most about the Greenspeaker program?
“Today’s youth know so much about the environment. They are often teaching me new things!”

If you could say one thing to the climate youth of today, what would it be?
,Small actions always matter and eventually accumulate to a tipping point. Everyone has the power to make changes to benefit the environment.

Kate

What inspires you most about the Greenspeakers Program?
“Getting the chance to talk to youth about issues impacting their future. I wish I knew about climate change much earlier and want to ensure youth today have the opportunity to learn about this now so they can take action. I want to ensure kids today aren’t looking back 10 years from now saying “if only I knew” like I am.”

If you could say one thing to the climate youth of today, what would it be?
,Make sure you take care of your mental health. The fight for a better tomorrow can be difficult at times. It’s important to make sure we practice self-care, talk about our emotions and seek out help when needed. There ain’t no shame in the mental health game, we’re in this together! ,

Micheal

What inspires you most about the Greenspeaker program?
“Having the opportunity to work with young people who will shape the future. Their knowledge and enthusiasm are wonderful.

If you could say one thing to the climate youth of today, what would it be?
“Our collective voices and actions are powerful. When we speak out and act, it is making a difference. ,

Olga

What inspires you most about the Greenspeakers Program?
“Greenspeakers provides me with an incredible opportunity to educate students from grades 1 to 12 on various environmental issues, to engage them to implement solutions, and ultimately, to inspire them. The students show eagerness to listen, learn and act. They also ask some deep questions. The wonderful thing is that the students have inspired me. They have inspired me to continue to educate myself and to have hope and trust in the students who will be tomorrow’s leaders. I’m making a difference as a Greenspeakers volunteer who has allowed me to see that our young people are also willing and able to make a difference. Finally, my Greenspeaker’s leader and my Greenspeaker colleagues inspire me. The teamwork within our team is phenomenal!”

One thing that I would tell the climate youth of today:
“Climate change has moved from something that was supposed to happen in the future to something that is causing immediate concern and potential damage across the planet. Climate change is caused by human activity and we need to fix it. The good news is that young people can and do have the power and influence to make a positive difference. Emotion and education are key. When you feel something, you can take those feelings and turn them into actions. Once you learn more about the problem (what causes it, the impacts on our planet), then you can implement solutions targeting the threats. The solutions don’t have to be complex. Even simple solutions make a huge difference. Educate yourself, and share the information with family and friends so that everyone can make simple changes for a huge positive impact.”

Rachael

What inspires you most about the Greenspeakers Program?
“I love seeing how engaged and knowledgeable the students that we work with are! It makes me so hopeful to see their enthusiasm for helping the environment, even at such a young age!”

If you could say one thing to the climate youth of today, what would it be?
“Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t make a difference. Don’t let anyone tell you that your actions and your voice are unimportant!”


Inspired?!
If you are a teacher in the GTA or Hamilton region and are interested in having a Greenspeaker visit your class remotely –
make a request here.
Want to join the team?
Apply to be a Greenspeaker here.

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