2023 Youth Environmental Advocacy Fellowship
This fellowship will be taking place virtually on Zoom from Monday, August 21st - Friday, August 25th from 10am - 3pm EDT everyday! This program is completely free - there are no admission or application fees to apply!
Our mission is to empower youth to become advocates for Indigenous environmental issues. We aim to educate participants about the intersection of environmental challenges and Indigenous rights, while fostering a sense of empathy and understanding. Through education and mentorship, our goal is to create a generation of youth leaders who actively contribute to positive change for Indigenous communities and the environment.
This fellowship is a transformative program that equips students with the knowledge and skills to make a tangible impact in the lives of Canadian Indigenous people and communities. Through mentorship and education, participants will learn about environmental issues impacting Canadian Indigenous communities and how these adversely impact physical and mental health.
By educating youth about the disparities in health in many Canadian Indigenous communities that arise due to inadequate environmental action we hope to foster advocacy skills and promote sustainable policy development. The program seeks to create lasting impact by raising awareness, amplifying Indigenous voices, and equipping youth with the knowledge and tools to drive positive environmental change in communities.
How does this fellowship work?
The fellowship is a week-long virtual program for youth aged 14-22 where participants will...
RESEARCH AND LEARN...
About the disparities in the health of Canadian Indigenous communities caused by environmental issues.
Led by Indigenous community members and professors to learn about Indigenous history and background.
To write a short report on an environmental concern that adversely impacts health in one Canadian Indigenous community.
Be a high school or post-secondary student between the ages of 14-22.
Have reliable Internet connection and a laptop or computer to join zoom meetings.
Be willing and prepared to commit time and effort towards the fellowship!
Timeline & Important Dates
August 13th at 11:59 pm EDT
This is the application deadline. Any applications submitted past this deadline will not be considered for the fellowship in order to ensure fairness.
Aug 21st to Aug 25th
Five days of virtual programming for the fellowship will take place!
July 7th to August 13th
Apply for the fellowship by filling out the written application linked above.
The tentative cohort for the 2023 fellowship will be announced via email.
ONLY 50 SPOTS AVAILABLE!
What does this fellowship experience offer?
By participating in the 2023 youth environmental advocacy fellowship,
you will have opportunities to accomplish the following...
Earn up to 50 volunteer hours in the span of just a week!
Enhance your formal report writing skills.
Connect with like-minded individuals and network with professors!
Enhance your public speaking, presentation, communication, and collaboration skills.
Receive a certificate of participation upon successful completion of the program!
Top 2 teams may have an opportunity to receive monetary prizes.
Showcase your passion for health and environmental advocacy work.
Put this down as an internship experience to enhance your resumes!
What resources are provided to participants?
You will be provided with a virtual pdf document that summarizes six environmental issues that many Canadian Indigenous communities face and how these adversely affect health.
During the first few days of the fellowship, you will have an opportunity to attend up to eight different workshops hosted by Indigenous community members and/or professionals in the field.
During the five days of online programming, HNP team members will be available to provide support if you require it. Depending on the total number of teams, you may also be provided with a mentor.
Research has shown the following in many
Canadian Indigenous communities...
LACK OF ACCESS TO
CLEAN DRINKING WATER
There are 26 times more waterborne diseases that exist in Indigenous communities (Galway, 2016).
In the period of a decade, 2/3 of all Canadian First Nations communities have faced at least one drinking advisory (Levasseur & Marcoux, 2015), resulting in a reliance on bottled water for cooking, cleaning and drinking (Stefanovich, 2020).
1995: The year boil-water advisory in Neskantaga First Nations community was declared and is still continuing today after 28 years (Ward, 2023).
DECREASED AIR QUALITY
Almost all the facilities of toxic pollutants are located adjacent to Indigenous communities, contributing to asthma, and cancer in many Indigenous people (CBC News, 2021).
21% of the Indigenous children examined in a study had been admitted to the hospital for respiratory infections (Kovesi et al., 2022).
56% of the homes in the Sioux Lookout region had average carbon dioxide levels that exceeded the recommended standard due to inadequate ventilation and high occupancy (Kovesi et al., 2022).
INCREASED FOOD INSECURITY
Heavy metal and persistent organic pollutants such as lead and methylmercury in water have disrupted traditional food supplies (Calder et al., 2018).
50.8% of First Nations households on reserves are food-insecure, triggering fear and anxiety. Due to many reserves being in remote locations, food needs to be transported in, causing food prices to sky-rocket (LaFortune & Rall, 2023).
Researchers found that 25 out of 49 Cree and Algonquin community members in Quebec who were exposed to mercury had definite signs of neurological impairment. (Tikhonov et al., 2021).
INCREASED PERMAFROST DEGRADATION
2019 Canada Climate Change Report outlines a 0.3℃-0.5℃ rate of warming per decade in Arctic Canada, resulting in ice and snow to melt more quickly (Government of Canada).
Impairs the food security of Indigenous communities (due to reduction of game animals) and ecosystems (Firelight Research Inc., 2022). This results in an average family in Northern Canada to spend 30% more per month for healthy food compared to someone in Toronto (LaFortune & Rall, 2023).
Poses the risk of large mudslides that threaten inhabitants, and restricts access to key areas of the land. (Firelight Research Inc., 2022).
INCREASED PREVALENCE AND IMPACT OF NATURAL HAZARDS
18 times more chance for a person living on a reserve in Canada to be given the call to evacuate (Government of Canada, 2022), causing cultural and structural losses, and social disruption (Erni et al., 2021).
81% of the 985 reserves explored in a study were affected by some sort of flooding exposure (Jones, 2022).
10 times greater fire-related deaths in First Nations people compared to Non-Indigenous people (Migneault, 2023).
INADEQUATE SEWAGE AND WASTE MANAGEMENT
13 out of 14 Nunavik towns lack adequate sewage system, forcing the closing of 15 schools. This impedes students from basics such as flushing toilets and washing their hands to prevent the spread of bacterial infection
(CBC News, 2022)
Aging infrastructure of the sewage system caused the spill of 330,000 L of sewage in the Ranking Inlet area (George, 2022). Physical or airborne exposure to the spill can lead to severe intestinal and lung disease (George, 2022).
HIGHLIGHTS & RECAP
GUEST SPEAKERS & WORKSHOPS!
THANK YOU TO OUR INTERVIEWEES...
Dr. Wendy Geniusz
Dr. Kiera Brant-Birioukov
Dr. Wenona Hall
Dr. Joey-Lynn Wabie
Dr. Lorrilee McGrego
Benjamin Feagin Jr.
Dr. Randy Morin
THANK YOU TO OUR PARTICIPANTS!
WHAT PARTICIPANTS SAY ABOUT YEAF...
The fellowship's most enjoyable facet is connecting with a diverse array of individuals and absorbing insights from their unique perspectives. This experience has provided an invaluable opportunity to broaden my understanding and foster meaningful learning interactions.
The most enjoyable part of the fellowship was the profound learning opportunity provided through workshops led by well-known Indigenous community members and outstanding professors. Hearing from these experts about their passion for Indigenous history, environmental advocacy, and wellness was enlightening and inspiring. Meeting like-minded individuals at networking events and interviewing Indigenous community members further helped strengthen the sense of community. As a result, I became more aware of the intricate connections between health, the environment, and Indigenous culture.
My favourite part about this fellowship that I enjoyed the most was participating in the workshops. I am glad that I got the opportunity to see things from a different perspective. For example, in the Water Works workshop, I was able to look at the true importance of water in a way that I had never looked at it before. It was things like this that I found fun and intriguing. Furthermore, I enjoyed meeting new people that I had never talked to before. I am a very extroverted person and this fellowship gave me the opportunity to talk to many new people and I greatly appreciate that.
The most enjoyable part of this fellowship for me is the diverse voices and experiences I have listened and interacted with. Listening to stories and traditional knowledge - from not only the North American Indigenous Peoples, but also other communities that have been impacted by either colonization or the adverse effects of the environment provide unique insights into the connections between health and the environment. Furthermore, this allowed me to have a more holistic understanding of the effects of the environment on Indigenous health and potentially lead to more effective strategies for addressing these health disparities.
Talking with other members of your group is a dynamic and rewarding experience that promotes teamwork and shared learning. These encounters provide a forum for the exchange of ideas, insights, and knowledge, therefore driving the group's collective creativity. Each chat, whether boisterous or focused problem-solving sessions, contributes to a sense of camaraderie and shared purpose. These are the times when ties are formed, ideas thrive, and the group's synergy is utilized to handle obstacles and achieve common goals. Furthermore, group interactions frequently transcend the current work at hand, allowing for personal growth, humour, and the building of long-lasting friendships.
This fellowship taught me many new things. One of the main lessons that I took away from this fellowship was that we must value and appreciate everything around us. We should be thankful for nature and for the things that Earth provides for us. Without the blessings that nature provides, we would simply not be able to survive and that is why it is important to be grateful for everything around us. In the past, I always took things in nature for granted and I never properly appreciated it. However, after this fellowship I will make sure to change this and will be sure to be more appreciative.
THANK YOU TO SPROUTS!
Thank you to the Sprouts Idea Fellowship for supporting our Youth Environmental Advocacy Fellowship for 2023!
The Sprout Ideas Fellowship helps the youth of Canada create and implement impactful projects in communities across Canada.
This page was developed by Muhammad Ansar, Junbeen Yang, Shouvik Bhadra & Kelly Li.