Green Venture's YouthQuake program highlights the power of youth action on the climate crisis

Arts and Culture
October 20, 2022
Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

Green Venture’s stewardship program is devoted to supporting youth climate activists in the Steel City

C/O Emma Shemko

By: Emma Shemko, Arts & Culture Contributor

Climate anxiety is increasingly becoming a universal experience. In the face of severe climate events, there is a sense of impending doom weighing us all down. From the devastating floods in Pakistan to the wildfires in British Columbia and the degradation of Indigenous lands, many of us are beginning to wonder if we’re watching our futures go up in smoke. However, organizations such as Green Venture, a local not-for-profit, are providing ways to take action. 

One way Green Venture offers youth to take action is through their stewardship program, YouthQuake. The program aims to engage youth aged 14 to 24 in leading environmental conversations and hands-on activities.  

“The best way to alleviate climate anxiety is taking action and YouthQuake can be a great place to do just that,” said Heather Govender, program manager at Green Venture. 

YouthQuake runs both online and in-person on the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month. Long-term commitment is not required to attend these meetings and in-person meetings take place at the EcoHouse on 22 Veevers Dr., the home base of Green Venture.

Youth are a critical component in the fight to mitigate the climate crisis. Although their concerns about climate change are often cast aside, they continue to fight, inspire and demand climate justice and young people often have far more influence on elected representatives and big corporations than older generations realize.  

“I think it's important to give [youth] a platform to find and use their voices and to tell our elected representatives what they want to see if that's where things go and just learn how they can make a positive impact,” said Govender. 

I think it's important to give [youth] a platform to find and use their voices and to tell our elected representatives what they want to see if that's where things go and just learn how they can make a positive impact."

Heather Govender, program manager at Green Venture

Giving youth a spotlight to express their concerns and always showing them their voices matter is one important step older generations can take to help create a healthier planet for all. 

“Regardless of whether you consider yourself an environmentalist, you're completely dependent on the planet. This is where we get our food, our water. Good food to eat, clean air to breathe and clean water to drink is absolutely essential to every single person on the planet,” said Govender.   

The Silhouette attended YouthQuake’s Sept. 28 meeting. Young activists—Aria Dalla Pasqua, Emelea Shaua, Isabella Goldner and Jasmine Montrichard—led a gardening activity to promote the idea of maintaining healthy forests and increasing wildlife diversity.  

They practiced how to properly plant seeds to grow food from home and reduce energy consumption. They also made planter boxes intentionally designed to increase the variety of plant choices for pollinators. In previous meetings, activities and conversations were centered around gardening, supporting bee and bird populations, foraging, waste management and fast fashion.   

C/O Emma Shemko

There is lot of pressure is placed on individuals, particularly youth to change the world, but not everyone has the resources to do so. Sustainable consumer choices such as avoiding fast fashion brands, going vegan, or purchasing natural products are too expensive for many university students who are on a budget. But YouthQuake can be a great starting point for those who are new to environmentalism and want to kickstart their journey as activists.

"Remember to be forgiving of yourself. It does not rest solely on your shoulders to save the planet. We're limited by the options that are available to us,” said Govender. 

"Remember to be forgiving of yourself. It does not rest solely on your shoulders to save the planet. We're limited by the options that are available to us."

Heather Govender, program manager at Green Venture

She also kindly encourages McMaster students to get involved. 

“McMaster students should join YouthQuake because it is a safe, positive space to decompress and talk about whatever environmental topics are on your mind,” explained Govender. 

Climate doomism doesn’t have to signify an ending. Instead, fears can be turned into positive action, through programs such as Green Venture's YouthQuake.

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