In Year 2 of Co-Creating a Sustainable BC, we built on the successes from our pilot year and were able to expand to three new regions for a total of four cohorts. We welcomed youth participants from the Thompson, North-Central BC, Cariboo-Chilcotin and Fraser Valley regions.
Despite the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, we were able to shift and adapt the initiative and our programming to an online format. In fact, the new virtual format of the initiative brought about many unique opportunities and connections that wouldn’t have been possible in the past. We are planning to do a hybrid model with both online and in-person offerings in future years!
At our virtual kick-off retreat, youth participants heard from community leaders who are leading the way on climate action across BC from different perspectives and fields, such as social justice, Indigenous worldviews, alternative economic models, and nature-based solutions to climate change.
Each cohort also met with and spoke to inspiring local leaders from their city/regional district, small businesses, and non-profit groups to learn more about what types of climate action are already happening on the ground in the places where they live. This helped our youth discover gaps and opportunities that exist in the community, and explore where they could have the most impact with projects.
Our facilitators supported youth participants as they narrowed down their project ideas based on what they had heard and learned. Then, the youth got to work in developing and implementing their visions for more sustainable communities. The youth celebrated their project successes and shared lessons learned at our virtual wrap-up event in May 2021. We are so impressed by what they came up with!
The Thompson cohort in Kamloops built a greenhouse at Butler Urban Farm and gave away starter plants. Their aim is to provide free access to local food and help educate community members on sustainable food systems. Watch the video about their project below!
North-Central BC & Cariboo-Chilcotin
Eco Living Kitchen, or ELK, is an initiative to help community members in Prince George and Williams Lake reduce and prevent waste in the kitchen. They hosted a series of seven workshops called “Creating an Eco Living Kitchen.” Workshop topics included meal planning, gardening, composting, sustainable hunting, fermentation, and a final community meal with food scrap recipes. The ELK has grown since its inception is now a non-profit society called Eco Living Community.
Waste Free Fraser Valley is a digital guide and inspirational video that empowers youth aged 16-30 in the Fraser Valley to take action on waste. They want to create awareness of this issue, empower others to take action in reducing waste in their own lives, and spread a hopeful message by sharing local success stories to bring long-lasting change in reducing waste in the Fraser valley. The youth cohort created a website and resource hub for young folks to learn more about the breadth of this critical issue as well as solutions. You can view the resource and short film at www.wastefreefraservalley.com.