Taking climate action to the streets

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This season our West Kootenay Youth Climate Corps crew took on a unique role, becoming community ambassadors for the City of Nelson and the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) and bringing the climate conversation to the public across the region.

Engaging in community conversations, showcasing projects and programs and interacting with the public through the season allowed our crews to dive deep into the world of civic engagement. The crew spent more than 55 days in communities across the region engaging in community conversations, showcasing projects and programs, and interacting with the public. This work allowed our crews to dive deep into the world of civic engagement and gave them opportunities to connect with the public about their newfound civic literacy. 

When we launched Wildsight’s Youth Climate Corps back in 2020 we saw potential for crews to take on a wide range of climate-related projects such as food security, wildfire risk reduction, water protections and community resilience. This season’s West Kootenay crew took that mandate a step further by actively participating in the municipal government’s efforts to create a more sustainable community. The City of Nelson has an ambitious climate plan which crew members were able to help share with the public at various Nelson events this season. In the RDCK, the team was able to spread the word about existing programs and projects as the conversation around a sustainable future continues.

Crew members played an essential role in supporting efforts from both local governments to connect with the public. They did this largely through one-on-one conversations with residents at markets, events and festivals. 

“We had the opportunity to work alongside both the City of Nelson and the Regional District of Central Kootenay as we attended markets across the region,” describes crew member Daniela Sirois. “At these markets, we engaged with the public and promoted the programs and opportunities available through local government, such as WaterSmart, FireSmart, and Regional Energy Efficiency.”

Over the course of four months, the team engaged in more than 200 meaningful conversations (interactions where a discussion took place about a specific issue or topic). These conversations can be a pivotal tool in dispelling myths about climate change as crew members provide education and awareness to members of the public who may be misinformed, as well as those genuinely seeking tangible actions within their community.

As the season progressed, our crew members gained the confidence to speak to people with varied levels of interest in and understanding of climate change and its impacts.

“The biggest takeaway for me was being able to talk better to the public,” Rhiannon Isaacs shares. “Farmers markets provided an opportunity to educate people about adopting more climate-friendly lifestyles. I believe this kind of direct interaction holds great value in addressing the climate crisis by raising awareness and encouraging sustainable practices.”

Wildsight thanks Arjay R. and Frances F. Miller Foundation, Catherine Donnelly Foundation, the City of Nelson, Columbia Basin Trust, Eco Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Get Youth Working!, JV Humphries Elementary-Secondary, Kootenay Career Development Society, Kootenay Employment Services, 128 Collective, the Province of BC, the Regional District of Central Kootenay, RBC Foundation, and our many community partners for making Wildsight’s Youth Climate Corps possible.