Our 2017 judges for Canada's Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25 are some of the country's best thinkers and doers in the environmental sector. Just like our Top 25 list, these change-makers are committed to progressive, positive change in their communities and are lending their expertise to finding our next round of young Canadian leaders.
Bethany Downer of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, was on The Starfish Canada's Top 25 for the last two years and was named one of the Canadian Top 30 Under 30 in Sustainability by Corporate Knights in October of 2016. She founded the non-profit organization One Step Shoe Recycling to share her passion for sustainability. Since incorporating with the federal government, the program has organized shoe collections of unwanted footwear across Canada to redistribute to those in need. More than 17,000 shoes have since been redistributed to 18 countries worldwide, and the program has diverted over 16,000 pounds of waste from Canadian landfills. Bethany now resides in Strasbourg, France where she is completing her master's degree from the International Space University.
Raaj is a leader and mentor for youth environmentalism and social justice in Vancouver's Lower Mainland. Raaj is a founder of The Compassion Project, an interfaith program to bring nutritious food and clothing to homeless citizens in Whalley. Raaj works as a junior leader with the Metro Vancouver Youth Sustainability toolbox. He studies Mechatronics Engineering at Simon Fraser University and is a student organizer in the Divest SFU movement that led to reducing SFU endowment portfolio’s greenhouse gas emissions down by 30% by 2030. Raaj is currently VP of the SFU Formula 1 Electric team and has worked with D-Wave Quantum Computing and the Lab for Alternative Energy Conversion at SFU.
Jennifer McRae builds learning communities that drive social transformation. She is particularly interested in shaping the future of work and learning. She has built two leadership programs, an undergraduate program at Simon Fraser University, and the curriculum for a graduate program in civic innovation and systems leadership. An enthusiastic generalist, her curiosities are too many to name. Jennifer lives on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples.
Erin strives for social and environmental community well-being. In her previous work, she built and ran youth violence prevention programming as well as provided crisis counselling to survivors of relationship abuse. Since completing her master’s degree in public health, focusing on climate justice movements and equity, Erin now supports students tackling sustainability challenges as the Executive Director of Embark Sustainability.
Shailyn Drukis is a steering committee member of the Global Youth Biodiversity Network, a network that she helped to establish through the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity negotiations. Her research interests focus in the Kluane region of the Southwest Yukon, looking at obstacles to better addressing cumulative effects assessment on wildlife, and exploring the possibilities of capturing baseline wildlife data from park visitors and local citizens.
Tesicca is a sustainability advocate and a community builder. She kick-started Vancouver Youth4Tap, a movement to promote tap over bottled water and co-founded the VSB Sustainability Conference. She has worked on the Mayor’s Engaged City Task Force, chaired Sustainable SFU’s Board and was named twice on the The Starfish Canada’s Top 25.
As the Senior Manager of University Sustainability, Kate collaborates and facilitates the strategic direction, communication, implementation and management of various aspects of University sustainability, including providing direction for the Sustainability Internship Program. Kate is also the Director of the Sustainable Future Program, where she directs the development and operation of the Program through building and fostering relationships and forming collaborations with staff, students, faculty and members of the broader Hamilton community. In her role, Kate encourages staff, faculty and students and community members to join in to help create a sustainable culture at McMaster and within the broader community. Kate has an Honours B.A. and M.A. from McMaster University and is currently a PhD candidate in McMaster’s School of Geography and Earth Sciences.
Kieran Dowling is currently working with Alberta Parks as the team lead for William Watson Lodge and Inclusion Accessibility based in Kananaskis Region. He lives in Canmore, Alberta, where he enjoys the mountain culture and lifestyle. In his role, he supports Albertans of all abilities, cultures and ages to access and enjoy the outdoors. He oversees operations for a wilderness lodge, cabins, campground and surrounding trails for disabled persons and seniors within Peter Lougheed Provincial Park.
Crista has led the CoalitionWILD movement since 2012, engaging with the next generation of conservation leaders and using the platform as an inspirational hub and catalyst for further action. Through CoalitionWILD, Crista works with emerging change-makers across sectors to highlight and support grassroots actions to create a better future for our planet. Crista also owns a business, Current, LLC, that works as an idea accelerator to bring big visions to life.
Emma Lui is the water campaigner for the Council of Canadians. She is on the board of the Great Lakes organization FLOW. Emma completed her MA in political economy at Carleton University. She has worked at the Canadian Human Rights Commission in alternative dispute resolution. Her interests are in water justice issues such as privatization, energy development and Indigenous solidarity. She was born in Ottawa and currently lives in Vancouver.
AJ has been working as an organizer in various social justice efforts for five years with a primary focus on tar sands infrastructure projects and other issues related to oil, energy, climate justice and social justice. She now works for the Council of Canadians as an organizer in the Pacific regional office in Vancouver. AJ loves rocks, trees, music, laughing, fast walks, good talks, tuxedo cats, cute babies, cool space stuff and occasionally trouncing her partner at Skip-Bo.