Kate Hodgson, 2016 Finalist

Kate Hodgson, 2016 Finalist

KATE HODGSON
AGE: 18
HOMETOWN: Vancouver, BC (Unceded Coast Salish Territories)

Kate simultaneously felt depressed and angry. After learning about climate change in her grade nine classroom -- how humans have generated enough greenhouse gases to cause potentially disastrous effects on a global scale -- she was awestruck about how we could have let it get that far.

It didn’t make sense to her. She grew up knowing that we should care about our planet. With parents that installed solar panels on their home roof and ate organically, it was embedded within her to think globally and act locally. She knew that every small step you make at home can make a big difference to our climate.

Yet not everyone grew up the same way or has learned the same lesson -- that’s what she discovered in that grade nine classroom. Despite the evidence, our global society is still on a path towards irreversible changes that are causing terms like “environmental refugees” to exist and species to go extinct.

That anger resided in Kate for a while, and she placed it on herself and those around her. It wasn’t until she attended a protest against Enbridge where she learned a valuable lesson on how to channel that anger into productivity.

At the rally, someone gave her a sign and asked her to partake in the march down the street. It felt powerful, and it felt like it could be the beginnings of meaningful change. To Kate, it helped her feel a sense of belonging in a community that felt the same as she did.

Kate believes in the power of a movement to bring about change. She speaks softly and with bravery when she talks about how her inspiration comes from the friends, family and colleagues that surround and encourage her in this work. The sheer magnitude of the community that works towards fossil fuel divestment and climate action is astounding: as she puts it, “The only thing that needs to be bigger than climate change is the movement to stop it.”

Through her work, she’s learned to stay humble and remember that this fight to curb climate change and divest from fossil fuels may be a long and arduous road -- one that she’s willing to assist with until the very end. She plans to be nimble and flexible, understanding that our work might not be completed in ten years but she’s happy to go wherever she is needed to make sure humanity heads in the right direction.


HIGHLIGHTS

  • Kate works as the Student Outreach Coordinator with UBC 350, pushing the university to divest from fossil fuels and mobilizing her peers to bring about change.
  • Kate organized a province-wide day of action called Defend Our Future. On April 8 2015, students in 20+ ridings across the province led co-ordinated lobby meetings or actions at their MLA’s offices to bring up proposed coal export expansions in the legislature.
  • In 2014, Kate organized youth volunteer teams during the 2014 Metro Vancouver municipal elections to run phone banking and canvassing, pushing for climate change and fossil fuel infrastructure in their respective regions.

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