Tina Yeonju Oh

 

Age: 20
Hometown: Treaty 6 (Edmonton, Alberta)

 

Tina grew up surrounded by three elements – the Alberta oil sands, changing economies and activism. From a family that encouraged direct, local engagement, Tina’s will to fight for climate health stems from an ingrained prioritization of advocacy. Tina began to realize the urgency of the climate and economic crisis, and pursued ways to create direct, active change.

Tina’s work is multi-faceted. Environmentalism is non-linear. Because nuances of social justice and feminism continue to be present in environmental efforts, Tina recognizes the importance of deconstructing power structures. Climate change will disproportionately affect marginalized people. Thus, Tina aims to reconstruct, to build stories, and to create resilience mechanisms to effect tangible shifts in Canadian divestment policy.  

As a woman of colour, Tina has felt “tokenized… trying to constantly battle and challenge the norm” throughout some of her work towards climate solutions. She continues to challenge social constructs that diminish the voices of oppressed people, such as women of colour. Through divestment activism, Tina aims to dissolve social boundaries and create a climate solution.

Through this effort, Tina has unparalleled chutzpah. Tina led an occupation of a university Board of Regents’ meeting, where she directed divestment action that prevented the meeting from proceeding. On multiple occasions, Tina has emphasized the critical nature of divestment with her university’s president and board chair. She impresses peers and colleagues with her confidence and her ability to resolutely and unwaveringly fight for the environment.

Tina continues to demonstrate and live by her moral values. She challenges power structures, seeks environmental justice, and confronts social systems unfalteringly. At times, her often-controversial action has been criticized. Still, Tina maintains her strength of character and constructs positive relationships, even with those who have denounced her beliefs.

Her experiences in government have led her to emphasize that climate solutions develop from local levels, not from government action. Likewise, there is a clear relationship between social and environmental change. She emphasizes, “There is a lack of diversity in those writing environmental policy”, which must be shifted to create large systemic change. Tina embodies model environmentalism – an unfaltering desire to create balanced justice on all fronts, from climate solutions, to civil rights, to feminism.  

     

    Highlights

    • Tina serves as a core organizer for DivestMTA, a fossil fuel divestment campaign at Mount Allison University, which leads many active local efforts. She is also an organizer of the national network of divestment campaigns in Canada.

    • She was a student organizer of the Ottawa Climate 101 action against the Kinder Morgan Trans-mountain pipeline expansion, where she was arrested alongside 98 other young people.

    • Tina was a delegate for the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition, and participated as a formal Party Delegate of the Government of Canada in last year’s FCCC-Conference of the Parties meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco.
     
    This article was sponsored by Mount Allison University, Divest MTA, and EOS Eco-Energy. Here’s what they have to say about Tina:

    Tina is a force of nature. We are all so proud of her, and of her many student colleagues at Mount Allison. Their work and commitment is an inspiration.

    On behalf of Divest MTA, we would like to congratulate our co-organizer and friend Tina on this amazing accomplishment. Her dedication and passion for climate justice work is inspiring; the campaign for fossil fuel divestment at Mount Allison would not be what it is without her hard work and compassion for those around her. We are very proud of all that she has achieved and of her commitment to climate justice.

    Tina is the youth representative on the EOS Eco-Energy board of directors. In her role, Tina has helped guide the direction and policies of EOS, helped organize some of our community events and is a co-representative for EOS on the board of Beausejour Renewable Energy, a renewable energy investors co-operative. EOS wishes to congratulate Tina on her Top 25 award and all her hard work for EOS.


    Support The Starfish Canada's Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25 program and help these environmental champions get the recognition they deserve.