York U conference teaches youth how to ‘Change Your World’

More than 500  students from 16 Ontario secondary schools will learn about renewable energy, climate change, filmmaking, oil spills and more at the Change Your World Conference on Tuesday, April 5 at York University as part of Earth Month.

Hosted by York U’s Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES), the goal of the conference is to empower students to have a positive impact on their world, celebrate youth involvement in the environment and learn about social justice action. It will offer some 26 hands-on workshops for students to help them develop skills to make a difference in their communities.

change your worldJennifer Corriero, a York alumna and co-founder/executive director of TakingItGlobal (TIG), a charitable, non-governmental organization dedicated to youth engagement through real-world problem solving, will deliver a motivational keynote speech. The TIG team will also conduct an interactive arts-based workshop for students, a workshop for teachers on how to connect students to communities and an art exhibit.

The Planning Clinic will show students how social justice, equity and civic engagement affects Toronto city planning, while the Art & Environment workshop will have youth making Earth blankets. The Oily Birds in Canada workshop with FES Professor Gail Fraser will take students through an interactive approach to studying the outcome of two oil spills in Canada.

The Wanna be a filmmaker with Planet in Focus workshop will teach students and teachers the basics of film production, specifically environmental documentaries, using their phone and tablets. The Renewable Energy with Kinetic Power workshop will demonstrate how to use hand-held devices to calculate the amount of sun any given place will get in a year. This information can be used for planning locations for solar charging stations.

Among the some of the other offerings will be a steelpan workshop with FES student Michael Joseph, a krump and hip hop dance workshop with BUCC and FLVR and a bugs and barcodes workshop put on by the BioDiversity Institute of Ontario. FES alumus Todd Barsanti will show how the science and impact of climate change through the non-profit organization Climate Reality Canada whose volunteers were trained by former United States vice-president Al Gore.