Last chance to be a coordinator with the Campus Food Systems Project!

Deadline next Wednesday! Apply to be a coordinator with The Campus Food Systems Project, and help your campus join the national movement!

Are you passionate about food? How about local and sustainably-produced food? Want to get more of it into your campus cafeterias? The Campus Food Systems Project is here to help you. We’re looking for five new campuses to work with, and that means we need TEN more coordinators.

What’s a coordinator do? You work with students from across the country, all leading changes on their own campuses. You work with two national coordinators whose full-time job is to help you make change on your campus and support you however they can. You get connected to the very best resources, the most recent news, and the best techniques. And you get paid for it.

This is an awesome opportunity.

So far, we’ve got applications from Camosun College, University of Manitoba, and University of Calgary. We know there are a lot of other applications on the way. But is yours one of them?

This may be the LAST chance to join the Campus Food Systems Project as a coordinator. Currently, our project is only funded to run until 2014, we’ve only got space to work with ten campuses, and we already chose five of them last year. So if any of this sounds interesting to you, now’s the time to act!

Check out the 2012-2013 coordinator application / le 2012-2013 forumlaire de demande pour le Campus Food Systems Project for more details. Applications will be accepted until April 11th. Pour les écoles affecter par les protestent contre les hausse de frais scolarité, les demandes seront acceptées jusqu’au 23 avril 2012. If you know somebody who you think would be interested, please pass this on to them!

Got what it takes to be Canada’s Next Green Journalist?

Calling all 12-21 year olds! Environmental Defence is on a quest to find Canada’s top youth environmental journalists in film, photography and writing. Got what it takes to be Canada’s Next Green Journalist?

Canada’s Next Green Journalist is more than about shining a spotlight on Canadian youth journalistic talent; it’s also about enhancing it. For the second year in a row, Environmental Defence is sweetening the deal with career-launching prizes for each contest and age category: a digital SLR camera, a waterproof pocket camcorder, and a laptop. And a little motivation for teachers? Winners are provided with funds to create a sustainability initiative at their school.

For four years now, Environmental Defence has been blown away by the journalistic integrity put forth by youth from across Canadathrough the Young Reporters for the Environment competitions, part of an international project by the Foundation for Environmental Education which pits budding reporters against one another for top prizes. They tackle issues and bring us inspiring local stories on issues from climate change, coastlines, energy and water, to agriculture, cities, waste and biodiversity, and they never disappoint. 

The deadline for Canada’s Next Green Journalist is April 30, 2012. Top entries will shine on Environmental Defence’s website and will then battle for international recognition and an award against competitors from at least 15 countries.

So, are you a teacher? A proud parent? An ecstatically bright-minded 12-21 year old with big dreams of becoming an internationally acclaimed journalist? Do you have what it takes to be Canada’s Next Green Journalist?  Then prove it.

For questions, information and tips, visit the website at


Guest Post from Aviva Friedman, Communications Coordinator at Environmental Defence

Backing the Tap: The Movement is growing and Flowing in 2012!

Momentum and movement for bottled water free campuses continues to grow this year, with the number of universities and colleges officially banning the bottle climbing to 23, joined by 86 municipalities and 8 school boards across the country! The 3rd Annual Bottled Water Free Day was celebrated on March 15th, with 29 campuses participating with activities and actions of various kinds.

At Polytechnique and McGill Universities in Montreal, students tabled with interactive activities. Students at McGill were invited to take a tap vs. bottle taste test and then spin the wheel to win a prize, including some beautiful BPA-free stainless steel bottles. At Polytechnique, information was distributed, such as how much material and energy is required to produce a single plastic

bottle. Both campuses screened the documentary `Tapped`. At Concordia, connections were made between the privatization of water and education, coinciding with the massive student demonstrations against tuition hikes currently proposed in Quebec. People were invited to share a message in a bottle about what water means to them, and the bottles were strong up around campus. Up at Laval in Quebec City, the campus sustainability group Univert launched their awesome new contest, Decoration des Fontaines. Meanwhile at Bishop’s, fountains were actually decorated and celebrated for the simple but essential things they are.

Out in Edmonton earlier in March, students at the University of Alberta protested against the awarding of an honorary Ph. D. to the CEO of Nestle Corporation, where shady ten million dollar ties between an international water institute supposedly focused on sustainable development (ha ha), a new water initiative at U of A, and Nestle, which is a major proponent of water privatization, were revealed. On March 22, much loved superstar activist and renowned water advocate Maude Barlowe provided some insight on the arrangement.

In Halifax, students in the Halifax Regional School Board rallied to ban the bottle throughout the district, inspired by an amazing slam poem from grade 12 student Grace Hamilton-Burge.  Over at UPEI in Charlottetown, CUPE local 1870 joined with the city, Oxfam PEI, and several campus groups to promote the day of action. The documentary `Flow`was screened on World Water Day. At St. Mary’s University in Halifax they created and shared a wonderful Blue Map with facts and figures relating to water and the location of fountains on campus.

Out in BC, Camosun Students for Environmental Awareness rocked out their campus in Victoria with an awesome array of activities promoting a bottled-free planet, while at Langara College in Vancouver students were invited to do the tap test taste and inform themselves about the bottled debate. Up in Prince George, students at University of Northern British Columbia were invited to learn more and signt the petition to end the sale of bottled water next year when their beverage contract comes to an end. Vancouver Community College announced their intention to go Bottled Water Free on World Water Day (March 22), led by the student association. And The City of Port Moody voted to go bottled water free, joined by Grande Prairie in Saskatchewan.

In Toronto, students at the U of T organized a ‘Celebration of Water’, screening a series of short documentaries about water issues and holding a discussion afterwords. High school students at David Suzuki Public School in Markham signed pledges to back the tap the week before the day, as it fell during their March Break.

Nationally, CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi polled listeners on their preference for the tap or the bottle, with the majority coming down on the side of the sink! Looks like we may be winning 🙂

The whole team at SYC is excited by the momentum, energy and diversity of student organizers working to Back the Tap on campuses across the country and is working to secure funding so that we can better support the movement. If you would like to be part of future initiatives such as training and networking events, drop Cameron a line at, visit us at and check us out on Facebook and Twitter!

Call out for 2012-13 Campus Food Systems Project Coordinators! – Appel pour les 2012-13 coordonnateurs pour le Campus Food Systems Project!

–Version fraçaise suit–

The Campus Food Systems Project is looking for five new campuses to join the movement!

Are you a student leader?

Are you passionate about getting more local, sustainable food into your campus cafeterias? 

Don’t miss out on an amazing opportunity to reach this goal. Selected students will join a national network of students engaged in this work, receive an honorarium, resources and direct staff support.

Check out the 2012-2013 coordinator application for the Campus Food Systems Project for more details. Applications will be accepted until April 11th.

If you know somebody who this message applies to, please pass this on.

Learn more about the Campus Food Systems Project at!


Le Campus Food Systems Project cherche cinq nouveaux campus à joindre le projet!

Êtes-vous un étudiant?

Êtes-vous passionné d’augmenter la proportion d’achats de nourriture locale et durable sur le campus?

Ne manquez pas une occasion extraordinaire pour atteindre cet objectif. Les candidats choisi se joindrent à un réseau national d’étudiants engagés danse ce travaille, se recevront des salaires, des ressources et le soutien du personnel.

Consultez le 2012-2013 forumlaire de demande pour le Campus Food Systems Project pour tous les détails. Les demanders seront acceptées jusqu’au 11 avril 2012. Pour les écoles affecter par les protestent contre les hausse de frais scolarité, les demandes seront acceptées jusqu’au 23 avril 2012.

Si vous connaissez quelqu’un qui serait intéressé, envoyez ce message à eux.

Si vous voulez en savour plus sur le Campus Food Systems Project, visitez!

As activists and organizers, is our work accomplishing what we want it to?

It’s an important question for us all to be thinking about, and we’re happy to share that the Canadian Museum of Nature is helping to get some conversations started on the topic in Ottawa.

On February 24th, the Museum’s monthly Café Scientifique event was organized around the question “When Does Ecological Activism Cross the Line from Helpful to Counterproductive?”. Supported by the Sierra Youth Coalition, the evening featured presentations, a screening of the documentary Eco-Pirate, on the life and work of Paul Watson, co-founder of Greenpeace and leader of the Sea Shepard Conservation Society, and a closing group discussion.

The turnout was impressive, considering the blustery weather that Friday evening. The room filled slowly, but it did fill, and everyone who braved the snowstorm was welcomed into the classy, intimate Salon room of the Museum and treated with hot drinks and delicious deserts, before moving to the Museum’s deluxe downstairs movie-theater.

The documentary was excellent, and we recommend it for anyone interested in ocean conservation, the history of environmental activism, or the process of social change as a whole. It chronicles Paul Watson’s journey from a young activist in the 60’s, known for being up for anything to the leader of one of the most notorious environmental organizations. Featuring intense scenes of the Sea Shepard’s characteristic boat-ramming interventions on illegal whalers, and candid insights into Watson’s character, the film brought up blood pressure, and a lot of questions. It was a great jumping off point for the evening’s discussion.

The presenters shared their thoughts on the film, and insights from their own work. Kevin Donaghy, an active community organizer who is involved on many local issues including the Occupy Ottawa movement, suggested that in view of the serious problems our society faces, doing something is always better than doing nothing. He also reminded us that getting involved doesn’t need to be difficult because every bit helps, and taking the step to do something in our own lives, even if its small, can make us feel a lot more hopeful, and effective.

Aaron Doyle, a professor from Carleton University’s department of Sociology and Anthropology whose research and teaching focuses on social movements, proposed that whether or not we agreed with the specific actions like those of Paul Watson, it is important to look at their wider impact. Though more “radical” tactics like Watson’s may not win the support of the majority of the public or government, they certainly get people talking, not only contributing to the momentum needed to make change, but also making sure this momentum isn’t only “feel good” but also remains critical and aware of the many different perspectives existing on the issue.

The conversation at Café Scientifique following these presentations was dynamic. While opinions ranged, the energy was warm and positive, and every table had insights to contribute. The Museum of Nature deserves credit: they created an open, inviting space for discussion about some important issues, and an easy way for everyone to get involved — exactly what the evening’s presenters and participants concluded we need more of.

Visit the Museum’s blog for full notes from the discussions, and some reflections by the staff at the Museum of Nature on the event (to be posted shortly). If you’re in the area, we highly recommend going to one of these evenings in the future. Check out the schedule for the Museum’s upcoming Café Scientifique events. The next one will be held on Friday, March 30th, and will be focused on the question “Can We Protect the Web of Life in Our Oceans?”. 

The Green Energy and Economy Act – vote today to save it!

Today’s election in Ontario could mean the difference between saving and killing the Green Energy and Economy Act. If you haven’t voted just yet, our Canada World Youth Intern Justin Chisholm fills us in on the Act from a youth perspective.

When Ontario’s Liberal majority government passed Bill 150, the Green Energy and   Economy Act (GEGEA), on May 14, 2009, it received praise from environmental figures for its ambitious targets for renewable energy creation in Canada’s most populated province: “Ontario’s Green Energy Act represents North America’s most ambitious and far reaching enabling legislation and will place Ontario as a world leader in renewable energy development, industrial innovation and climate protection,” words of praise from Dr. Hermann Scheer, Chairman of the Renewable Energy Council.Tapping into the Earth’s natural resources couldn’t be a better way to gain the support of those who are going to be inheriting the Earth in a few generations, todays youth. After all, our basic needs are to eat and procreate and we need a habitable planet for both of those.

The first question that comes to mind when looking at the GEGEA as a youth is simply, will it last? Is this bill sustainable enough to lay the groundwork to be built upon by future energy policies? The simple answer to both questions is yes. But if we were here to just get the answers and run then we could just memorize Wikipedia and rule the world. On a more serious note, the GEGEA has built-in reevaluation plans that promise i) (according to Ontario’s Building Code) to review any given building’s energy efficiency every 5 years and ii) to continuously raise the governmental efficiency standards for appliances and equipment such that inefficiency is systematically eliminated from the marketplace. Both of these plans, although on different avenues, show clearly the GEGEA’s direction in increasing efficiency and consequently decreasing dirty energy consumption as we move forward.

Whether you’re just starting high school, getting ready to graduate (either high school, university or college) or somewhere in between, everyone is finding themselves. Many youth are on a tight budget for a variety of reasons, whether it’s because of student loans, bills or that rusty Subaru sitting in your garage. The GEGEA does two things to help out upstart youth trying to break through. The bill stands for the creation of 50 000 jobs in all sectors, from lawyers to steel workers, over a three year period and provides affordable energy for those concerned about the myth of higher energy costs when switching to renewables. The cost of infrastructure required to set-up personal renewable energy generators (solar panels, wind turbines) has been minimized by low/no interest governmental loans. An unmentioned benefit from this is increased household efficiency, leaving more pennies in the travel fund.

       If only the ladies and gentlemen at Parliament would take notes from Ontario’s energy policy, who took notes from Germany’s revolutionary energy plan, directed by Dr. Hermann Scheer. Then maybe! Just maybe, we could work in cooperation with Obama and the White House to direct the planet in a direction away from something that resembles the The Day After Tomorrow, hyperbole intended.

How much does our community know?

English version….down bellow!

Petit voyage à Petit-Rocher, rien de mieux pour commencer l’été. Une petite tournée des écoles Néo-Brunswickoises pour parler un peu de l’importance de nos actions sur l’environnement et la justice sociale. Oh….voyons voyons….

Je suis moi-même originaire d’un village de plus ou moins 2 milles habitants. La première fois que j’ai vu, touché, ou entendu parler de produits certifiés équitable, j’étais arrivé à Ottawa depuis déjà quelques années. Depuis ce jour, on dirait que j’ai pris pour acquis l’existence de ces produits. C’est ma visite dans une école au Nord du N-B qui m’a remise à l’ordre.

Dans une ville où il y a deux épiceries, le seul article équitable que j’ai réussi à trouver était une petite boite de thé. C’est plate…. Comment voulez-vous bien que les jeunes connaissent l’importance d’acheter équitable quand ils ne savent même pas que ca existe. Ca me pousse à me poser plusieurs questions.

Qui devrait être responsable de voir à ce que les Canadiens achètent équitablement et de façon responsable? Est-ce que c’est aux écoles de l’enseigner? Est-ce que c’est aux organismes comme la Coalition jeunesse sierra? Est-ce que c’est aux gouvernent de passer des lois sur la consommation?

Qu’est-ce que TU peux faire? Lit, informes-toi! Parles, informes les autres!

Ce n’est pas tout le monde qui connait les enjeux sociaux et environnementaux qui nous touchent. C’est important de contribuer à informer les gens!

-le sujet t’intéresses, visite nos RJA

Yes, here it starts!

Little trip back home, great way to start summer don’t you think? Mix that up with a little tour of New-Brunswick’s high schools, just to talk a little about social and environmental justice. Let’s just see what will come out of this!

I come from a small village with a population of no more than 2 thousand people. The first time I even heard about Fair trade, I had been in Ottawa for already a couple of years. Since that day, I think I became used to the fact that I could buy fair trade all the time. My little quest around N-B high schools brought me back to earth.

At the Second school I visited, no one knew that fair trade even existed. I decided I would go down to the grocery store and find something certified Fair trade just so I could show them what the logo looked like. Nothing, not a single item was certified Fair trade in the entire store. I went to a second grocery store to find nothing more than a little box of tea bags that was certified Fair trade. How were the students supposed to know of the importance of buying fairly traded goods if they did not even knew it existed? That whole scenario brings so many questions to me.

Really, who should be in charge of insuring Canadians buy Fair trade goods? Is it the school system? Are organizations like Sierra Youth Coalition supposed to fill that role? Is it the government’s job to make new consumer laws?

What can YOU do? Read, get informed! Talk, inform others!

Not everyone knows about the social and environmental issues that touch our society. It is important to have a positive impact by informing these people.

Are you curios to learn more? Maybe a Youth Action Gathering would be perfect for you…

Urban Biodiversity Walk

Last Saturday afternoon, May 21st, SYC held an Urban Biodiversity Walk in sunny downtown Ottawa – one that I helped organize! SYC’s walk wasn’t just good cardio, it was also very educational. In my honest opinion the walk was pretty awesome, I learned so many things that I didn’t know about before. For instance, during the walk I learned a bit about the history surrounding the Rideau Canal and Ottawa itself, and also about Ottawa’s fauna and flora. Keep in mind that May 22nd was the International Day of Biodiversity. I really hope SYC does another walk next year because we need to keep on teaching people about biodiversity!

– Latisha

Election Update

Dear SYC members and supporters:

The results of Monday’s federal election may have come as a surprise or shock to some SYC members and supporters. As you are no doubt well aware, our country is now led by a Conservative majority government. While we congratulate all parties on their participation in the democratic process, the result is a strong shift in our country’s political landscape with an alarming polarization.

As a voice for sustainability and for youth who care about the future of our planet we are committed to demanding that opposition parties hold our government accountable for it’s decisions over the next four years. It is unfortunate that the Conservative Party has a dismal track record on climate change and social justice issues. We will be watching with keen interest over the
next four years and will keep our members and supporters up to date on policy developments and changes. We will work to provide you with opportunities to engage with your Members of Parliament on various issues.

We were also delighted that Canada elected it’s first Member of Parliament from the Green Party of Canada and we congratulate Elizabeth May for her work on achieving this notable moment in Canadian political history.

While turnout was slightly higher this election than last, it is nowhere near where it should be. Every Canadian, and especially youth, should think of voting as a democratic right – but also as an obligation. There are youth all over the world who are protesting and in many cases losing their lives for the right to vote. It is something that we here in Canada take for granted.

Mark Hanlon
National Director

Diary Of a New Voter – Strategic Voting

There are so many things to consider! Only 4 days left until election day. I think I have made my decision, I want my vote to make a change, and don’t want my vote to go to waste. I think that is something a lot of people think about. But sometimes a vote may not make a difference in your riding, maybe it can in another riding, but what can you do about that? In swoops the strategic vote! And! I vote for the party of another’s choice in my riding (where that party has a better chance than mine) and they take my party of choice and vote in their riding (where mine has a chance), and hopefully there are no wasted votes! Say I want to vote for the NDP in my riding but NDP is down Tories are up and Liberals are close behind. In my strategic voting partners riding ,NDP is up and Tories are close, but Liberals are really lacking support. He/She wants to vote Liberal, and I’m voting NDP  but they wont make a difference where we are, so we do a switcheroo of who we are voting for so that Liberals can be elected in my riding and NDP can be elected in His/Her riding, and both parties win a seat in parliament, we both win. The only problem is there is no way to ensure that the other person voted for who you wanted, you will just have to put your trust in this person to do the right thing. In the end the only way to ensure a vote for your party is to vote for them yourself. Whether you vote strategically or not, don’t forget to vote MAY 2nd! and check out the SYC-CJS 1vote Challenge

Megan 😀 happy voting!