Climate Action: The Next Generation, Part 1 of 6

By: Jesse Kilpatrick

Between the pandemic and the ongoing climate crisis, things are looking pretty rough – but we can still find hope through the actions of others!

Today, we’re recognizing 11 Emerging Leaders living in Canada who are fighting climate change and advancing sustainability at home and around the world! The next generation of climate leaders are taking action, and inspiring all of us to join them.

Every year the Clean50 recognizes 10 Emerging Leaders, honouring individuals aged 35 or under (at the time of their accomplishments) who are driving sustainability in Canada and globally. This year, we’ve been thrilled to receive more than 60 nominations for our Emerging Leader award – far more than we can recognize in a single year! But all worthy of respect and acknowledgement.

As nominees, these individuals are eligible for both the main Clean50 list and an Emerging Leader award, but given the sheer volume of nominees we’ve received this year, we can’t guarantee they’ll win either award. So we’ve decided to run a spotlight on each of our Emerging Leader nominees for six weeks, to give recognition to all of our remarkable Emerging Leader nominees, even if we can’t add all of them to the Clean50, and provide some inspiring news in difficult times.

Nominees are presented in alphabetical order – and this week we’re spotlighting Meredith Adler to Louis-Philip Bolduc!

Meredith Adler (31) – Student Energy – Vancouver, BC

As Executive Director of the world’s largest youth-led initiative for facilitating the energy transition, Meredith has a global effect on youth leadership and was previously a Clean50 Emerging Leader in 2018. Responsible for quadrupling the budget for Student Energy from $300,000 to $1.3 million and increasing membership from 5 chapters to 42 worldwide, Meredith is considered an expert in youth engagement. Her work developing youth empowerment programming has allowed for intergenerational collaboration on climate initiatives globally and accelerated the development of 70+ youth-led projects around the world.

Daniela Agnoletto (33) – Oxford Properties Group – Toronto, ON

From managing the launch of Oxford Properties’ Sustainability Scorecard to diverting more than 22 million kg of waste from landfills across their global portfolio of buildings, Daniela is a master at mobilizing stakeholders, partners, and tenants to make sustainable change. Her efforts have helped achieve a 23% reduction in global carbon emissions since 2015, engagement of over 100,000 customers in tenant-landlord green teams and events, and the recognition of Oxford Properties as first in North America in their category and within the top 3% of GRESB respondents globally.

Erin Andrews (24) – Impact Zero Foundation – Toronto, ON

Erin is a champion of circular economy in Toronto, recently transitioning from an e-commerce site focused on making zero-waste living more accessible to founding the Impact Zero Foundation. From 2018 to 2020, Erin delivered reusable, package-free products to more than 800 customers – and, in the case of local deliveries, distributed them by hand. Now, she’s growing a network of more than 26 members in the Toronto area to provide Sustainability Education and a Circular Connections Platform for local businesses to engage others in conversation about sustainability and the circular economy.

Vidit Aneja (29) – Town of Caledon – Caledon, ON

Vidit led the planning and implementation of the very first infrastructure asset management system for effective and sustainable management of $1.5 billion worth of infrastructure in Caledon. Vidit’s team has been developing a roadmap to address the infrastructure deficit of $19.8 million and increase data accuracy by 20% across all major tangible assets by the end of 2020 to improve infrastructure projections for the next 10 years. He has also been leading the integration of climate change and GHG emission goals in asset management to enhance the sustainable delivery of services to residents.

Jenica Atwin (33) – Canadian House of Commons – Fredericton, NB

As the first woman elected for the Riding of Fredericton and the first Green Party Member of Parliament elected outside of British Columbia, Jenica is breaking barriers for women in sustainability. Elected with 33.68% of the vote and a swing of 21.2%, she overcame obstacles like fundraising, volunteer support, and limited access to resources to secure her position as an MP. Jenica was also the organizer of the New Brunswick Indigenous Summer Games, an event designed to build confidence, skills, and positive relationships in collaboration with the host Welamukotuk First Nation, the town of Oromocto, CFB Gagetown,  and Aboriginal Sport and Recreation New Brunswick.

Anne-Raphaelle Audouin (35) – WaterPower Canada – Ottawa, ON

Anne-R. is a leading voice for hydropower producers across Canada, growing revenue for the industry by 30%, securing $500,000 for advocacy programs, and increasing renewable power generation by almost 7,500 GWh over the past 2 years, displacing 3.5 MT of GHG emissions. Representing the industry, she advocates for enhanced climate action policy, securing a national price for carbon and a workable Output-Based Pricing System that favours clean electricity. Anne-R. has also advocated for the inclusion of climate change considerations to the Impact Assessment Act, to prevent adverse environmental effects of major projects.

Aaron Barter (31) – Waterfront Toronto – Toronto, ON

An expert on sustainability and innovation at Waterfront Toronto, Aaron leads the development of strategies focused on reducing GHG emissions in new neighbourhoods – which are expected to eliminate more than 21,000 tonnes of CO2 – as well as engaging local residents and global experts on sustainable development. He is also leading the planning for communities at Quayside and Villiers Island to reduce energy consumption by 50% and waste-to-landfill by 80% while providing opportunities for Canadian cleantech innovators to demonstrate their technologies locally.

Gabrielle Bastien (32) – Regeneration Canada – Montreal, QC

Gabrielle has developed and established the first organization in Canada to focus on reversing and adapting to climate change through soil regeneration, mobilizing a network of over 10,000 stakeholders to practice and promote regenerative land management. She also led the organization of the Living Soils Symposium, Regeneration Canada’s flagship event, which in its most recent iteration drew in over 800 people from 20 different countries and between 50 and 70 speakers to discuss the potentials of soil regeneration as a climate solution.

Kehkashan Basu (20) – Green Hope Foundation – Toronto, ON

Kehkashan is advancing sustainability worldwide as the founder of Green Hope, providing sustainability education to 20,000 youth, the majority from marginalized communities, in 8 countries. With accreditation from the United Nations, Green Hope was able to visit one of the world’s largest refugee camps in Kutupalong, empowering Rohingya refugee children through workshops teaching about waste segregation and disposal in their camps and organizing a tree planting. Kehkashan has also worked with indigenous communities in the Sunderbans to regenerate one of the world’s largest mangrove forests, greatly decreasing the anticipated damage from cyclone Afam compared to similar storms.

Umberto Berardi (35) – Ryerson University – Toronto, ON

As Director of the BeTOP lab and a university professor, Umberto is leading the research and development of a new kind of building façade – one that incorporates nanotechnology and Phase Change Materials to reduce energy demands and increase the resiliency of buildings. His climate-responsive systems have the potential to revolutionize the building and construction sectors by improving building envelopes. Now in the process of determining the effects of age and weather on the facades, Umberto has engaged more than 50 students in active research on his products.

Louis-Philip Bolduc (33) – Energere – Montreal, QC

Louis-Philip believes that a change in mentality is needed across all stakeholders in construction projects to advance sustainability, which is why he developed the Integrated and Collaborative Project Management approach. His model promotes collaboration between all departments working on a project, even before the design phase has begun, to reduce redundancies and promote communication between all sectors. Applying his knowledge of project development, Louis-Philip has also contributed to developing a reference guide for best practices to eliminate construction waste.

CONGRATULATIONS and GOOD LUCK TO ALL THE NOMINEES!!