Climate Action The Next Generation – Part 6 of 6

By: Gavin Pitchford

Here at the Clean50, we ensure that those earlier on in their careers are given their due share of recognition, as they are the ones who will be carrying the heaviest burden of climate change throughout the most important part of their professional journeys. We have a specific category of recognition for these individuals who we consider Clean50 Emerging Leaders – those who are 35 or under (at the time of their accomplishments) – who are driving sustainability in Canada and globally. Each and every year we receive numerous nominations for those who in our emerging leader category, and this year has been no different – as we’ve received more than 45 young climate leaders nominations.

Unfortunately, this is far more than we can recognize in a single year! These individuals were eligible for both the primary Clean50 list and and Emerging Leader awards, but given the sheer volume of nominees, there was not enough room for all of them to win an award (although three of this batch did, and one lost out due to some personal reasons). In order to ensure each young leader gets their deserved time in the spotlight, we decided to run a weekly feature every single one of our Emerging Leader nominees over the course the last six weeks.

This will be the final installment of our Climate Action: The Next Generation series… read further below to learn about eight of our truly amazing nominees this year:

Julie Segal

Julie Segal (26) – Environmental Defence – Toronto, ON

Canada’s financial sector must align with 1.5C pathways for our country to successfully meet national and international climate commitments, but current financial policy does not address this environmental imperative. The best way Julie and her team thought to do this was to bring political attention to the Climate-Aligned Finance Act – a bill currently in the senate, which will require financial and other federally regulated entities to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Through coordinating groups of national ENGOs to develop shared outputs and strategy advancing climate-aligned finance in Canada, she connected nearly 90 organizations representing nearly 3-million members. Ultimately her work demonstrated to policymakers that ENGO’s are active, informed, and engaged on climate finance, and opened new conversations for the coalition of organizations across Canada.

Nuha Siddiqui

Nuha Siddiqui (26) – erthos inc. – Mississauga, ON

With over 18 billion tons of plastic polluting our oceans annually, the World Economic Forum predicts there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050. To combat this, Nuha and her founding team figured out a way to do the (seemingly) impossible – create plant-powered alternatives to traditional single-use plastics that are 100% compatible with existing technology, sustainably manufactured, and compostable. Through their innovative technology platform erthos’ materials & process divert plastic pollution and – compared to the industry standard – use 50% less energy, preserve 98% more water, and emit over 70% less GHG’s into the atmosphere. Nuha is spearheading erthos’ mission to build a movement for a better planet, with better materials.

Conner Tidd

Conner Tidd (29) – Just Veritcal – Toronto, ON

Just Vertical is attempting to scale down resources use of large-scale farming, while scaling up the hyper-locality of home-grown food. They company has designed and engineered indoor micro gardens, with the capability of home-growing a variety of products like herbs, leafy greens, flowers, fruits and veggies. As CEO, Connor has led the scaling of the company – rapidly increasing awareness and customer use, while launching new initiatives to keep Just Vertical a competitor in the produce market. One of these initiatives, dubbed the Produce Payback Promise, provides customers with all the materials required to use their system, while guiding them through an incentive program to grow fresh produce. It’s programs like these that has allowed their customers to grow over 94,000 pounds of fresh, local, vertical food within their homes.

Kendall Titchener

Kendall Titchener (35) – Green Bull Radio – Calgary, AB

As a part of her MBA capstone project, Kendall started a podcast to help listeners integrate ESG factors into their corporate strategy and personal lives. The podcast, Green Bull Radio, interviews notable leaders to explore thought leadership, case studies and trends in the worldwide sustainability landscape. She has interviewed renowned individuals such as a member of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals team, Pembina Pipeline’s board chair, Foresight Canada’s CEO, and the City of Stockholm, Sweden’s sustainability department. Since its inception the podcast has quickly gained traction, as Kendall was also nominated for Foresight’s 2021 BC Cleantech Awards. Listen in to learn more!

Cooper & Ethan Waisberg

Cooper & Ethan Waisberg (20 & 21) – Balls 4 Eyeballs -Toronto, ON

Brothers and co-founders of their own non-profit, these young tennis enthusiasts gone environmentalists have served up a great way for local clubs to make tennis greener. Cooper and Ethan started out by placing used tennis ball collection bins at local clubs around their area. They then packaged and sold these used balls, donating their profits to fund Canadian eye research. The brothers have now started to partner with high schools in the area, to teach youth about the importance of recycling and repurposing. To date, the two have diverted 100,000 tennis balls from landfills – translating to over 12,000 pounds of non-decomposable waste.

Thomas van Stee

Tomas van Stee (31)- Enpowered – Kitchener, ON

By paying companies in advance for their future energy savings, thus eliminating the need for any up-front investment, Tomas and Empowered have unlocked opportunities for large energy consumers to timeshift their grid energy consumption from peak rate periods onto 70 MW worth of container-sized batteries, which then get recharged overnight, and which Empowered controls to maximize savings. A great side effect of the program is that peak energy consumption uses a lot more natural gas, while overnight off-peak energy used to recharge the batteries is almost all emission-free – resulting in 1,500 MT of CO2 avoided – as well as cost savings totalling $73 million over the last year. 

Emma Wattie

Emma Wattie (35) – Atlantic Water Network – Halifax, NS

As Director of the only Atlantic-wide community-based water organization, Emma Wattie has been a leading force to empower community stewards and build relationships with water monitoring champions around the region. Emma has fostered a network of watershed organizations to fill gaps in water quality data throughout Atlantic Canada by doubling AWN’s community partners from 60 to over 130. She oversees the development of resources for partners to both collect and analyze their data, including the expansion of AWN’s equipment banks throughout the Maritimes – seeing more than 3.5 million unique data points collected across Atlantic Canada. On top of all this, in 2020, AWN hosted the first Atlantic AquaHacking Challenge, which successfully launched 5 start-ups to solve local water issues.