CALGARY – Students in the Energy and Environmental Innovations CTS class at the Career and Technology Centre at Lord Shaugnessy are finding themselves at the heart of some very important conversations, both domestic and abroad, about climate change policy.
On Wednesday, December 9th, students used videoconferencing technology to meet with the Provincial Minister of Environment, Shannon Phillips, while she is in the middle of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. During this session, students had the opportunity to ask questions as well as present their outlook for what Canada should be aiming for at these talks.
To one Grade 11 student in particular, Jessica Nelson, this meeting is the realization of a goal she set at the beginning of the school year. She created a project this fall where she would attempt to gather high school student voices about climate change from across Canada to help influence the Canadian delegation during the negotiations at COP 21.
However, as Nelson reflects, “Honestly, no I wasn’t expecting this (meeting). I desired it because youth deserve to have chances like these and someone needed to create an opportunity to do so. It was a shot worth taking”.
This meeting comes on the heels of a recent meeting with Alberta Premier, Rachel Notley, on November 25th when she was rolling out her Government’s new plan to combat climate change here at home. Previous to this, EEI students met with Dr. Andrew Leach, Chair of the Advisory Council on Climate Change to the Alberta government to discuss carbon taxes, oil sands development and emissions targets.
Nelson describes the feedback she received from Canadian students that she contacted as, “ambitious yet realistic”.
Nelson believes she represents a true youth voice in Canada. As for what she’ll be pressing the Minister on during their meeting: “Legally binding targets are a great way to make sure our commitments are met. Also, we should be implementing smaller scale targets that will have a large scale effect such as green building policies and making transit more available to citizens”.
Her work and this videoconference with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change is part of the CTC students’ ongoing work focused on Energy and Environmental Innovations. To register or inquire about the course, please visit the website, www.ct-centre.ca, or you can follow the students on Twitter, @1stof7gens.