We are thrilled to announce we will be hosting Change Your World at York U on Thursday, February 22, 2024.
The goal of the Change Your World conference is to inspire youth in Ontario to be the next generation of environmentally active citizens. We welcome high school students and their teachers to this dynamic one-day conference that brings together youth and community organizations from across Ontario to discuss, collaborate and learn how to make sustainable and equitable change in our world.
Calling all Ontario High Schools! Book for your school now to attend CYW 2024. Some space has come available from our original event date of December 6.
Please note: No more than 60 students per school will be accepted this year to provide access to more schools. Cost per student is $10, teachers are FREE. Any questions? Email Lily at email@example.com
2023 Keynote Speaker
Alicia (she/they) is a Sustainable Impact Strategist who fiercely champions climate justice and hopeful futures. With extensive experience in facilitation, sustainability, impact measurement and standards development, she helps forward-thinking organizations to assess, amplify and embed their desired social and environmental impact, using the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a guiding framework. They also serve as Director of Strategy and Governance for Leading Change Canada, an organization focused on activating youth sustainability leadership for the transition to a low carbon economy within a generation. A proud dual citizen since birth of Canada and Trinidad and Tobago, Alicia holds a Master in Environmental Studies, Planning Concentration, and a BA in Economics and Social Science (Honours), both from York University. Her latest creative project is the Climateverse, a new media project reporting the news from parallel realities where humanity is taking bold action on climate change and social justice
Joanne (she/her) is a community engagement professional with a passion for transforming lives and communities through transformative learning experiences and meaningful engagement. She is dedicated to empowering others as the drivers of change and leaders of tomorrow and brings forth experience in youth engagement, sustainability education, program design, stakeholder relationships, and leadership development. Currently working in higher education and alumni relations, Joanne helps alumni and students leverage their networks. She enjoy fostering collaboration and cultivating meaningful engagement that contributes to both student and alumni success through networking, mentorship, recruitment and outreach. Joanne is an active member of the Community Climate Council and is a member of the board of directors for the Jane and Finch Center. Joanne holds her Master's in Leadership and Community Engagement and a Bachelor of Environmental Studies from York University. In 2017, she was featured in The Kit as one of ‘Five Toronto Activists On Making Their Voices Heard’.
A former Toronto City Councillor, York alum, and long-time champion of sustainability, Layton brings two decades of professional experience – and a lifetime of lived experience in advancing positive changes that contribute to a more equitable and sustainable world. In this new role, Layton will lead York’s Office of Sustainability, building on York’s strong track record. He will play a pivotal role in developing the University’s new Sustainability Strategy building on existing strengths and driving new initiatives through the University’s million-dollar Sustainability Innovation Fund.
NEW ANNOUNCEMENT – Special Guest Performance by BRIGHID FRY!
We are excited to announce that Brighid Fry will be performing at Change Your World 2023! Brighid Fry is a Toronto based singer-songwriter, performing musician and aspiring producer who at 20 years old has released five EPs on her own and with bands Kingdom of Birds and Housewife (formerly Moscow Apartment). Brighid co-produced her critically acclaimed sophomore EP, Better Daughter, released in July 2020 which resulted in a global record deal with Hazel Street Records/Sony Music. She has won a Canadian Folk Music Award, a Toronto Independent Music Award, a Canadian Songwriting Competition award and the 2018 It’s Your Shot Competition. Brighid was recently an honorable mention in SOCAN’s Young songwriter’s Competition.
In 2021, Brighid helped to launch the Canadian chapter of Music Declares Emergency and has been helping to drive attention to the climate emergency within the music industry. In 2022, Brighid participated in the first Canadian cohort of the Creative Climate Leadership Program. In 2023 she was named a top 25 under 25 by Starfish and a Top 30 Under 30 by Corporate Knights Magazine for her work on sustainability in the music industry.
The conference would not be possible without the support of many community partners. This year’s student workshops are provided by:
|Environmental Initiatives in Agriculture
|We're going to dive into the world of farming and the environment. We'll explore the problems that farming can sometimes create for our planet and, more importantly,
we'll discover the cool ways that the agriculture and food industry is fixing these
issues. You'll find out how farming can change our land, air, water, and the animals
and plants around us. But the best part is that you'll become an critical thinker,
investigating how the food industry is working to make things better for our
|Youth Urban Innovators: Shaping Sustainable Cities for a Resilient Future
|Welcome to our dynamic and interactive workshop, "Youth Urban Innovators." This immersive experience is tailored for high school students who aspire to be future
leaders in urban planning, disaster planning, and economic development while advancing
United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 11 (UN SDG 11) - Sustainable Cities
and Communities. Get ready to roll up your sleeves and actively engage in transforming
urban spaces for the better!
|The Game of Nations: Power, Peace, and the Planet
|What is the relationship betweenenvironmental sustainability and peace?
This workshop will give students a hands-on opportunity to learn about the
interconnections between natural resources and war in the past, present, and future.
Through an immersive group board game, the "Game of Nations," students will make
decisions on resource use, allocation, and procurement as leaders of separate island
nations. Will they choose conflict or cooperation with others? How will climate
and geography shape decisions?
|City of Toronto – Urban Forestry
|Nature in the City: Understanding Toronto's Urban Forest
|Toronto’s Urban Forest comprises of all trees in natural and developed areas, on publicly and privately owned lands. Natural areas include the rich patchwork of Toronto’s ravines, woodlots, forests, and shorelines. In this workshop, you will learn about the basics of understanding Toronto’s Urban Forest including the challenges we face and also how to take care of it to ensure long-term sustainability. Hear from a City of Toronto Urban Forestry staff on what it’s like working in the Urban Forest, join in on a tree identification walk, and learn about how you can make a difference in your community through volunteering. Note: This workshop includes a weather dependent tree walk around York University grounds. Students are encouraged to dress for the weather.
|Covenant House Toronto
|Sex trafficking often happens right in front of us. Survivors tell us that they didn’t understand what was happening to them or know where to turn for help. Through our survivors’ stories, students learn about luring and grooming tactics. We also facilitate an activity to familiarize students with warning signs and impart safety tips to help them protect themselves and each other. We encourage students to trust their guts and advise them where to access help in their communities.
|Become a Citizen Scientist
|Use professional equipment and handy apps to support healthy ecosystems with environmental monitoring! School Watch introduces students to the world of citizen science monitoring with on-site activities tracking Tree Benefits and local Biodiversity. Changing Currents introduces students to their local watershed and teaches them about water science through the exploration of a river or stream closest to their school. Data collected by students is contributed to public citizen science databases and can support sustainability initiatives at your school.
|Hands-On With Envirothon
|Get your hands dirty with the Ontario Envirothon program! This workshop will provide some insight into this unique environmentally-themed academic competition that immerses students in hands-on learning and discovery. Led by Forests Ontario, the facilitators of the Ontario Envirothon, students participating in this workshop will learn some wildlife identification skills, discuss the impacts a changing climate has on biodiversity in Ontario, and will culminate in a group activity that will get you thinking about how to tackle local issues facing our wildlife.
|Las Nubes EcoCampus
|Biodiversity Conservation in the Tropics
|Biodiversity conservation in the tropics plays a crucial role in maintaining the health and sustainability of these diverse ecosystems. With a rich array of plant and animal species, tropical regions are often referred to as the "biodiversity hotspots" of the world. However, these hotspots are under increasing threat due to human activities, such as deforestation, habitat destruction, and climate change. Efforts to conserve biodiversity in the tropics focus on protecting and restoring habitats, promoting sustainable land use practices, and raising awareness among local communities. By safeguarding the biodiversity in the tropics, we not only preserve unique species and ecosystems, but also contribute to the global fight against climate change and the sustainable use of natural resources.
|Learning for a Sustainable Future (LSF)
|Action Projects to Change Your World
|Students and youth are at the forefront of climate and sustainability action. How can
you lead your own hands-on Action Project to make your school, your community, or
your world a more sustainable place? Our Action Project Planning workshop will
show you what an Action Project looks like and help you consider your interests and
skills, your sphere of influence, and the root causes of the issue so you can take on the
best Action Project ever! Then you can apply for up to $500 in funding from LSF to make
your plans a reality.
|North York Community House
|Community Growth: Planting Intentions for Sustainable Communities
|In the "Community Growth: Planting Intentions for Sustainable Communities" workshop, we invite participants to reflect, and explore the connections between nature, community development and sustainable futures. Participants will have the opportunity to see the power of their gifts and intentions through art making (poetry, expressive drawing) and a planting activity. By planting these seeds both figuratively and literally, we aim to nurture not only personal growth but also the growth of vibrant, sustainable communities.
|Office of Sustainability, York U
|Sustainability & the SDGs
|This will be an interactive and fun workshop to learn about sustainability and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Students will learn about York University’s sustainability initiatives, as well as learn how to take action to contribute to a more just and sustainable world.
|Exploring the World of Wetlands
|Wetlands are some of the most diverseecosystems in on Earth--and among the
most threatened. In Southern Ontario, less than 30% of our original wetlands remain.
What is a wetland? Why do wetlands matter? Why is protecting wetlands important? In this workshop, participants will learn about the vital role wetlands play as nature-based climate solutions and the unique plants and animals that rely on these habitats.
|Climate Change and Renewables
|The Climate Change and Renewables workshop is designed to inspire deeper thinking of the impacts related to climate change and the use of renewable energy technology to alleviate those impacts. The main ideas discussed during the first half of the workshop are climate change adaptation in the context of climate change impacts. Students deliver live responses on questions proposed by the facilitator dealing with the different impacts of climate change.
The second half of the workshop exposes students to renewable energy technology using questioning linked to the functionality of the technology. Students engage with wind turbines models and solar panels to perform hands-on experiments. Students stay engaged by answering interactive questions about both types of renewable energy sources.
|The Starfish Canada
|Can You Hear the Eco?
|Can You Hear the Eco? uses inquiry-based learning to introduce participants to current environmental issues and support their journey to developing actionable solutions for their community.
Our case studies focus on environmental issues within a Canadian context and serve as a jumping off point for brainstorming, discussion, and solution-building.
Activities in this workshop include: discussion; group work; debate; and use of digital media.
|Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA)
|Rain to Runoff: A Stormwater Story
|Where does the rain go? Follow the journey of stormwater runoff from our roads and parking lots to our waterways. Learn about the impacts of stormwater in a changing climate, and discover how to take action to protect drinking water, wildlife habitat, and more.
This is an interactive presentation for teachers and students. Free resources will be shared to support climate action projects that can be organized at school or at home.
|Toronto Youth Environmental Council
|Ready, Set, Build: Green Infrastructure and Climate Futurism
|Are you of that gut-wrenching feeling of eco-anxiety? Join TYEC in a radical, hands-on workshop where we re-imagine, re-assess and re-design our perception of the climate crisis, our city and our future. Analyze some of the best-kept green design secrets within the GTA and dive into the roots of eco-anxiety. Be prepared to innovate and imagine a more sustainable future, starting with "Ready, Set, Build: Green Infrastructure and Climate Futurism".
|York U - EUC
|Cost of Fast Fashion
|Have you ever considered where you purchase your clothes from? What factors do you consider when going shopping? Learn more about relevant companies and discuss possible solutions.
|Empowering Minds for New Times
|This youth-led interactive assembly will help students understand topics such as loneliness, anxiety about the future, and ways to build resiliency. Youth speakers will share personal stories about navigating our current times and steps they have taken to integrate self-care practices that work for them. Students will better understand coping tools and ways to build resilience during difficult times.
We have developed a professional development day for teachers attending the conference that centers on bringing environmental education into your classrooms. All teachers will participate in the following session during both workshop periods on our conference agenda:
Action Projects to Change the World
Students and youth are at the forefront of climate and sustainability action. How can you lead your own hands-on Action Project to make your school, your community, or your world a more sustainable place?
Our Action Project Planning workshop will show you what an Action Project looks like and help you consider your interests and skills, your sphere of influence, and the root causes of the issue so you can take on the best Action Project ever! Then you can apply for up to $500 in funding from LSF to make your plans a reality.
Conference Coordinator, Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change