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Empowering Youth to Combat Climate Anxiety: The Inspiring Mission of Youth Imagine the Future


UPDATE

Youth Imagine the Future has shared some exciting updates. Highlights include an article about Youth Imagine the Future in Knowledge Forum, a journal published by Queen's University's Faculty of Education. Another article about the need for solarpunk stories was published in on spec, the canadian magazine of the fantastic. YIF also received a generous donation from the Global Heating Fund. More details may be found in their June newsletter.


YIF Newsletter June 2024
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Congratulations to Youth Imagine the Future for receiving the second-place Canadian Youth Climate Action Award in recognition of their work confronting climate anxiety and engaging youth through art projects.


Youth Imagine the Future runs a festival for youth in the Kingston-Frontenac region. One of the key missions is to “help combat the rise of climate anxiety and climate depression among our youth by encouraging them to look toward solutions.” According to studies by Lakehead University and Simon Fraser University, climate anxiety is growing rapidly among young people who are often left out of the conversation. 


This project reaches out with a positive solutions-oriented slideshow of solutions being used around the world right now, such as rewilding cities, planting Miyawaki forests and sponge parks, using small river turbines, green and solar roofs, heat pumps, alternatives to concrete and parking lots and regenerative farming. This is part of a workshop to engage youth in thinking about a better future. Then, youth are invited to create a short story or artwork to show the adult community what our future could look like if we worked together. 



Youth voices are amplified through an event showcasing their art and writing in a 2-week exhibition in a gallery. In 2023, YIF was invited into 61 classes and to 2 youth groups, and thirty-two awards were given out. In total, about 1,500 youth, grades 7 to 12, participated in hopeful workshops. The festival was featured in the Whig-Standard, the Kingstonist, on Global Kingston TV News, and on the radio.


Youth Imagine the Future is one way of introducing youth to solutions to the climate crisis, because there are many things we can do together. They are happy to mentor other teachers across Canada who might like to run a smaller festival in their class, school, or school board. Connect with project leaders or learn more about Youth Imagine the Future through their website.



On April 27, 2024, Heather Wilson presented the group with the second-place Canadian Youth Action Award on behalf of Pivot Green and the Small Change Fund. Three youth ambassadors and Youth Imagine the Future's board members were on hand to receive the award recognizing the group's work combatting climate anxiety and climate change. Media coverage of the award may be found in this issue of the Kingstonist.



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