Thoughts from a Youth Water Leader on the unique paths to water protection

Following a recent career fair, where youth heard from a diverse group about how they came to become water protectors, one Youth Water Leader was inspired to write about her takeaways and the various ways that life can lead you to work for our waterways.

Written by Youth Water Leader Carina Harb

The career fair that happened on Tuesday, January 26th, was an amazing opportunity for youth like me to learn more about the different career choices involving environmental protection. All the speakers had unique paths that shaped their vision and careers in preserving water and nature.

Meredith Brown, a past Riverkeeper and now environmental consultant, spoke about the importance of moving people to action and ‘’working for and with people’’. A key message that I learned is that everyone can have an impact and make a change.

Rodney Wilts spoke to us about his experiences that lead him from being an environmental lawyer to a successful entrepreneur and eco-conscious developer. Something that resonated with me is how we shouldn’t be afraid of change: we should always be willing to try new things and embrace different opportunities.

Another panelist, Anastasia Lintner, advocates for better environmental protections as an environmental lawyer with the CELA. She studied to obtain a PhD in Natural resources then went into law. I loved her perspective that you can’t determine the value of natural things with money; all living beings have intrinsic value.

Mary Trudeau also followed her passion to become an engineer in the field of hydrology. I admire her choice to always stay true to her personal values and making ecological health a priority, no matter the situation.

Sarah Harmer, a singer, got involved in the fight to protect her community and hometown on the Niagara Escarpment against a massive quarry. I love that she used music as a platform to advocate for environmental rights, and made her voice heard across the country.

Another panelist that inspired me is Steven Cooke. He’s very passionate about fish and research, and his extensive studies were the result of a never-ending pursuit of new knowledge. He mentioned to us that to solve worsening environmental issues we need solutions, and to achieve this goal we need different perspectives and knowledge. Something that resonated with me is that ‘’people are the cause and the solution’’ so everyone needs to work together to solve these issues.

As a second-year student in environmental studies and health science, I often wonder what I should study in grad school or what my career path will be like. This discussion was a good reminder that we can’t predict where life will take us; we just have to embrace different opportunities and always keep learning. These amazing people proved to me that there are so many ways to be involved and make a difference: the possibilities are endless!

2 responses to “Thoughts from a Youth Water Leader on the unique paths to water protection”

  1. Jeanne Charlebois says:

    Bonjour, I am a member of the Hawkesbury Rotary Club and we have joined the eastern Ontario Rotary Clubs in the Environmental Cleanup of the Great Lakes and the Watersheds, ours being the Ottawa River and Hawkesbury Creek. We have contacted the local high schools (3) to join us in our event on the 24th of April 2021. Would it be possible to obtain information to distribute to our students on the Ottawa Riverkeeper’s mission. Thank you so much.

  2. Alejandro Prescott-Cornejo says:

    Hi Jeanne,
    Thanks so much for getting in touch with us! We are very happy to know that you will be working with youth to protect our waterways.

    The best way to currently keep up to date with Ottawa Riverkeeper’s work is sign up for our newsletter (https://www.ottawariverkeeper.ca/newsletter-sign-up/) or follow us on social media.

    We are in the process of putting together resources for our community to do shoreline cleanups, so if you are signed up to our newsletter, you will know about them as soon as they’re live!

    For any other inquiries, do not hesitate to email us at communications@ottawariverkeeper.ca.

    Thanks again for your support and best of luck with your event!

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