Speakers & Workshops

Climate Change Conference – December 2017:

Here are this year’s conference lineup of speakers and workshops!

Opening Keynote: Luke Wallace

Closing Keynote: Valeen Jules

Morning (Informative)

Topic/Workshop Workshop Speaker/Organization
Mission: Transition; Site C and how you can be a climate leader! Morag Keegan-Henry from Fight C
Defending Land and Culture in the Ecuadorian Amazon Enriqueta Wajuyata
From Seed to Story  Kaitlyn Fung 
Protecting Oceans, Protecting Life Caitlin Mellor from Surfrider Foundation
Migrant Justice Raagini Appadurai from Check Your Head
Consumption: The impact we make by demanding and discarding   Lisa Papania from Lupii Cafe
Creative Youth Grassroots Action Valeen Jules
Navigating Community Support and Engagement Luke Wallace

Afternoon (Interactive)

Sustainability in Business: Soap Making Simple Soap
Canning: A Jam Sesh Brendan Chan
Connecting with Nature Chael MacArthur
The Urban Forest Quest – A hands-on exploration of our street trees Doris Sun
Storytelling Through Space Lucas Chan from Roots on the Roof (UBC Rooftop Garden)
Migration, Habitat & Climate Change Carmen Rosen – Artistic Director of the Still Moon Arts Society
Amazonian Beading Enriqueta Wajuyat


Mission: Transition; Site C and how you can be a climate leader! – Morag Keegan


Join on-the-ground organizer Morag Keegan-Henry to learn how ordinary people took the Site C dam from a “done deal” to a major election issue by organizing themselves and their neighbours. We’ll explore the history of the Site C campaign in detail, look at what’s been accomplished so far, and then talk about how British Columbians are using the same tools and strategies to stop climate change. Together, we’ll come up with concrete actions we can take and ask some of the big questions: how do we start the transition away from fossil fuels? How do we stand in solidarity with Indigenous groups in a meaningful way? What can we do in our schools, our communities, and our neighbourhoods to push for real change?


The climate crisis can and must be addressed on a local level by organizing, building relationships, getting involved in elections, demanding action from our elected officials, and working together to create solutions. Join us to learn how you can be a key part of the transition to a better future!


Speaker Bio: Morag Keegan-Henry is the Manager of Field Operations with Force of Nature, a local non-profit that focuses on empowering ordinary people to take action on environmental issues. Morag and her amazing and dedicated volunteer teams have worked on raising awareness around the Kinder Morgan pipeline, advocating for better solar policies in municipalities across the Lower Mainland, electing climate leaders at the provincial and municipal levels, raising funds for Indigenous communities, and stopping the Site C dam! Morag is also a volunteer organizer with the grassroots group FightC, which has been instrumental in raising awareness around this issue.

Defending Land and Culture in the Ecuadorian Amazon – Enriqueta Wajuyata

enriquetaEnriqueta Wajuyata is an indigenous Shuar woman from the Ecuadorian amazon who is visiting Vancouver to raise awareness about the challenges her community facing because of resource extraction in the rainforest. Her culture is deeply rooted in the rainforest environment where they depend on the water, plants and medicines that are being threatened. She has estimated that in two years their way of life will be changed forever unless her and neighboring communities can stop multinational oil and mining companies from entering their territory and destroying their water sources. Come learn from Enriqueta and hear a unique perspective that you probably haven’t heard before.

From Seed to Story – Kaitlyn Fung

kaitlyn fung

What stories can our food tell us, and what can we learn from them about food justice and building community? This workshop will aim to explore some of these stories and let them guide us in mapping out our own food systems and personal relationships to food, examining how they interact with different dynamics of power along the way. By making deeper connections between these experiences within our food systems, this session will hopefully encourage more critical understanding and appreciation for the complex journeys our food has gone through to reach us.

Speaker Bio: Kaitlyn is the second generation daughter of a diasporic Hong Kong family now living as settlers on the unceded, occupied, ancestral, and traditional Coast Salish Territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) nations, and is learning more about what that means every day. Having graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in Sociology and specializations in Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice and in Asian Canadian and Asian Migration studies, Kaitlyn now spends most of her time trying to find ways of combining these interests with her love of community, storytelling, and food. These are some of the passions that emerged throughout her initial experiences organizing around food and sustainability in her neighbourhood of Renfrew-Collingwood, and she hopes to continue exploring them further in ways that meaningfully contribute to justice in the world.

Migrant Justice – Raagini Appadurai from Check Your Head 

Who is Canadian? Who is an immigrant? Who decides? This workshop explores the history and causes of immigration and challenges anti-migrant racism. Migrant Justice breaks down stereotypes and advocates for a world where no one is “illegal”.

In 2013, we saw a rush of action – and victories – on migrant justice in Canada. In direct response to youth calling for education on this issue, No One Is Illegal and Check Your Head have partnered to be able to offer a popular education workshop on migrant justice delivered for youth, by youth. Featuring arts-based activities, experiential learning from migrants and activists, and interactive histories, this workshop seeks to engage, activate, and empower young people by helping them to better understand immigration in Canada and by giving them the tools to break down anti-migrant racism and colonial stereotypes, resulting in safer schools and communities.

Learning Outcomes

  • To identify ways that media and dominant cultural references affect our understanding of how we view different communities within Canada.
  • To understand concepts like “immigrant”, “Indigenous’, and “Canadians” and the history of immigration in Canada.
  • To understand the root causes of immigration in their local and global dimensions.
  • To build a toolkit of ways to discuss these issues with friends and to respond to stereotypes when we encounter them.
  • To think about ways to make our schools safer and accessible for migrant students.


Speaker Bio: Raagini is currently the Education Program Coordinator at Check Your Head. From her unique positionality as an Indian immigrant, woman of colour, artist, activist and educator, Raagini is deeply committed to educational transformation, social justice, and youth empowerment through a creative, anti-racist, anti-colonial, anti-capitalist, feminist framework. Through her extensive work with marginalized and racialized youth, new immigrant and refugee communities, and diverse groups of students in both community and educational spaces, she is passionate about the development of alternative, accessible, artistic, and equitable platforms of education for today’s young people.

Raagini is compelled by the question of how we as a generation might collectively navigate our increasingly complex experiences and understandings of the world in order to build community and create significant, sustainable social change. In this endeavour, she is actively committed to using social justice education and the tools it provides to help inspire, empower and activate young people to engage in the process of bettering the world in which we live.

Raagini holds a BA in Peace, Conflict & Justice and an MEd in Social Justice Education from the University of Toronto. In her off-time, she enjoys being a creator/observer of art, an athlete of many sports, and a singer/song-writer.

Consumption: The impact we make by demanding and discarding – Lisa Papania from Lupii Cafe

image12Everything we buy has an impact on the earth and society. As we demand more for less, we require more resources, but we spend less on the means of production – meaning we exploit the land, air, water and people as we continue to buy, buy, buy; generally simply to throw these things away. In this workshop we’ll talk about the legacy we leave through consumption. Our most frequent purchases relate to food; so as we eat cookies and drink smoothies, we’ll brainstorm ways we can make a mark on the world by changing what what we buy (and eat).

Speaker Bio: Lisa Papania teaches design, innovation and business marketing – with a focus on sustainability and creating a circular, community-focused entrepreneurial economy – at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business. She has a PhD from SFU in Canada, and an MBA from Wits Business School in South Africa. Our uncertain world requires leaders that will shape the future positively. Lisa’s research and teaching focus increasingly on the environments and circumstances that enable and encourage individuals to identify their own paths to intentionally creating and contributing to meaningful change. Her research and teaching focuses on engaging students in developing innovative solutions in consideration of local and broader social and environmental issues. In 2015 Lisa created an action research project, Lupii Cafe, to enact, support, and study positive community-focused sustainability interventions. Lupii Cafe is a community-focused, sustainable, zero waste initiative aimed at improving the resilience of Lisa’s immediate and broader community over time.

Protecting Oceans, Protecting Life – Caitlin Mellor


Caitlin Mellor, a member and volunteer with the Surfrider Foundation will be addressing the issues that face our oceans and why it is vital that we protect it. By showing you the facts and statistics about the pollution in our oceans she hopes to bring awareness to the seriousness of the destruction of our beautiful bodies of water and how that directly impacts us and our planet. You will be left with practical knowledge of what you can do as an individual to make a difference, how you can continue to learn more about the subject, and ways that you can work with others to make a global impact. This informational workshop doesn’t just touch on the oceans but how we all work as a bigger system and how our health and the health of this planets animals are directly affected by the impact happening to our oceans. She will touch on the local, national, and global levels of our waters and how you could get involved on all of those levels if it’s something you’re passionate about. Expect to walk away with a lot more knowledge and resources on how our oceans are affected by our daily actions and how you can help to reduce the impact. Just like Surfrider Foundations mission, she hopes her talk can create a passion that can be turned into protection.

Speaker bio: The Surfrider Foundation is a grassroots non-profit environmental organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network around the world. Originally started by surfers, it has become a gathering of people in many cities who have an appetite for adventure and who all share a common passion. We strive to transform that passion into protection of the thing we deeply love: the ocean. We take action by hosting and participating in monthly beach clean-ups and creating campaigns to ensure the fundamentals of what Surfrider is about; making sure beaches are accessible, our water is clean, protecting our ocean, preserving our coasts and keeping plastic from polluting our waterways.

Navigating Community Support & Engagement – Luke Wallace


This workshop will focus on gaining an understanding of some the challenges that young activists can face when entering new communities with the idea of helping address local struggles. Over the last 4 years, through success and failure, Luke has learned many lessons around how to effectively support different groups of people in their unique paths to liberation and revolution.

Speaker Bio: Luke Wallace is a folk musician and activist from the unceded territories of the Coast Salish Peoples known today as Vancouver, Canada. He spends his time using his music as a vehicle for change by amplify the voices of communities fighting to protect the systems that sustain them.

 Creative Youth Grassroots Action – Valeen Jules

image8Valeen Jules, also known as Kā’ ānni, is a determined young sacred monster from the Nuu-chah-nulth and Kwakwaka’wakw Nations. A former foster kid, homeless youth and 1st-year college dropout, she is now known as a political organizer, motivational speaker, youth outreach worker, spoken word artist, black snake killer and ”overeducated extremist” across Turtle Island. Valeen started a grassroots business at age 19 which is centered around creative youth employment/empowerment and frontline support. She released her first chapbook ʔiiḥmisic in July 2016 which has been used in the curriculum of a Humanities course at Emily Carr University. Originally from Kyuquot, she now resides on Snuneymuxw territories.

Sustainability in Business: Soap Making – Simple Soap

image12An all-natural bar soap, enhanced with unique and simple scents, designed for an eco-friendly lifestyle. Simple Soap is a youth- led local BC start-up that aims to provide sustainable bars of soap to the community. As a team, we hope to share our experience with other youths. Our workshop will cover the importance of sustainability in business, how to start-up while in school, and hands-on experience with soap making.

The Urban Forest Quest – a hands-on exploration of our street trees – Doris Sun


What can trees do to help lessen or mitigate the effects of “gloom and doom” climate change? Does size actually matter when it comes to trees and their benefits? Join us as we talk a bit about urban forests as a solution to climate change effects and do go outside to do hands-on measuring activities with tree trunk and canopy cover!

Speaker Bio: Doris Sun is a fourth-year Urban Forestry student at UBC. As a Co-op student, she worked on the Citizen’s Coolkit booklet in the summer and held workshops with local community residences across Vancouver with other Coolkit members. If you have any questions on UBC, urban forestry, or anything else, she is more than happy to answer your questions!

Canning: A Jam Sesh – Brendan Chan


Growing food is half the fun, the other half comes with cooking and sharing the harvest with those around you! So come learn how to can food safely as we make jam together and break bread! No experience needed! Every participant will get to leave with their own jar of homemade jam!

Speaker Bio: Brendan graduated from UBC with a degree in food and environment, and a bachelor of education. He first found an interest in gardening and food during high school, and since then, has been immersing himself around food systems and food education. His passion stems from his belief that agriculture is often a forgotten aspect in the environmental movement. Growing food is more than being local or organic, but a form of activism that has the ability to transform education, build community, promote innovation, and address environmental, social, political, and economic issues. Having lots of experience with activities and programming closely related to food security, justice, and sovereignty, he’s had the opportunity to work for one of Vancouver’s food security institutes, co-manage the UBC orchard garden, and is the co-founder of Roots on the Roof, the group that manages the award winning rooftop garden at UBC.

Connecting With Nature – Chael McArthur

Speaker bio: Chael has been teaching in outdoor and indoor classrooms since the age of 16. He recently left his regular VSB classroom to take on the Sea to Sky Outdoor School for Sustainability Education. Chael believes his most valuable education began the moment his mother first handed him a raincoat and said, “Dere’s no need t’be indoors on a day like t’day.” It turns out that in Newfoundland, you are a wet weather adventurer, or not at all. A storyteller, adventurer, musician and explorer, Chael strives to live a one planet lifestyle.


Migration, Habitat, and Climate Change – Carmen Rosen

image3Birds, Fish, and Humans are all migratory animals with very different patterns of movement. We will introduce this topic through discussion, then create a flock of migratory snow geese using single-use plastic containers. Through making art together, we have the opportunity to think differently about what we throw away and why, and explore the effect that climate change has on where all creatures make their homes.

Speaker Bio: Carmen Rosen, Artistic Director of Still Moon Arts Society

Carmen Rosen is a visual artist, singer, and interdisciplinary performer. She has a long history of initiating art projects and creative community integrated projects. Carmen is the founder and artistic director of Still Moon Arts Society: inspiring vibrant and connected communities by creating art and nurturing a passion for nature. Through Still Moon Arts (www.stillmoon.org) and in collaboration with many community partners, she creates the Renfrew Ravine Moon Festival, and other projects and special events shedding light on Renfrew Ravine, Still Creek, salmon in the city, and the community’s creative capacity. In 2010 Carmen received the Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award, and in 2012 the Queen’s Jubilee Award for her art with the community. She has an Art History degree from UBCand a diploma from Emily Carr Institute.

You can see her TEDx talk at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDwviAVQ6gc

Storytelling Through Space – Lucas Chan


At its core, the concept of sustainability is an understanding of people and place. When people recognize the relationships they have within the spaces they occupy, they begin to feel a sense of responsibility to something beyond just the individual. Being able to recognize that your actions are able to influence and are interconnected with other people and organisms is not just the foundation for sustainability, but also community. So how do we feel connected with one another? With the environment? With community?

Storytelling is a way of building this understanding. It is a way of sharing emotions, navigating new ideas, and inviting others to become a part of this story that you have become a part of. Whether it is through a club, event, business, or physical spaces, storytelling is a way for people to discover value in what you do, and for you to develop something that is meaningful to others.” – Lucas Chan from Roots on the Roof (UBC Rooftop Gardens)

Amazonian Beading – Enriqueta Wajuyata

Learn about beading techniques and patterns from the Shuar peoples of the Amazon, a traditional art form that connects stories, nature and art. Design a motif and make a bracelet!