It is no secret that young people are very passionate about finding solutions to combat climate change and save our planet.

The problem is that they usually don’t know the best place to make a difference – so they need a little bit of guidance.

Brieanna Elliot is a second year teacher candidate in the School of Education at Trent University. She is a student teacher for the World Issues and Environment & Resource Management courses in Grade 11/12 Canadian World Studies.


She recently completed her placement with the new program “Youth Leadership in Sustainability” (YLS), partnered with Kawartha World Issues Centre, Trent University and the highschool Kenner CVI.

Passionate about creating a more sustainable future, Brieanna had the opportunity to teach students a sense of appreciation for what is at stake in terms of the future of our planet.

She has taken an active teaching role in ensuring this happens by being the student teacher for the Youth Leadership in Sustainability (YLS) course.


YLS visiting Elizabeth May, the leader of the Green Party in Ottawa

She learned that how to teach young people about the precarious state of our planet and how to help them understand the complexity of the issues and solutions.

Brieanna also learned that students have rarely been given the means and opportunity to take positive & meaningful action.

With the world changing as a result of climate change, it is important to ensure young people are involved in creating innovative solutions to help shape the future economy.


YLS students learning about the value of trees at the Camp Kawartha Environment Centre at Trent University

YLS is an innovative educational program that prepares grade 11 and 12 students for leadership roles in pursuing sustainability at local and global levels.

The YLS classroom is on the Trent University campus but the program take students into the forests, the community, and the region.


The 100 mile community dinner was the culminating activity in the Sustainable Foods Unit

The program focuses on:

  • the role of innovation and the quickly emerging green economy
  • understanding of Indigenous perspectives on the land and their integration into mainstream environmental management
  • field learning – working with leaders in region on issues of energy, food, water, waste, transportation, urban planning and climate change
  • leadership skill development around community mobilisation, group facilitation, accessing levers of political power, communication and networking

Opening Gala of the Planet in Focus film festival where the YLS students watch the Canadian premiere of “Youth Unstoppable” – a film that documents the rise of the Global youth climate movement.

Two of their class projects will be:

1) A visit to Harper Park to learn about the rare brook trout population

2) Pass Plastics Ptbo: a social media campaign run by students from YLS to encourage individuals to swap out plastic products and replace them with alternatives.

The students also have the opportunity to visit Maryam Monsef’s office and have been very active on the Random Acts of Green App!


Jessica Correa of Random Acts of Green visited the YLS class to share her inspiring green social innovation – the new RAOG App

For more information about YLS, please click here!

Brieanna says,

“Through YLS these students are able to gain confidence that they can play a role in shaping this future as well as learn positive and productive ways to effect this change. I was also very fortunate to be able to learn from these youth and my participation in the YLS program has allowed me to greatly develop and improve professionally as well as personally. My experience with the YLS class inspired me as an educator at Trent University and I look forward to continuing to be a part of the program throughout the completion of its first year.”

Thank you so much for leading this important initiative and for engaging high school students in leadership opportunities right here in our community.

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