Register

July 25, 1:00-2:00 PM ET
Free Webinar

*All registrants will be provided with a link to the recording and presentation slides following the session. The recording will be available for 60 days.


On July 25 Youth Climate Lab  (YCL) leaders will discuss their non-profit organization's beginnings, the reasons and motivation for the work and the societal gaps they noticed and were determined to fill by creating the organization.

YCL was founded in 2017 as a response to the absence of opportunities, spaces and resources for young people to take ownership of the climate crisis. They envisioned a world where young people - no matter who they are or where they are from - were supported to catalyze local and global action rooted in climate justice.

During this webinar, YCL will consider how to pivot and expand as an organization and particular challenges that exist within youth organizing and how to grow from them. They will share key moments in their  journey to become a leading youth organization and the structures and mechanisms that were created to ensure continued success. Finally they'll talk about how they build out and evaluate success in youth engagement within their current work and into the future. After sharing the inspiring YCL origin story and the secrets of their success presenters will engage in a lively Q and A.

The Climate Solutions Innovation Forum is a new multi-year program that highlights newer innovative environmental nonprofits who share the story to inspire emerging leaders and/or to expose seasoned leaders to new ways of affecting change and reaching new audiences. CSIF shines a light on less traditional policy-oriented NGOs, youth led organizations as well as recently emerged culturally-focused ENGOs mostly at the fringes of the mainstream.

We thank the Ivey Foundation for their funding support of this series.

Our Presenters:

CORY WITTER is Executive Director of Youth Climate Lab. Cory creates the organization's strategy, ensures equity is integrated and practiced in all facets of YCL’s work and builds relationships to expand the impact of our work. Cory has worked in the nonprofit sphere since 2017 with a focus on finance, operations, and business development for youth-focused organizations. Her passions revolve around climate justice, food security, LGBTQ+ social justice, mental health, and empowering/supporting youth to be change makers in their communities. Cory graduated with a first class honours degree in international development and economics from Dalhousie University with certificates in intercultural communication and indigenous studies. In 2024, they graduated from John Molson School of Business with a diploma in business administration.

ANA GONZALEZ GUERRERO is co-founder and former Managing Director of Youth Climate Lab and currently Senior Manager, Climate and Cities at MaRS Discovery District in Toronto. She led an Innovation Fund across six countries through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM) and worked closely with local-level actors through the Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program. In 2017, Ana co-founded Youth Climate Lab, where she oversaw the operations, programs, and co-led the vision and strategy of the organization. She is the Vice-Chair of the Tamarack Institute’s Board of Directors, and served as an advisor to Canada’s National Adaptation Strategy. Ana holds an MSc Sustainability, Enterprise and the Environment as a Linbury Trust Scholar from the University of Oxford.

How to choose your stream:
ENGO representatives may self-select from the three workshop tracks based on their previous learning experiences with decolonization content.

Introduction to Decolonization in the ENGO Sector is designed for first-time learners and those with limited comfort exploring the Session topics. Sessions will be lecture-style making limited space for group discussion. Breakout rooms will be used intermittently to encourage first-time learners to practice discussing topics and gain confident understanding of materials.

Advanced Decolonial Theory and Application is designed for ENGO representatives who have experience with session topics and are ready to take chances by participating in potentially uncomfortable conversations to expose the root issues at play. These spaces are designed with safety of participants in mind with the goal of exposing the potential reproduction of colonial thinking/doing within the ENGO sector. Sessions will be conversational while making use of lecture-style teaching.

For Indigenous Ears Only - A Space for Reflection and Action is designed for Indigenous people who work within the ENGO sector and seek to connect with others to discuss experiences and vision decolonial pathways forward. These session agendas will be co-developed with participants.
Register Intro

Introduction to Decolonization in the ENGO Sector

Thursdays, October 3, 10, 17, 24 (1-3:00 pm EST)

Session 1: Settler Colonialism 101

Introduce ENGO representatives to the fact that colonization is a structure and not an event. Identifies key ways that colonialism moves through individuals and organizations.

Session 2: Positionality

ENGO representatives learn how to articulate their social location within a settler colonial state, and in relation to potential Indigenous partners.

Session 3: Inherent Indigenous Governance 101

Introduce the fact that Indigenous nations have their own sources of political authority that they can (and do) draw on when addressing environmental issues. Examples provided.

Session 4: Building Better Relations

ENGO representatives will road test ways they can implement previous workshop key points to re-imagine partnerships with Indigenous nations.

Cost: $100 (or register 4 staff from the same organization for one stream and get the 5th registration free)

All registrants will be provided with a link to access the recordings and presentation slides for 60 days following each session.

Instructor:

Dr. Les Sabiston (Red River Métis) is from Aswahonanihk (Selkirk), Manitoba. Working at the intersections of political, legal, and medical anthropologies, as well as Indigenous Studies, Les’ work brings together critical social theories of colonialism, race, class, gender and sexuality with the political commitments of decolonization and aspirations of realizing alternative worlds informed by Indigenous futures. A guiding principle to his work has been to develop a more robust understanding of the ongoing process of encounter with Indigenous peoples in Canada, that is, how the state and its people interact with and understand themselves in relation to the original peoples of this land.

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Register Advanced

Advanced Decolonial Theory and Application

Wednesdays, October 16, 23, 30, November 6 (1-3 pm EST)

Session 1:  Diagnosing Settler Colonialism in the Enviro Sector

Participants will be asked to share ways in which they have diagnosed and traced power in social justice movements and/or in the ENGO sector. This workshop will make space for discomfort as part of promoting decolonization.

Session 2: Inherent Indigenous Governance

A mix of advanced and introductory theory, this workshop delves into legal and political pluralism, naming the fact that Indigenous nations have their own sources of political authority that they can (and do) draw on when addressing environmental issues.

Session 3: The Nonprofit Industrial Complex

ENGO participants are introduced to theories and examples describing the Nonprofit Industrial Complex and the “Shadow State.” Purpose is to show how settler colonialism structures civil society.

Session 4: Decolonizing ENGO-First Nation Partnerships

This workshop delves deep into how ENGOs can partner with Indigenous nations beyond the Nonprofit Industrial Complex while promoting deference to inherent Indigenous political leaders.

Cost: $100 (or register 4 staff from the same organization for one stream and get the 5th registration free)

All registrants will be provided with a link to access the recordings and presentation slides for 60 days following each session.

Instructor:

Dr. Damien Lee is a member of Fort William First Nation and holds a PhD in Indigenous Studies from the University of Manitoba, and a Master of Arts in Indigenous Governance from the University of Victoria. Dr. Lee has extensive experience facilitating/teaching adult-focused education at the post-secondary level and co-leads Gimiwan Research and Consulting. They serve mainly Indigenous communities and Indigenous-led organizations by providing research and workshop services based in decolonial ethics and Indigenous worldviews.
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Register IEO

For Indigenous Ears Only - A Space for Reflection and Action

Tuesdays, October 22, 29, November 5, 12 (1-3 pm EST)

The Indigenous only space will be collaborative in nature but critical in approach. This track is a space for Indigenous folks within the ENGO sector to come together to discuss their experiences and work, with an eye to taking a position on what the sector might need to do in order to promote decolonization. Participants will use the first session to define our goals for the remaining three meetings. Therefore, session topics named here are proposals only.

Session 1:  Naming the Cannibal: Settler Colonialism in the ENGO Sector

Session 2: Proposed topic: Reflections on working in the ENGO Sector

Session 3: Proposed topic: Centering Indigenous Thought in the ENGO Sector

Session 4: Proposed topic: Visioning a Decolonial Environmental Sector

Cost: Free

Instructor:

Dr. Damien Lee is a member of Fort William First Nation and holds a PhD in Indigenous Studies from the University of Manitoba, and a Master of Arts in Indigenous Governance from the University of Victoria. Dr. Lee has extensive experience facilitating/teaching adult-focused education at the post-secondary level and co-leads Gimiwan Research and Consulting. They serve mainly Indigenous communities and Indigenous-led organizations by providing research and workshop services based in decolonial ethics and Indigenous worldviews.
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