Coastal Insights Season 3: Hope, equity and advocacy

Photo by Alex Harris /
Raincoast Conservation Foundation.

Webinar series

Raincoast has partnered with Take A Stand: Youth for Conservation to present Season 3 of our online education series, Coastal Insights. Each webinar will be live streamed through our Facebook and Youtube channels.

Hope, equity and advocacy

Coastal Insights Season 3 focuses on hope, equity, and advocacy in a world changed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Raincoast and Take A Stand will present six hour-long interactive live-streamed webinars which will showcase youth who are making change despite the significant challenges faced over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. 


If you have questions about curriculum, please get in touch with Asta at .

Our hosts

The series will be hosted by Mackai Sharp and Arian Tomar, two youth with a passion for making change through media.

Student Innovation Challenge

The Student Innovation Challenge is a contest to showcase some of the amazing things young people are leading in their local communities.

Webinar 1: Using environmental grief to inspire action

Wednesday, March 30 at 1-2pm Pacific

We are facing urgent warnings from expert scientists; these are summarized well by the words “code red for humanity.” Young people are faced with an uncertain future, which is often further exacerbated by apparent government inertia, lack of leadership, and potential misinformation through the media. On the surface, it can appear difficult to keep going. In this webinar, our hosts and guests will discuss coping with climate and environmental grief – and the ways these intense feelings can be faced head on to sustain hope and to confront feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. We will explore how grief can be used to create hope, empowerment, connection, and purpose and how a deep connection to lands and oceans can be replenished.

Featured guests

Emily Kelsall is 24-year old storyteller and climate activist who lives on Squamish territory. She’s currently working on a documentary about the British Properties of West Vancouver.

Gabrielle Gelderman (she/her) is a third-generation settler born and raised on Treaty 6 territory in amiskwaciwâskahikan / Edmonton. She is an organizer and co-founder of Climate Justice Edmonton and currently working as a Spiritual Care Practitioner (Chaplain) in both hospital and social movement settings. Last year, while completing a Master of Theological Studies, she conducted thesis research on climate grief in young organizers. The most unexpected application of her work so far has been the memes she makes about climate grief and healing! You can check them out at @theclimatechaplain.

Dr. Jennifer Mervyn was acknowledged by CAMH as one of the 150 Canadians making a difference in mental health. She is a Registered Psychologist offering individual, family, and group counselling and mental health treatment.  She has an extensive background in trauma and substance abuse and utilizes innovative, culturally informed, therapeutic approaches in her work. Jennifer Is Métis, mother of four, and strong advocate for the indigenous community.  She consults, teaches, and trains on Trauma Informed Practice and policy across multiple sectors including policing, education, and healthcare nationwide.

Webinar 2: Navigating the media in an era of misinformation

Wednesday, April 6 at 1-2pm Pacific

Media and social media can be extremely powerful tools to create positive change. However, the manipulation of these tools for political, economic, or social gain is common, making media literacy more important than ever. Misinformation around climate change, social justice, and avenues to community resilience have, in many instances, stymied our ability to take action and have created feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and depression. Being constantly “plugged in” can be detrimental to developing a genuine connection to nature and people. Some critical questions that our hosts and guests will discuss are: How can we equip our youth with the skills to navigate online spaces that can often be dominated by “fake news” and misinformation? What are the steps to creating critical thinking skills? How can we ensure that our “information highways” do not deepen existing injustices or create new ones?

Featured guests

Ross Reid grew up in the foothills of the Cascade mountains, on the unceded lands of various Coast Salish Nations, spending countless days of his youth exploring the forests, mountains, and coast of this gorgeous part of the world. Despite being enthralled by the natural world at a very young age, Ross was drawn to pursue other passions as he grew up. He went to school for biology & film production in Montana on traditional Apsaalooké (Crow) lands which birthed an ongoing career in outdoor adventure sports filmmaking, giving him the incredible opportunity to travel far and wide exploring this amazing world we all call home. Eventually, Ross ended up spending a few years furthering his surfing passion and obtaining an MBA with emphasis on entrepreneurship & branding in Australia on traditional Wurundjeri & Boonwurrung lands. Through blending naturalistic observation habits with his background in film and storytelling, mixed in with a bit of philosophy & humour, Ross uses various forms of social media to get his conservation message to the masses. He recently was honored with the title of “Top Content Creators to watch of 2022” from Harvard C-Change & Pique Action. Find Ross’s work at

As an educator and photographer, Arvin Singh Dang is interested in critically examining the incentives and structures around the world that drive power, access, and policy, and the erosion of traditional ways of knowing and being. He attributes this focus to the juxtapositions he observed as a young adult while working and traveling through different regions and industries. With his partner, he recently authored the Oxford Theory of Knowledge course book, which foregrounds the politics of knowledge and makes power relations visible through a decolonial lens. Since immigrating to Canada he has worked on four documentary teams focusing on Indigenous Sovereignty, direct action, and land defense.

Webinar 3: Art as a tool for change

Wednesday, April 13 at 1-2pm Pacific

Climate change and environmental degradation is asking us to care about all of the inhabitants of planet Earth. Art and film can play a tremendous role in conservation as powerful tools for storytelling and creating emotional connections. In this webinar, the hosts and guest speakers will explore how they have used art and film to expand the collective awareness of environmental and social justice issues. We are far more willing to protect what we love, and  facilitate changes, when we have a genuine connection to place and to nature. Artists and filmmakers can be powerful agents of promoting positive change. The webinar will culminate with the hosts laying out some simple steps to show how students can use art for the Student Innovation Challenge Contest.

Featured guests

Nicolas Teichrob is an adventure outdoor creative, specializing in visual storytelling through photography and film. Based in Ucluelet, BC, and holding a M.Sc. in Hydrology, Teichrob’s projects seek to expand the collective awareness of environmental issues while encouraging outdoor recreation and exploration of our wild places. He is co-founder of Dendrite Studios as well as Take a Stand youth outreach program. Visual highlights include the West Coast B.C. surf/SUP environmental film – STAND (2013), Jumbo Wild (2015), Canada Wild’s salmon projection installation in Vancouver, BC  – Uninterrupted (2017), and a timeless feature snow film – Numinous (2017). Further works by Nicolas can be found at

Luke Wallace embodies a new wave of politically charged folk music, writing the soundtrack for a movement of people rising up to meet the social and environmental challenges of our times. The new album “What on Earth”, to be released in March 2020 will be Luke Wallace’s 5th album release. You can find Luke at folk festivals all over the West Coast or leading rally-sing-a-longs at Canada’s biggest Youth Climate Marches. Known for his catchy songwriting and inspiring musical delivery, Luke continues using his music to amp up and inspire the folks fighting for a better world. His message-driven songwriting has landed him slots at Salmon Arm Roots and Blues, Vancouver Island Music Festival, The Vancouver Folk Festival and an opening slot for global roots band Rising Appalachia. Listen to Luke’s music at

Webinar 4: Climate change, equity, action

Wednesday, April 20 at 1-2pm Pacific

The impacts of climate change have impacted people all over the world, including climate instability, heatwaves, droughts, wildfires, and flooding. The consequences for wildlife, ecosystems, and humans are detrimental. Yet the various impacts of climate change are not felt evenly across our society, and it is clear that climate change disproportionately threatens the greatest risk to those that are most vulnerable. Therefore, meaningful actions or solutions to adapt or become resilient to climate change and its innumerable downstream consequences must address this equity challenge. In this webinar, our hosts and guests will share their views on change using intersectional and intergenerational lenses. We will explore how we can make communities more resilient, how social justice is connected to environmental justice, why it is so important to have BIPOC representation in change spaces and what equity and diversity look like in the environmental movement.

Featured guests

Augusta Senenssie is a British policy consultant and researcher working at the intersections of environmental, displacement and indigenous policy. Seeking to use non-traditional research methods to influence the transformation of policy priorities, she founded and heads research at Walinda Lingo, an ethnographic research consultancy specialising in disparate and indigenous communities across Africa and the Pacific. Fully commissioned, her team members are currently conducting field studies across West Africa in anticipation of their Spring 2022 launch. Her studies with First Nation people across Australia, the Sahel, rural Southern African communities, African refugees trapped in the Mediterranean, genocide survivors and the Maasai people of Tanzania, has allowed her to consult with UN Institutions, DfID (now FCDO), AU and EU agencies and the Zambian Ministry for Youth amongst others, having written and spoken extensively about the importance of the meaningful inclusion of disparate narratives within global policy formation and more recently, in guaranteeing sustainable peace. She is a Youth Advisor for Plan International UK, The UK Department for International Development and was a Global Ambassador for World Sustainable Development. Her journal articles on the potential uses of First Nation yarns in Australian Environmental Policy and European Duplicity in global conflict & resource insecurity will be published later this year. 

Naisha Khan is a 19-year-old second-generation Bangladeshi settler residing on Kwantlen, Katzie, and Semiahmoo territory. She has been a racial and climate justice organizer for around three years with the organizations Sustainabiliteens and Climate Strike Canada. She currently works at David Suzuki Foundation and Banking on a Better Future – a youth organization devoted to pressuring RBC to divest from fossil fuels, and organizes with Climate Justice UBC and Climate Recentered. Naisha is also a first-year student at UBC.

Webinar 5: Indigenous stewardship  

Wednesday, April 27 at 1-2pm Pacific (postponed)

The challenges of climate change mean that decisions need to be based in science, and with consideration for generations. Innovative strategies in sustainability and conservation at the forefront must come from an understanding of the wisdom of Indigenous peoples, and based on a holistic worldview, connection to nature, and the experience of living off the land since time immemorial. Our hosts and guests will explore the dark history of colonialism in BC, and the enduring colonial policies and systemic discrimination that are maintaining significant social inequities. Messages of hope and positive visions for the future will be emphasized by our guests sharing how their communities and Nations are creating the foundation for change based on Indigenous ways of being.

Featured guests

Kolin Sutherland-Wilson 

Ta’Kaiya Blaney is from the Tla’Amin First Nation and grew up along the shores of the Salish Sea in British Columbia, Canada. She has spoken at United Nations conferences, environmental events, and classrooms across Canada and internationally. As a singer-songwriter, Ta’Kaiya has performed all over the world in a wide variety of venues. Her music has also been featured in TV and film. In 2018, Ta’Kaiiya won a Leo Award for Best Lead Performance by a Female for her portrayal of the protagonist Ella in the critically-acclaimed film Kayak to Klemtu.  Tai’Kaiya uses her many talents to complement her activism as she travels across Canada and around the world to effect change as a youth ambassador who believes that the recognition of Indigenous rights is vital to the health of the planet. Learn more about Ta’Kaiya via her instagram account or website

Webinar 6: Sustaining hope 

Wednesday, May 4 at 1-2pm Pacific

Despite the overwhelming challenges facing youth, there are numerous and rich examples of youth leading change  at the community, national, and international levels. In this webinar, the hosts will discuss with youth movement leaders to find out what inspired them to make change and what drives them for the long-haul. Some positive changes from the past year will be highlighted. The hosts and guests will share their opinions on what kinds of leaders, businesses, and careers are needed the most for the future. 

Featured guests

Marina Melanidis (she/her) is a Greek-Canadian settler on the unceded, unsurrendered territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations (currently known as Vancouver, BC). As the founder and Development Director of Youth4Nature, Marina is fiercely passionate about bridging false silos across nature and climate, while supporting young people to access meaningful, paid opportunities to create nature-climate solutions grounded in community and justice. Marina holds an M.Sc. (honours) in Forestry and a B.Sc. (honours) in Natural Resources Conservation from the University of British Columbia, and currently serves on the Board of Global Witness. She is a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholar, a 2022 YWCA Women of Distinction Nominee, and has been named as one of Canada’s Top 30 Under 30 Sustainability Leaders and Top 25 under 25 Environmentalists. She loves 70’s rock music, good vegan food, and the BC coast, and is (attempting) to learn modern Greek.

Sarah Syed is a 17-year-old high school student who began her environmental journey in the fourth grade when she learned about the detrimental impacts of climate change. This led her to champion community climate action and she is now an innovator at The Knowledge Society and has been named as one of the Top 25 Under 25 Environmentalists in Canada. Sarah’s mission is to be a part of the solution to the climate crisis using innovation and exponential technologies. Her interests have led her to start her own organization called You Are the Change, and to pursue scientific research alongside her humanitarian efforts. She has researched biodegradable plastic made from food scraps which can degrade in water and soil. In addition, she prototyped a synthetic-polymer oil spill remediator for oceans that can be recycled and reused. Her projects have won the UTSC Best Environmental Award in Chemistry, Ontario Junior Citizen Award, and the Nature Inspiration Finalist Award. Sarah is also a published author, with her poetry winning her an international honorable mention. Sarah hopes to inspire youth towards environmental activism through innovation and following their passions.

Will Crolla‘s journey first started while working in waste management planning.  He has since worked as an independent consultant with small businesses to improve their sustainability, with kelp and oyster farming, and on the Ocean Wise Seafood team, and participated in the Ocean Bridge program and CityHive’s Envirolab. As a result of his work on the latter two programs, Will co-founded SURGE, a current project aimed at building shoreline resilience through living breakwaters in the form of oyster reefs in the face of sea level rise. Another passion of Will’s is his ongoing work with the latest iteration of Envirolab which he hopes will motivate other young Canadians to activate their communities against the threats of climate change.

Watch our past 2 seasons of Coastal Insights

Funded in part by Keta Legacy Foundation.

Keta Legacy foundation logo: preserve, inspire, education.