By CPAWS Manitoba
From Indigenous water activist Autumn Peltier to Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg and beyond, young people are at the forefront of the environmental movement.
Tens of thousands of students have taken to the streets of countries around the world to participate in the School Strike for Climate.
We’re exploring how young climate activists can get involved in environmental conservation to mark International Youth Day on August 12, 2022.
How Environmental Conservation Supports Climate Action
Environmental conservation protects and restores natural spaces like forests, wetlands, lakes, peatlands and grasslands.
Development can release massive amounts of carbon stored in the land, water and trees. Preserving these healthy lands and waters does more than just keep this carbon in the ground. It also helps to fight climate change because these natural environments absorb carbon from the atmosphere.
Read More: Our Work – Climate Change
Conserving these natural areas is becoming increasingly important as we recognize the devastating impacts climate change is having on Canada’s sprawling boreal forest and other wild spaces.
Hotter, drier wildfire seasons are destroying vast tracts of habitat for threatened species. More intense spring floods are wiping out whole neighborhoods.
Forests, wetlands and peatlands do more than just store carbon and provide habitat. They also provide the oxygen we breathe, filter the water we drink and reduce the impacts of flooding.
How Youth Can Get Involved in Environmental Conservation in Manitoba
Canadian Wilderness Stewardship Program
The Canadian Wilderness Stewardship Program (CWSP) empowers the next generation of Canada’s environmental stewards by providing the tools and confidence they need to advocate for protecting Canada’s land and waters.
The CWSP engages youth through three components: a wilderness excursion, community service projects, and a Nature Summit. The next round of applications will open in April or May 2023.
Volunteering can help young activists gain confidence and leadership skills while making a difference in their community.
Whether it’s leading paddle groups, nature photography, or helping in an office, volunteering to propel environmental conservation forward is immensely helpful in the movement.
Apply to be a CPAWS Manitoba volunteer with this handy online form.
CPAWS Manitoba has helped create 22 parks and protected areas in the province, thanks to conservation-minded people who sign letters to voice their support for protecting wild spaces.
These letters get read and registered by the government and only take a moment to sign online.
Indigenous-Led Conservation Advances Social Justice
Indigenous peoples have stewarded their territories for thousands of years, and are leading conservation efforts in Canada today.
However, colonization, genocide, and oppression intentionally severed Indigenous’ peoples relationships with the lands and ocean.
Read More: CPAWS Manitoba works on the ancestral lands and water of Indigenous peoples
The environmental conservation movement has a responsibility to decolonize its work and support Indigenous leadership to identify, create, and manage protected areas and ecosystems as an act of social justice and reconciliation.
CPAWS works to support Indigenous-led conservation efforts across Canada. You can too.
Young Activists Can Help Protect The Seal River Watershed
Located in the northernmost reaches of Manitoba, the Seal River Watershed is a pristine expanse of forests and wetlands as vast as Nova Scotia.
There are no mines, permanent roads, or industrial development of any kind.
Read More: 7 Tips For Taking Stunning Nature Photos
Caribou and polar bears roam the tundra freely while flocks of birds fill the sky near an estuary teeming with beluga whales.
Four First Nations, CPAWS and others are working to safeguard this national treasure as an Indigenous Protected Area through the Seal River Watershed Initiative.
The initiative works with youth by:
- Building capacity among regional youth of the four First Nations and land users who can become Indigenous Guardians.
- Identifying Community Representatives to be the voice of their community and help create and implement community outreach plans that advance protection in the watershed.
- Providing hands-on experiences with nature conservation and adventure activities.
- Organizing community clean-ups and other community-based events.
You can help advance inclusive environmental action by signing a letter of support online. Tell the Government of Manitoba to support the creation of an Indigenous Protected Area in the Seal River Watershed today.