Maggie Chang, an undergraduate student in the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability has been recognized as one of Starfish Canada’s Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25. Also recognized are Environment alumnus Beth Eden and Climate Students member Manvi Bhalla. The list represents young people making deep impacts across the country, showing all of us how no matter the circumstances, we can mobilize and create a just recovery that is equitable for both people and the planet.
Chang is a poet, writer, and artist whose environmental journey started in first grade when she learned about deforestation of the Amazon in school. Since then, Chang led University of Waterloo second hand clothing sales for sustainable fashion, organized a UN Sustainable Development Goal training, and helped establish EcoSchools Canada’s first ever Youth Advisory Council, leading her to be named one of the first WWF Canada Living Planet Leaders.
Having grown up in Toronto, Chang recognizes the traditional territory she resides on. In her case she lives on the traditional territory of the Mississaguas of the Credit, the Anishnaabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat People.
Currently completing a Bachelor of Environmental Studies, Chang is passionate to be living her values to build an intersectional environmental movement. In 2018, she published her poem “Do Not Be Complacent” to call academia to environmental action. She is particularly honoured to have had the opportunity to practice international solidarity working with Fairtrade Organic Café Femenino Coffee communities in Peru during the summer of 2019.
Also making the list is Beth Eden, a recent alumnus the Faculty of Environment and of the GreenHouse social impact incubator at St. Paul’s University College. Eden has been recognized by Corporate Knights magazine as one of 30 young leaders under 30 making a difference in sustainability issues in Canada.
Beth lives in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories — the traditional territory of the Yellowknives Dene and the North Slave Métis. Eden is an avid communicator and mobilizer who has been working with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), focusing on SDG 13 (Climate Action) for numerous years in entrepreneurship and strategic planning.
She recently co-wrote a climate report for the City of Waterloo, resulting in a climate emergency declaration and action plan. She also works with mobilizing communities and institutions to implement the SDGs across Canada. Her recent work focuses on social-psychology research and communicating environmental issues, science, and evidence-based solutions through media. She believes collective action and evidence-based communication are integral to move forward the climate agenda in Canada and beyond, and that bridging the gap between environmental research and art communication can get us there.
Other winners with Waterloo connections include Manvi Bhalla, an experienced community organizer who takes an intersectional approach towards addressing inequities in health and wellbeing for under-served groups. She is the Graduate President of Climate Students, the student arm of the Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change (IC3) at University of Waterloo.
Bhalla lives in Waterloo, Ontario which is on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe Peoples. She co-founded the national youth-led non-partisan non-profit Shake Up The Establishment, which advocates for climate justice, climate literacy, and encourages youth to participate in political action.
Alongside her activism, she is an MSc Candidate at the University of Waterloo's School of Public Health & Health Systems, where her research aims to discern the knowledge/understanding of climate change-related health risks by public health authorities, and to evaluate local mitigation, adaptation and risk communication strategies. Bhalla was recently an expert reviewer on the latest Federal Government report on climate change and the health of Canadians.