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Youth panel on climate change presents conclusions to Yukon government

Seven recommendations were made on climate change based around Our Clean Future
Azreil Allen, Abeer Ahmad and Min Stad (from left to right) brainstorm climate solutions on April 24 and 25. The youth panel presented their findings last month. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)

The Youth Panel on Climate Change met with Premier Sandy Silver and ministers John Streicker and Nils Clarke on Oct. 15 to give their recommendations on climate change.

Officials from BYTE (Empowering Youth Society), the Climate Change Secretariat and the Yukon First Nations Climate Fellows also attended the meeting.

According to Bruce Porter, a youth panel co-chair, the panel’s recommendations were focused around the Yukon government’s Our Clean Future document.

Porter, 15, said there were seven areas identified that are lacking in the report.

“Under those, there’s different policies and programs that work toward each goal,” said Porter. “We have education, capacity building, land use planning, Indigenous sovereignty, local transportation and food production, knowledge acquisition and policy creation and mining and extractive industry.”

Porter said the seven recommendations were thought of during the youth panel’s meeting in August. There, they worked with a facilitator who brought them through what a worst-case scenario for climate would be like in the Yukon.

“From that, it fell into the seven different categories,” said Porter. “Then we tried to make it what the best-case scenario could be.”

Porter said Our Clean Future was a big step toward fighting climate change, but there are still lots of gaps in it. To him, education is a factor that needs more attention.

“It is something I was really focusing on,” said Porter. “There isn’t really much about that in Our Clean Future. Hopefully, this document we presented will help them fill in some of those gaps. More can always be done.”

Silver lauded the importance of climate change in a statement following his meeting with the youth panel.

“It is important that Yukon youth have an opportunity to have their perspective heard on the decisions we make today, which will affect them the most,” said Silver.

“Thank you to the youth panel for their hard work, passion and dedication in developing these meaningful strategies. We will continue to listen to young people on how we can better address the climate emergency we face.”

Azreil Allen, 20, a youth panel member from Haines Junction and member of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations said climate change is an important topic for her community and herself.

“I think it is essential for First Nations people to have a say on what’s going on in our traditional territories,” said Allen. Most, if not all of the things scientists have been discovering about the land and climate change, my people have known for generations.”

The Youth Panel consists of a diverse group of 11 young climate leaders who were selected in 2020 to serve a one-year term that ended Oct. 15.

The creation of the panel fulfills a commitment in Our Clean Future. A call for applications to form the next Youth Panel on Climate Change will be announced later this year.

Contact John Tonin at