CSG Presents Student Environmental Bursary in Memory of Fred Holtz

Janet Curran awarding Riley with our CSG bursary

Submitted for County Sustainability Group by Don Ross

Congratulations and best of luck in the future to the 2019 recipient of our $1000 bursary, Riley Cameron-Rogers, who has vital messages for us all in his application letter here:

“Our planet has reached a state of climate emergency: atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have reached a critical point of over 410 ppm; the average global temperature is 0.84°C higher than the projected temperature and increasing faster than ever before recorded, and glaciers are disappearing globally at a nearly exponential rate. This emergency requires action, and as Margaret Mead said – “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”. The solution to this climate emergency starts in communities, with small groups of people working together to solve these problems, and then expanding local solutions to a national – and hopefully – a global scale.

Personally, my mission of combatting this climate emergency started within my school community when I joined the social and environmental Justice League. However, this journey is far from over. In fact it is just beginning, and action is no longer a recommendation; it has become a requirement if we are to save the planet.

The County Sustainability Group was founded upon the principles of developing the community’s respect for the earth’s finite amount of resources as well as it’s natural systems, caring for the earth, and assuring a vibrant life for the future generations. I share this respect and demonstrate it in numerous ways. For instance, in the summer I work as a naturalist at Sandbanks Provincial Park, surveying wildlife populations, managing invasive species, and educating guests about the importance and impact that human usage of the Park has on the environment. I teach younger people to care for our planet and appreciate things usually taken for granted, hoping that they will be more mindful of their actions and initiate changes for the benefit of the planet.

Respect for the earth is the first step. Next, as 350 affirms, comes action, and finding solutions to problems we face. As climate change becomes a climate emergency, action is no longer an option, it is a necessity for the future to be prosperous.

As pivotal as action is in fighting the climate emergency humanity faces, the actions necessary are too large for one individual to handle, and that’s why the 350 and the County Sustainability Group’s focus on community is essential. This emphasis is very important to me as the majority of my activism comes from inspiring those around me. Growing this community of people that are passionate about solving our climate emergency is the most important step in providing flourishing life for the future, because as said by Jane Goodall – “You cannot go a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

Being so involved in my school has lead me to pursue a career in aerospace engineering, where I can be on the forefront of change: designing new technology with the health of the environment in mind; and create with environmental ethics in mind. I feel strongly that we need to change as a society, and all future technology needs to be green technology. I can make a difference in an industry that has neglected consideration of the planet in the past.

The solution to climate change is much more than individual actions. In order to overcome the climate emergency we face, we must work as a community, spread our passion to others, and bring forth opportunities for everyone to make a difference, because if we don’t change now, we will never have another chance.

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