Today I would like to introduce an amazing organization that is doing great work. Climate Guides is a Vancouver-based non-profit working towards climate change action. The basis of this organization is to provide mentorship for youth pursuing climate change action. This mentorship offers youth a support system, financial aid and a community of like-minded individuals. Climate Guides co-founder Caroline Merner graciously agreed to share her journey and experience with me today.
*This is a Paraphrased Interview
1. Q: How do you think Climate Guides fits into a positive environmental news narrative?
A: Climate Guides believes they can best contribute to a positive news narrative by telling their stories and sharing their experiences. This idea came from Caroline’s undergraduate thesis, “The Psychology of Effective Environmental Communication”. During Caroline’s research, she found that people are largely motivated by either science-based facts or personal relatability. Stemming from this research, Caroline and her team decided to share their mentorship experiences as a way of creating a personable connection with their audience.
2. Q: Why do you think a positive environmental news narrative is crucial right now?
A: The current narrative we have been seeing has been one of doom and gloom. In this narrative we are left feeling insignificant and powerless. The science of climate change is undeniable. As humans we have significantly impacted our environment, and thus accountability is needed. Climate Guides hopes to foster this sense of accountability and translate it into community-based action.
3. Q: How can one help/support/or get involved with your initiative?
A: Currently, Climate Guides mentorship cohorts are Vancouver based, so as of right now you can get involved by spreading the word and sharing their message. Climate Guides is also always looking to collaborate with like-minded people and initiatives.
4. Q: Can you describe some of the projects created by the mentees and mentors?
A: Emily Lowan, a recent Climate Guides mentee, was looking to create a project that helped alleviate plastic pollution. Emily plans to turn plastic waste into 3D building material. These structures could then be sold within the community as a fundraiser. Emily’s goal is to change the way we view waste and its life cycle.
Another Mentee, Grace Nosek, is working towards creating her own podcast on the topic of climate change action, working with the meteorologist and founder of the podcast 2050 degrees of change. Grace Nosek will explore how storytelling can be another way in which we can engage others and share our message.
5. Q: What inspired you to create the Climate Guides?
A: Caroline travelled to the Arctic with the organization Students on Ice. On this trip, Caroline witnessed the impacts of climate change first hand. During the trip, Caroline met Marina Melanidis, the co-founder of Climate Guides. Caroline and Marina worked alongside scientists, elders and other youth. Everyone they met on their trip seemed to have an encouraging and positive outlook surrounding climate change. Naturally, mentorships evolved from this atmosphere of encouragement and support. Marina and Caroline loved this concept of mentorship and it became their foundation for Climate Guides.
6. Q: Where can you see Climate Guides going in the future?
A: Climate Guides has completed their first cohort of mentees and mentors this year. The first step is to evaluate this first cohort. After doing so, their second cohort of mentees and mentors will be launched. Climate Guides is also looking into the possibility of opening similar cohorts and initiatives in other cities. Climate Guides hopes to eventually have some paid staff to ensure the sustainability of their program. Overall, Climate Guides is always open to new opportunities that come their way.
7. Q: How has your journey been co-founding the Climate Guides?
A: Caroline describes how she has enjoyed being with the organization from the ground up. Experiencing the growth and change, she emphasizes the importance of trusting your team, which has been a key factor in the success of Climate Guides.
If you would like more information, check out Climate Guides on social media.
Do you know of any other organizations/non-profits that are also contributing to this positive news narrative?