“Your ideas have the power to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges, so get involved in your community and contribute to building a brighter, more sustainable future.”
2024 Top 30 Under 30
What specific issue(s) are you taking on, and what inspires you to do so?
My community work involves a holistic understanding of the needs of the most vulnerable populations in our community. My passion for homelessness led me to conduct research with the John Howard Society. Through studying how illicit substance use policies in Alberta intersect with the current homeless crisis, I was able to gain valuable insights from stakeholders and incorporate the perspectives of affected communities into my research.
In addition, I am also passionate about global climate change and its impacts on communities, especially those in countries in the Global South. As a climate policy fellow with the 1834 Fellowship, my team and I collaborated to develop recommendations on climate change adaptation in Small Island Developing States (SIDS). These recommendations were presented to a panel of esteemed judges, and our paper was distributed to various regional teams at Global Affairs Canada. Climate change is a crucial issue championed by youth, and I am proud to be a part of the movement of young people using their voices to protect the planet for generations to come.
What does climate change or climate justice mean to you? To your work?
The countries most impacted by climate change contribute the least to greenhouse carbon emissions. Therefore, to attain climate justice, it is crucial to hold the largest greenhouse emitters, including Canada, responsible for their actions. Large greenhouse emitters need to implement strategies to meet the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement. Additionally, industrialized nations must establish climate change funds and allocate more resources to the loss and damage fund. This will help ensure that vulnerable countries have access to sustainable recovery paths in the face of climate change impacts.
What advice do you have for other young people looking to get involved in sustainable development?
Based on my personal experience, I encourage young individuals to pursue their passions without fear. While it may seem intimidating to engage in activities like joining a youth council, applying for a civic youth forum, or exploring volunteer opportunities, organizations are typically seeking individuals who are dedicated to the SDGs and are driven to improve their communities, just like you. Therefore, I urge you to take the leap and pursue your passions.
Esther with Assistant Deputy Minister of Global Affairs Patricia Pena during a round table meeting with several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and foreign aid organizations from around Alberta.
Esther and fellow participants from the ACGC’s Global Connect program exploring partnerships between local farms and the Canadian Goodgrains Bank, who are working together to end world hunger.
Esther with her fellow ambassadors from Apathy is Boring Edmonton’s 9th cohort while working on their community engagement project on food security and sovereignty.