Change Your World

Change Your World

The Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) at York University invites high schools to CHANGE YOUR WORLD, on October 17, 2019! Since 1968, FES has been at the forefront of cutting-edge environmental well-being and social justice research that focuses directly within our natural, built, social, political, cultural and artistic environments. However, with each passing year, new challenges arise on our planet, within our world and in our local communities that the need to study our environment is more important than ever.

The goal of the Change Your World conference is to inspire youth in Ontario to be the next generation of environmentally active citizens. We welcome high school students and their teachers to this dynamic one-day conference that brings together youth and community organizations from across Ontario to discuss, collaborate and learn how to make sustainable and equitable change in our world.




York University, Keele Campus


Opening Ceremonies

York University, Keele Campus

10:45am to 11am


York University, Keele Campus

11am to Noon

Workshop #1

York University, Keele Campus

Noon to 1pm


York University, Keele Campus

1pm to 2pm

Workshop #2

York University, Keele Campus

2:00pm to 2:30pm

Closing Ceremonies

York University, Keele Campus

Highlights from Change Your World 2018

Keynote Speaker and Workshop Organizations

Keynote Speakers

Past Keynote Speakers

2018 Conference Workshops

Change Your World 2019: Workshop/Exhibitor Registration

Change Your World offers students and teachers the opportunity to expand their passion for the environment with hands-on skill building and interactive workshops. Supported by our dynamic eco-partners across the province, these workshops will provide you with the skills you need to make positive change in your school & communities.


This list will help your students select the workshops that they are most interested in attending. All attending students will attend The 3% Project – Foundation of Environmental Stewadship workshop for one of their sessions. They can choose three of the sessions offered below for the other two workshops they will attend at the conference.

We encourage students from each school to select a variety of different workshops and bring back the information to share with their peers. Once they have decided which sessions they would like to attend, please complete the Workshop Allocation form and submit this to us by Wednesday, October 3, 2018.

Speak Your Peace – Youth Voices in Social Action
What role do the youth of today’s generation play in bringing about sustainable global change and social justice? How can youth be a voice for the victims of injustices from the past? In this interactive workshop participants examine what it means to be responsible global citizens, collaborate with fellow youth & Educators to develop strategies for equitable and just action, and explore core questions about humanity through a historical investigation of WWII in Asia. Using examples of the youth who have contributed to fostering ALPHA’s goals of peace, justice, and reconciliation, the workshop inspires to empower young people to create change in their local and global communities.

Organic Agriculture: Philosophy and Technique
Presentation on organic agriculture focusing on the fundamentals of building healthy soils, the importance of soils to global chemical cycles (including the carbon, nitrogen, and water cycles), what it means to be organic, and the tools/techniques used by small-scale organic farmers.

Become a Citizen Scientist with School Watch
Citizen scientists conduct real environmental research while learning about ecosystem health, positive actions and environmental science. Survey birds, measure tree canopy, map habitat and more! EcoSpark’s School Watch shows students how to lead a citizen science project in school ground green spaces and connect their data with international research efforts. This workshop will help you participate in environmental monitoring with others in your school and community to engage people and contribute to a better understanding of healthy ecosystems.

Helping my peers find green changes
As environmentally-minded people we generally voice our reasons to change with people. Behavioural science tell us these reasons need to come from our audience. This workshop will introduce a concept from behavioural science to help participants understand how to motivate change in others.Participants will practice this communication technique in this interactive learning experience.

Fashion Leadership is Climate Leadership
In this participatory workshop, we will focus on fashion, waste, climate change and insights on how to spark youth leadership around the topic. My Clothes My World is a creative classroom immersion program that digs into the environmental and social cost of fashion. We explore what we’ve coined the 7 R’s of Fashion as a way to address this waste. Attendees will be personally and professionally inspired with strategies and actions they can take at home, in their community and when they shop.

Ontario Envirothon: Growing Green Leaders
The Ontario Envirothon helps students explore career and education pathways in the environmental section through hands-on workshops and a friendly competition. Participants in this workshop will learn how they can participate in the Ontario Envirothon and take part in a min-Envirothon competition.

Listening to the Land: An Introduction to Environmental Justice and Storytelling
Join the Indigenous Environmental Justice (IEJ) Project, led by Canadian Research Chair, Deborah McGregor, to explore stories on the land. How can Indigenous storytelling point to justice and environmental issues? How can Indigenous and non-Indigenous people move toward reconciliation through storytelling? What story can you tell?

17 Percent By 2020!
Protected areas provide safe sanctuaries for wildlife, increase our resilience to climate change, sustain and strengthen Indigenous knowledge and value systems, and maintain functioning natural ecosystems. In this workshop, learn about the global protected areas commitment, Ontario Nature™ campaign to protect the places we love, and how your youth voice can make a difference! With the percentage of protected areas in Ontario currently at just over 10 percent, it’s time for an all-out effort to meet the target.

Driving our Future: Clean Energy, Made in Ontario
What do emerging technology trends, and the global climate imperative tell us about the future of our economy? Learn about how the combination of electric vehicles and renewable energy, represent a huge opportunity to fight climate change, save money for drivers, and make Ontario a global leader.

Food and Climate Change
Ever wondered about how your food affects, and is affected by climate change? Join us for this interactive workshop where we explore the relationship between what we eat and global warming. We will also be demonstrating ways in which you can grow your own food make your own tea, and showcasing the Regenesis seed library.

Green Collar Careers
How will you prepare for the future economy? Do you expect to retire from the same job after 30 years of work, or will you have to hone your skills as you bounce from opportunity to opportunity? What realities exist today that will be disrupted by technology? What job opportunities will climate change create in a world that will be forced to become more sustainable? How will green jobs fit into this scenario? These questions and more will be discussed during this workshop. You will learn how the 4th industrial revolution will impact the coming green jobs market. You will take a skills assessment and then explore various green career options. The workshop will end with discussion on how your online activity may impact your real world employment.

Sustainability, Art, and the Design Process
In this workshop, participants will create a composition using non-traditional materials. In working with non-traditional materials, students get out of their comfort zones and are forced to come up with creative solutions. Workshop participants will get a hands-on experience that will help them to work through the unpredictability of their creative processes. If we can embrace the unpredictable, we can begin to see metaphors for working within social, economic, and environmental problems that we cannot possibly foretell. And that is sustainable!

Revitalizing Indigenous Peoples Language, Arts, Fashion & Traditional Knowledges
The purpose of this workshop will be geared towards advancing the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions 94 Calls to Action. It will highlight the success of these calls thus far, and discuss areas where improvement is still required. The meaning of revitalization from our Indigenous perspective: To make something whole again. Our team will demonstrate how we are moving this initiative forward through the Arts, Fashion Industry, Traditional Knowledges, and Sustainable Housing Development

Vermicomposting 101
This workshop is an introduction to setting up a vermicomposter in your home or classroom. It only takes 20 minutes to set up and you will have free soil for life for your gardens at school and at home. In this workshop, we will start by building a bin and bed for the worms and then we will move on to learning how to maintain your vermicomposter with helpful tips for your school!

Connecting Change Agents and Communities with Tree Giveaways
In this workshop, we will learn about why trees are so important to protect and conserve in urban environments and learn about Toronto’s Every Tree Counts initiative. We will explore ways that you can connect with and address the needs of your own unique community through solutions-focused problem solving. Come prepared to meet new people and engage in a small activity!

Ontario’s Elusive Rattlesnake, and the Myths of Popular Media
In this workshop you will learn all about Ontario’s only venomous snake, the Massasauga Rattlesnake, and its conservation story. Once you are aware of the facts, we will challenge you with some general snake stereotypes present in today’s popular culture. Using the Massasauga Rattlesnake as an example, we will talk about the challenges of “Fact vs. Fiction” when sharing conservation messaging. You will have the chance to share your own experiences and challenges surrounding misunderstood environmental and conservation issues.

Microplastics: Tiny but Dangerous
Plastic pollution in the world’s aquatic and coastal ecosystems is a major environmental issue which is being progressively fueled by a strong dependence on disposable products. Microplastics are gaining attention as people are become increasingly aware of what they are and the role we can play in their minimization. In this hands-on session, students will learn about microplastics – what they are, why they are a problem, and what work is currently being done in the field.

Oily Birds in Canada
When an oil spill that kills birds occurs in Canada, oil companies are charged under the Migratory Bird Convention Act. Using an interactive approach, we’ll consider the outcome of two case studies.

Art and Plant Based Dyes
This workshop will use plants that continue to nourish and remind Anishinaabe people of their long histories around the Great Lakes region, to make natural inks. The participants will learn respectful use of plants to make plant-based dyes and inks. We will use these pigments to make simple screen-prints on paper and fabric.

Be a Filmmaker for the United Nations!
Learn about the Youth Climate Report, a film project created by students around the world. It is currently being used by the United Nations for their annual climate change summits known as the COP conferences. You will participate in this important project and introduce you to a new technology called Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping.


We have developed a professional development day for teachers attending the conference that centers on bringing environmental education into your classrooms. All teachers will participate in the following sessions with:

Youth-Adult Partnerships: Active Youth Participation in School
This workshop will showcase the importance and effectiveness of using the principles of YAP (Youth Adult Partnerships) as a transformative tool in empowering youth to get active within their school communities. Participants will reflect on their own experiences, and share their ups and downs when it comes to youth participation in school-wide environmental initiatives.

Empower your students to change the world with Resources for Rethinking (
We understand that being an educator is no easy task! It requires a lot of planning, organization and accomplishing many goals! Most teachers stress that engaging your students in school is one of your major goals. What better way to engage your students than by making learning more meaningful? One question that is often asked is: can teachers find the resources to teach this way Resources for Rethinking ( is an award-winning resource that contains resources that have been reviewed by a classroom teacher and matched to relevant curriculum outcomes for all provinces and territories in Canada. There is no charge to use this database and the majority of the materials it features can be downloaded for free immediately. It’s a tool that helps YOU as educators to engage your students by integrating sustainability into your teaching and is an excellent tool to support student-led action projects while meeting curriculum requirements! Learn how to utilize the site to its fullest potential today throughout this active demonstration. (We recommend you bring your laptop or mobile phones to the session).

Ontario EcoSchools: A Framework for Action
This session showcases how Ontario EcoSchools certification provides a rich and varied framework for school communities to engage in environmental learning and action. We will detail real-life examples from certified schools, as well as specific actions, lessons, and initiatives that are used within the program. The session will end with an interactive activity that has participants create an environmentally-themed campaign to bring back to their school community

Featured Session

All students will attend

3% Project is coming to Change Your World!

3% Project mobilizes 1,000,000 Canadian youth – that’s 3% of Canada – through 5 national tours across 600 high schools. 70% of our tour route is in Indigenous and rural communities with a population of less than 100,000. We present climate solutions in the holistic context of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Fourth Industrial Revolution themed: “The Future We Want.” Students identify, analyze, and develop solutions to their community’s Biggest Sustainability Challenge, exercising the muscle for sustainability problem-solving skills to make it a core competency of our generation. Our full-time mentors across Canada provide mentorship for every school to empower the students to take climate action in their local communities today. In essence, 3% Project empowers the final generation who can solve climate change. #P3RCENT

Our Sponsors

Hospitality Sponsor

Workshop Leader Recognition



Lily Piccone

Conference Coordinator, Faculty of Environmental Studies

Aliya Din

Student Conference Coordinator