Youth for Climate Action: Leading Participatory Action Research in Motion

October 14, 2021

Presented with the Child and Youth Participatory Research Network.

As we navigate the multi-pronged challenges that have emerged as a result of climate change and the environmental crisis, it is clear that certain populations will feel the impacts more clearly than others. Children and young people are one of these groups, but they are also structurally excluded from political decision making to affect change within the normal avenues. They are also often excluded from driving the research and research agendas that inform decision-making.

Despite this, they have shown exemplary leadership in catalyzing global movements to question and challenge society at the level of self, institutions, states and world to act more proactively in the face of climate disaster and in the name of climate justice. The presenters were part of an intergenerational process to train and support youth to conduct youth participatory action research on environmental issues that mattered to them. This was part a process led by the David Suzuki Foundation (DSF), the International Institute for Child Rights and Development (IICRD) and the Children’s Environmental Rights Initiative (CERI) to host a virtual child, youth and intergenerational consultation on the right to a healthy environment for the North American region—as part of a series of regional consultations with children and youth across the world to inform the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment.

This session explores this experience and walks participants through some of the participatory processes that it included. 


Date: Thursday, October 14, 2021
Time: 1:00pm - 2:00pm PT


Online via Zoom
Note: This event is held via Zoom Webinar and will be recorded. A link to the Webinar will be distributed via email to registrants prior to the event.


Laura Wright

Laura Wright is the Director of Participatory Methodologies, International Institute for Child Rights and Development (IICRD) and a PhD Researcher, Research and Teaching Fellow, Childhood and Youth Studies Research Group, University of Edinburgh. Laura's research and practice has focused on play and arts based participatory methodologies, children’s meaningful participation, intergenerational partnerships,  child rights, and psychosocial wellbeing in many countries around the world. She is passionate about meaningful collaboration and is an active member on several child and youth-centered networks and boards. 


Antar Abreu

I'm a 16 year old student from Mazatlan, Sinaloa who's passionate about nature and the environment. I've worked as a Mexican youth representative in national and international climate summits, and I'm currently conducting my own research project with a team of other Mexican youth in several parts of the country.

Martha Pitre (she/her)

Martha Pitre is a B.A. student at the Frank McKenna School of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick. When not providing research and admin support at the IICRD, Martha is probably exploring the NB trails or playing her fiddle.

Yolanda Muñoz, Ph.D. (she/her)

Yolanda Muñoz has been a full-time wheelchair user for more than 25 years, and she very much enjoys promoting the inclusion of people with disabilities in social justice movements all over the world. She was born and raised in Mexico, but she is currently based in Montreal. She is co-investigator of the Disability-Inclusive Climate Action Research Program with the Faculty of Law at McGill University. She is a Senior Research Associate with the Canada Research Chair in Human Rights and the Environment. Yolanda has taught the course Gender and Disability at the McGill Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies since 2006. 

You may contact her at: or

Dr. Kathleen Manion (she/her)

Dr. Kathleen Manion is an Associate Professor at Royal Roads University and an Associate at the International Institute of Child Rights and Development. She has been working in research, social and community services, and academia for nearly thirty years. She loves to work on projects that support children and young people thrive. Having lived and worked all over the world, she now calls Victoria, BC her home. Living in such a beautiful place, she is keen to work with children and young people to protect this amazing planet.  

Rebeccah Nelems

Rebeccah Nelems (she/her) is Associate Faculty at the School of Leadership, Royal Roads University. Her work is on eco-social empathy, relational leadership, decolonizing and participatory research. As a scholar practitioner, she works with young people, communities and organizations at the local, national and global levels. She is a sixth generation settler of Irish descent living on the traditional lands of the Xwsepsum and lək̓ʷəŋən families and ancestors, on the Northwest coast of Turtle Island also today known as Vancouver Island.

Carolyn Rakka (she/her)

Upon completion of her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Justice Studies (2020), Carolyn paused to contribute towards the Covid-19 Pandemic Response and is currently working with Alberta Health Services in the Alberta COVID-19 Exposure Response Team (ACERT). She was inspired to further her studies and is now completing an MA in Disaster and Emergency Management at Royal Roads University as its vision of change-making, sustainability, climate action, equity, diversity and inclusion, speaks to her heart. In addition, as the mother of a child with cerebral palsy, she is passionate about disability rights and is committed to child/youth rights and activism in the battle for climate justice. Recently, she has researched youth court cases in the world, which are making a meaningful, significant and urgent difference towards climate justice. When she is not “filling her bucket” with her love of research, you will find her painting and/or enjoying nature in her garden.