I am a third-year international Political Science student whose interests lie in the fields of international relations and environmental policy. I became interested in these topics due to the growing climate crisis, and my realisation that the growing number of climate refugees was a human rights crisis.
Due to my interests, this internship with the Climate Reality Project Canada was the perfect opportunity to learn more about the climate crisis as well as to gain experience in the field I would like to pursue, despite not taking the internship for credit. My objectives were to become more informed about the climate crisis as it relates to Canada and vulnerable Canadian populations, as I would like to continue working in Canada after I graduate. This internship allows me to engage my theoretical understandings of political processes and Human Rights in a practical manner, giving me a greater understanding on the practical implications of my degree and furthering my research skills in a practical environment.
The Climate Reality Project Canada is an NGO dedicated to climate education worldwide. It serves as the Canadian component of a global movement of more than 21,000 diverse and dedicated volunteers, from 154 countries around the world. These volunteers have been personally trained by former US Vice President and Nobel Laureate Al Gore to educate the public about the science and impacts of climate change, as well as solutions to address the climate crisis. They seek to raise awareness among all Canadians about the urgency of the climate crisis by training citizens to communicate to the public about the urgency and impact of climate change through the Climate Reality Leadership program. Through this, they engage the public through the presentations, news media and individual conversations as well as through non-partisan grassroots activity. They also promote personal, local, domestic and international initiatives to solve the climate crisis.
My main activities revolve around creating and researching content for the Climate Reality Leaders (CRLs) who deliver presentations. I have two main projects: one focused on Canadian climate research and the other focused on climate justice in Canada.
The Canadian climate research component included sifting through previous Climate Reality Project slides to pull the Canada-focused slides to be used in the new presentation. Alongside this, I researched new content for the power points including citizen movement-related accomplishments, data pertaining to various climate change indicators, as well as Canada-centric climate solutions. These solutions were not only technological but also included structural changes needed on such topics as regulations, Indigenous land rights, consumption, and behavioural changes. After this, I prepared the slides to be created in English and French, along with presenter’s notes and an FAQ section to help our climate reality activists field any potential questions. The climate justice component of my internship was very similar in structure and included research into heavily impacted communities in Canada, which includes a focus on Indigenous communities and populations. I will research the challenges they face, the solutions they create and the support they receive. The solutions I provide will consider what all Canadians can do to help or amplify the most impacted voices.
The biggest highlight of my internship was being able to participate in the Global Climate Reality Leadership training online to be trained by ex-Vice-President Al Gore. This allowed me to witness firsthand his legendary presentations, as well as interact with like-minded people to make connections throughout the world and engage in climate activism online.
Upon entering this internship, I was unsure about my career path and my options for further education. However, through my duties as an intern, I have realized how important the climate crisis is to me and wish to pursue graduate studies in Environmental Policy or an adjacent field in order to continue working on these important issues.
The funding that I received from the Arts Student Employment Fund helped me feel secure in my decision not to move back home due to the pandemic, as it ensured I had enough funds to support myself if any emergencies came up. This has helped me immensely as I feel like I am more connected to my coworkers than I would have otherwise been and allows me to also visit the office once workplace restrictions are lifted.
I have found that working remotely presents its own set of unique challenges, that I have worked to overcome. I found that remaining active in the company Slack and asking questions to my supervisor has really helped me feel connected, despite the remote work environment. I have also found that creating a schedule and sticking to it has been immensely helpful, as it helps me compartmentalise my time, and ensures that I remain on task and complete my requirements.