Climate Matters

Sparking Creative Reflection & Critical Dialogue about Climate Justice.


Climate Matters is a multi-phased production and outreach initiative that uses digital media and geo-mapping to prompt dialogue about climate justice within schools, communities and larger public institutions.

The first phase (2015) was about making climate-focused films. This part of the program saw 24 young people from 6 different BC communities (primarily rural, under-resourced, and Indigenous) being mentored by local media artists to create digital stories that focus on matters of local ecological significance and concern.

The next phase, which is still active, is about getting the videos out there through youth developed and facilitated workshops, and interactive web-maps, that showcase stories of climate-based resistance and renewal. Both of these outreach activities support young people in learning about current resource extraction practices, local resistance to them, and the role art and media can play in encouraging us to reflect upon the impacts fossil fuel dependence is having on our collective future.

More About Web Maps is an interactive web-map that enables users to see all of the Climate Matters videos and other stories of environmental struggle and stewardship, ‘in context’. The placement of the circular story markers indicates where the featured videos were made, while the ‘industrial markers’ map out adjacent resource development initiatives (which help to establish why they were made). From mining projects and pipelines to hydro and oil and gas development, these clickable markers begin to tell the story of how actual and proposed resource development is impacting local communities around the province.

More About Workshops

The school-based workshops, collaboratively developed and facilitated by young people from across BC, integrate the Climate Matters videos, and help students dig deeper into the issues they address. In addition to planting new seeds of understanding, these workshops give school-aged children opportunities to creatively reflect upon their natural surroundings, and why they are worth protecting.

Work + Process

Take a look at some of the videos the program participants have created, and see pictures of the program in process.

Word from Participants + Mentors

Climate Matters’ reflects an understanding of the connections between culture, language and the land, and is providing vital knowledge transfer to new generations of leaders, who will then apply the learning they receive to create high impact stories that are important to them. It’s been an honour to have such an amazing opportunity to work with young people who genuinely care about protecting our precious environment. My perspective as an Indigenous storyteller truly aligns with AMES, and the intentions of this project.

Cowboy Smithx

Blackfoot Filmmaker/ Climate Matters Mentor

As someone who has felt alienated by the environmental movement historically, I wanted to help create spaces for young people to begin to explore what climate justice means, and I believe AMES plays an important role in making this a reality.

Kelsey Sparrow

Climate Matters Participant + Facilitator, Access to Media Education Society

I deeply believe that we need to empower young people in general and specifically Indigenous youth with the media-based skills to draw public attention to and have dialogue about the social and environmental impacts of current practices. Throughout the years AMES has continually lifted up the voices of youth and strengthened the capacity of youth leadership in communities across BC…this program offers timely and critical programming.

Melina Laboucan-Massimo

Lubicon Cree First Nation Climate & Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace Canada

Program Facilitators

Kim Villagante - Facilitator

Kim’s Ancestry dates back to the Philippines but she was born on Unceded Coast Salish Territory. Much of her passion for all things arts, but her deepest connections are to hip-hop, the art of word, drawing and acting. She Identifies as an artivist as Kim uses art not just as a form of expression but also a form of resistance within a system that was not built for people like her and for the people she loves. Kim is a graduate of UBC’s Visual Arts and Art History program, however, much of her education and deschooling has come about outside of institutional setting and rather through grassroots organizing, hip hop social justice communities and through listening to hip-hop music and spoken word. Kim is drawn to this work because she recognizes how her knowledge on social issues are not isolated from climate justice issues. The land, water and all of mother earth, play a part in a community’s healing and growth and she wants to be a part of connecting those two dots.

Ayendri Perera - Lead Facilitator

Ayendri is a Sri Lankan born Vancouver-based activist, facilitator, and youth organizer. She is passionate about intersectional social movements and has been active for years with organizing rooted in anti-oppression, decolonization, and environmental justice.   In the past, Ayendri worked with Youth 4 Global Change, a youth action team committed to the eradication of poverty and inequality, in all of its forms. Currently, Ayendri works with AMES as a mentor and lead facilitator, organizing our facilitation team. She is also currently a facilitator with AMES’ current HumanEYES program.

Puja Prakash - Facilitator

Puja is a community educator working towards building capacity among communities through arts and dialogue based workshops and programs. She moved to Vancouver from Mumbai, two years ago, where she worked with youth in urban slums on a wide range of issues from public hygiene to social justice and self-expression. Puja likes to spend as much of her time as she can connecting to nature and the unceded land on which she now lives. She believes that this connection is important and shapes one’s identity, stories, and experiences.

Molly Billows - Facilitator

Molly Billows comes from the Xwémalhkwu (Homalco) Nation. She is of mixed ancestry and grew up in the area around Victoria, BC. She moved to Vancouver four years ago to attend university. She is entering her final year in the Global Resource Systems Program in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems, where she is focusing on Indigenous Peoples and Land Health. She is currently volunteering and doing research with the Culturally Relevant Urban Wellness (CRUW) Program, and feels so much gratitude for being able to work with youth, elders and knowledge keepers at the UBC Farm on the beautiful territory of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓-speaking Musqueam people. She also works with Access and Diversity at UBC as a program assistant with the ‘Really?’ campaign, a program which aims to empower individuals to respond to discriminatory comments and situations, and is on the executive team of the First Nations Studies Student Association (FNSSA).

Kelsey Sparrow - Facilitator

ʔe:nθa kelsǝy, tǝniʔ cǝn ʔǝ ƛ̓ xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Kelsey Sparrow) is a mixed-race indigenous person of Musqueam, Anishinaabe, and white ancestry. Kelsey identifies as a visual artists that primarily creates with her hands, and is in the early stages of exploring the art of film. Her first engagement with AMES was through a climate justice project with AMES where she assisted in the creation of “Thicker than Oil”, a short video about the protest that took place on Burnaby mountain. Found on As someone who has felt alienated by the environmental movement historically, Kelsey very much wanted to help create spaces for young people to begin to explore what climate justice means, and believes AMES plays an important role in making this a reality.

Artists + Mentors

Elle-Maija Tailfeathers • Melina Laboucan-Massimo • Helen Haig Brown • Sara Kendall • Amanda Strong • Cowboy Smithx • Damien Eaglebear • Carrielynn Victor • Nitanis Desjarlais • John Rampanen • Colin Van Loon • Jasmine Thomas • Jessica Hallenbeck
Nilesh Patel • Sean Devlin

Workshop Particulars

A dynamic example of youth-led learning in action, Climate Matters workshops inspire critical conversations and creative reflection about Climate Justice that help students connect with their communities and the land.

Climate Matters workshops are:

• Designed for BC students from grades 6 to12.
• Youth-facilitated, and model environmentally-minded leadership
• Indigenous-centred (featuring youth-made videos found on

Climate Matters Workshops support and contribute to burgeoning commitments (expressed by the Provincial Ministry of Education and in keeping with the Truth and Reconciliation process) to meaningfully embed Indigenous worldviews and perspectives into all aspects of the school curriculum from K-12.

All of the Climate Matters Workshops incorporate a meaningful and elaborate acknowledgment of the territories (that explicitly unpack the notion of ‘unceded’), showcase youth-created videos that center Indigenous voices and perspectives, and feature activities that critically and creatively explore connections within and between human and natural ecosystems.

Defining Indigenous Centred

Climate Matters Workshops support and contribute to burgeoning commitments (expressed by the Provincial Ministry of Education and in keeping with the Truth and Reconciliation process) to meaningfully embed Indigenous worldviews and perspectives into all aspects of the school curriculum from K-12

All of the Climate Matters Workshops incorporate a meaningful acknowledgment of the territories (that begin to decolonize the commonly held understanding of geography, history and economics), youth-created videos that center Indigenous voices and perspectives, and activities that critically and creatively explore connections within and between human and natural ecosystems.[/toggle]

Download a printable .pdf copy of Workshop Details below.

Workshop Themes

Community Resistance

Explore how community organizing is a powerful tool for the protection of cultural and physical environments. Featuring the video:  Never Give Up

Social Movements

Analyze the relationship between personal + collective action and social change. Featuring the video:  Thicker than Oil

Art As Activism

Explore how artistic practice + creative reflection can help students (re)connect with and protect the land. Featuring the video: Save Our Waters

Stories for the Future

Reflect on how history is told and the legacies we want to leave for future generations. Featuring the video: Pictograph

Our Funders

Thank you to Bracken Hanuse Corlett for the Standing-Ground logo design!

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Access to Media Education Society (AMES)

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