After turning 18 just before B.C.’s snap election in October, Saanich high school student Kate O’Connor was among the youngest candidates in the province when she ran as the BC Green Party candidate in Saanich South. So when Starfish Canada named her one of the year’s Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25, the politically active teen was right at home among other young change-makers.
⭐ Meet the winners for 2020’s Canada's Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25! ⭐
Congratulations to this years’ amazing winners from coast to coast to coast! Learn more about the incredible winners here: https://t.co/kSKDg8JLWC #Top25Environmentalists #TheStarfishTurnsTen pic.twitter.com/13VDD8iVOA
— The Starfish Canada (@thestarfishca) November 30, 2020
O’Connor was excited and honoured to be included. She’d heard about Starfish Canada’s annual award from Saanich Coun. Ned Taylor – who nabbed the award himself in April. Taylor, who was elected in 2018 at age 19, encouraged O’Connor to apply.
In her winner’s bio, O’Connor said she believes meaningful climate action will occur when elected officials grasp “the urgency of the climate crisis.”
During her provincial election campaign this year, the teen advocated for a green economy, ending oil and gas subsidies and reinvesting in renewable energy. She’s also passionate about intergenerational leadership and getting young people involved in politics.
After the election, she told Black Press Media that she was pleased to have had the opportunity to show voters that “young people can and should have a place in politics”
Winners receive mentorship, online conferences and networking with the other winners. O’Connor is looking forward to meeting her fellow environmentalists, learning from their work and hopefully collaborating in the future.
Hailey May, 24 and another Greater Victoria resident, also made the list. May works as the managing director of Youth4Nature and has done extensive work on environmental policy in Canada and around the world – from the B.C. Green Caucus to the 2019 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Madrid.