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G7 Youth to the Rescue
The two winners of Ocean Wise's  Ocean Solutions Challenge travel to Halifax to present their solutions to the G7 Environment Ministers' Meeting.
Posted on November 15, 2018
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Last spring, Ocean Wise and Environment and Climate Change Canada, invited youth ages 18-25 from the G7 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, US) to submit their innovative ocean solutions to challenges facing our oceans. The winners were invited to Halifax in June to present their ideas at the G7 Environment Ministers’ Meeting.

Meet the Winners!

Mathile Jutras

Mathile Jutras

Outrement, QC, Canada

Solution: Carbon labelling to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prevent ocean acidification and deoxygenation

“For consumers sensitized to environmental questions, it is extremely hard to make enlightened decisions about what products have the smallest environmental impact. This is especially the case with globalization and the fact that many products travel to a number of countries between each production step. My solution to help consumers make better choices, and to sensitize others to the impact of their consuming habits is a labeling of the amount of CO2 (and other greenhouse gases in CO2 equivalent) that was emitted for the production and transport of a product. This label would be clearly visible on the product. There could be such labels on electronic devices, clothes, furniture, etc. A color-code could help determine if the amount of CO2 is reasonable or not for a certain type of product.”

Kaoru Yokono, Tokyo, Japan

Solution: Packaging free areas and standardization of plastic free packaging between retailers to reduce plastic pollution

“I would like to first thank Ocean Wise for organizing [the] Oceans Youth Innovation Challenge. It was truly a great opportunity for youth to express ideas directly to the G7 environmental ministers. My idea is to enable supermarkets and retail stores to open or scale-up package-free areas, so that customers could buy products at a cheaper price than packaged products, and could pay what they want for the product. I believe that this will lead to a change in people’s minds toward[s] plastic waste, and enhance ‘reuse’ and ‘reduce of plastic packaging.”

Kaoru Yokono

What was it like to attend the G7 Summit in Halifax?

“What happens when businesses, environmental groups and researchers try to get along? This is what happened during the Ocean Partnership Summit (OPS) that brought together stakeholders (businesses, NGOs, researchers) to discuss ocean issues and  present recommendations  to the G7 Ministers. They discussed plastics, community resilience and sustainable fishing. As one might expect, it’s impossible to represent everyone’s voices with one statement. These actors are surrounded by people who think like them throughout the entire year and as such, it is difficult to expect them to miraculously change their mind after a fifteen-minute conversation. In the end, we find ourselves with somewhat general proposals, nothing too controversial.  No one is against virtue and this is what we focus on.

However, what struck me the most from all the people present, both at the OPS as well as the Ministers and their teams, is that there is an apparent desire to do good and to make things better. Thereafter, the only question left to ask is what is the real power of each individual?” – Mathile Jutras

“On 20th September, me and the other winner of the Oceans Youth Innovation Challenge had an opportunity to present our ideas to the environmental ministers from the G7 countries, and received positive feed back from them.

After that, the two of us had the opportunity to present our solution at the Inspiration Expo of the Oceans Partners Summit. The whole experience was truly life changing as I was able to meet so many people taking leadership to enhance sustainable environment.

I will be co-chairing the G20 Youth Summit (Y20) 2019, where I look forward to gathering youth from G20 countries and discussing how youth can enhance sustainability. I would like to thank Ocean Wise again for this great opportunity.”

[French to follow]

En septembre dernier avait lieu à Halifax le sommet du G7 sur les océans, qui faisait suite au G7 de Charlevoix. Que se passe-t-il derrière ces portes closes? Certains s’imaginent des hommes en complet qui complotent les malheurs du monde, d’autres s’imaginent des discussions houleuses entre politiciens passionnés. En tant que gagnante du concours Défi innovation jeunesse pour les océans, j’ai eu la chance d’assister en partie au sommet, ainsi qu’au Ocean Partnership Summit (OPS) qui se déroulait en parallèle et rassemblait les parties prenantes (entreprises, ONG, chercheurs) sur la question des océans. Voici donc le rapport de l’incursion d’une citoyenne ordinaire dans le sommet du G7 sur les océans.

Qu’arrive-t-il lorsque entreprises, groupes environnementaux et chercheurs essaient de s’entendre ? C’est ce qui se tramait lors du OPS, alors que les acteurs présents avaient la chance d’émettre des recommandations qui seraient ensuite apportées aux ministres du G7. On y a discuté de plastique, de résilience des communautés et de pêche durable. Comme on pourrait s’y attendre, impossible de représenter la voix de chacun sous un seul libellé. Ces acteurs sont entourés de gens qui pensent comme eux durant toute l’année, il est donc difficile de s’attendre à ce qu’ils changent miraculeusement d’idée au bout de 15 minutes de conversation. À la fin, on se retrouve donc avec des propositions un peu générales, pas vraiment controversées. Personne n’est contre la vertu, et on se concentre sur ces points là.

Cependant, ce qui m’a frappé de la part de tous les gens présents, autant au OPS que du côté des ministres et de leur équipe, c’est l’évidente volonté de bien faire, d’améliorer les choses. Par la suite, il ne reste qu’à se demander quel est le réel pouvoir de chacun. »

« A citizen at a G7 summit » Mathile Jutras

 

The G7 Oceans Youth Innovation Challenge was facilitated by Ocean Wise on behalf of the Government of Canada. See all entries on Twitter using the hashtags: #myoceans2050, #mesocéans2050, #meinozean2050, #imieioceani2050, #マイオーシャン2050


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