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Calvin Trottier-Chi

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I have always enjoyed telling stories. It's what led me to study social sciences and work as an editor for The McGill Tribune. Right now, I think the climate crisis is one of the most important stories to tell. It is a revealing instance of global inequality and the future of the world quite literally depends on our actions today. I also believe telling stories is empowering at some level - if you can identify, and verbalize, the threat, then perhaps you can overcome it.

I recently gradated from McGill University (Winter 2019), studying Honours Political Science and Economics. I committed to taking interdisciplinary approaches whenever I could, tackling topics such as the ecological merits of carbon tax versus cap-and-trade, environmental protection as a form of security, and willingness to pay for sustainability. My time was also devoted to The McGill Tribune, McGill's independent student newspaper, where I led a team of 13 permanent staff in publishing over ten 650-word articles per week. Meanwhile, my work with charities in Vancouver and Uganda illustrated the importance of grassroots approaches as well as just how deeply well-being depends on nature. Nature gives us irreplaceable services, with Canada’s temperate rainforests providing a healing space for West Coast Kids Cancer Foundation; nature can also be dangerous when provoked, with deforestation triggering a massive landslide in Uganda soon after we left, killing over forty people.

In contrast with the massive push for environmental science literacy, I am interested in using my social sciences and communications background to promote environmental policy literacy. There is a clear demand for government action, it’s just that a mix of voter apathy, derision of the humanities, and, ironically, passable political performance has made us take our ability to vote on platforms for granted. I would be very interested in providing a learning centre for environmental policy, equipped with breakdowns of complex regulations, summaries of case studies, and, potentially, educative roleplaying simulations. Such a resource would, I believe, help activists appeal to a wider audience and demand policies that are themselves sustainable - a challenge in addressing climate change is that environmental protections need to exist in perpetuity, so policy needs to be developed with consideration for long-term viability.

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