The 2017 Our Poles Our Planet Ottawa Conference is led by Josh Thompson, a 2016 SOI Arctic Expedition alumnus, along with a team of dedicated high school students from the Ottawa area.
The 2017 Our Poles Our Planet Vancouver Conference is led by Denise Lee, a 2016 SOI Arctic Expedition alumna, in addition to an executive team of secondary students from the Greater Vancouver area. These events are 2 of 5 planned for this year in association with Our Poles Our Planet, whose full team is composed of 15 high school and university students from across Canada and the USA.
Last year, two hundred high school students in Toronto participated in the 2016 Our Poles Our Planet conference, the brainchild of Students On Ice Alumnus Robert Adragna. The conference demonstrated that the world’s polar regions are the past, present and future of our planet. The conference featured presentations from polar experts, National Geographic photographers, expedition leaders/adventurers, and climate scientists. Students were engaged in seminars where they were able to engage and collaborate with like-minded peers under the guidance of mentors. Youth were enlightened with the motivation, understanding and tools needed to make a concrete difference in their own communities.
Given last year’s success, Our Poles Our Planet is now rapidly expanding across the nation, with the goal of holding similar events in 5 major cities across Canada. We hope to ensure that every young person in Canada is given the opportunity to develop an understanding of the fundamental significance of the Arctic and Antarctic, along with our collective humanitarian duty to protect them. The 2017 Ottawa and Vancouver Conferences aim to build that understanding in leaders who will create positive change.
The Our Poles Our Planet Vancouver Conference will be held March 4th, 2017, and the Ottawa Conference on March 10th, 2017. Conference costs include venue, food, speakers, items for participants, and other costs. Through partnership with the Canadian Museum of Nature and other potential venues, we hope to alleviate some of these costs, particularly those pertaining to the conference space. Honorarium-compensated speakers and in-kind donations will further alleviate costs, however those relating to food and other categories will still need to be covered. Through donations, we hope to be able to create a conference that is completely free for attendees.
Our conference will engage 300 youth in the Ottawa and Vancouver area, in topics relating to polar sustainability and culture through a one-day conference including speakers, workshops, and inter-student dialogue. We will make students aware of resources and networks to help them in their own endeavours related to the poles. The conference will connect inquisitive students with experts on the polar regions, and inspire students about the polar regions by:
- Providing foundational ideas and knowledge about the poles
- Inspiring awe for the overwhelming beauty of Earth’s polar regions
- Emphasizing the global environmental influence possessed by the polar regions
- Educating about the history of the Arctic’s native peoples, and the continuing effects of colonialism still felt today.
- Sharing the stories and rich culture of Canada’s northern peoples.
- Bringing to attention current threats to polar sustainability.
- Fostering a collective determination to work together in order to address these threats
- Introducing youth to the tools and networks needed to make a difference in their local communities
Of our $4000 goal, $2000 will go to the Vancouver conference and the other $2000 will go to the Ottawa conference. In each conference, this funding will contribute towards
- Reimbursing travel costs and providing honorariums to presenters, specially selected polar experts who hail from far and wide
- Securing venue space for the Conference
- Covering logistical costs associated with each conference such as printing, conference folders, and promotional material
- Marketing costs both digital and print to reach out to the maximum posssible number of potential attendees.
- Hospitality costs for presenters and participants on the day of the conference.