Communities Taking Climate Action: Leading Courageously

November 14-15, 2023

Engaging Session Topics

We are developing a diverse array of plenary panels, masterclasses, and workshops that converge courageous leadership and inclusive climate action for a holistic learning journey. Our hope is that over the two days, you will be exposed to new ideas and be motivated by the work of peers and partners in the climate movement so that you leave feeling equipped with actionable tools and insights to continue your work building more resilient, equitable, and sustainable futures. Each session will facilitate deep conversation, skill-building, and creative exploration, at the same time as providing specific examples and success stories from on-the-ground practitioners, all centered around the theme of "Leading Courageously." 

Gathering Agenda

Day 1: November 14, 2023
Day 2: November 15, 2023
10:00 - 10:45 AM ET Pre-Gathering Activity: Embrace & Begin: Introductions & Intention Setting Pre-Gathering Activity: Reflect & Aspire: Connecting With the Senses
11:00 - 11:30 AM ET Opening Ceremony with Elder Mike Mitchell and Welcome Remarks
11:30 AM - 12:15 PM ET Keynote: How co-creation is driving local green transitions globally by Dr. Jacob Torfing Reflecting, sensemaking and integrating insights from Day 1
12:15 - 1:15 PM ET

Plenary Panel: Leading With Care: Tending to Individual and Collective Well-Being Amidst Climate Emergency with Dr. Melissa Lem, Veronica Nhio-son, and Michelle Brass 

Plenary Panel: Adaptation and Resilience: Community-Led Disaster Planning and Response with Lilia Yumagulova, Omar Perez-Figueroa, and Christine Boyle 
1:15 - 1:30 PM ET   Art Interlude
1:30 - 2:00 PM ET Break
2:00 - 3:30 PM ET

Workshops 1 & 2:

Workshops 3 & 4:

3:30 - 4:00 PM ET Break
4:00 - 5:15 PM ET

Masterclasses 1 & 2:

Masterclasses 3 & 4:

5:15 - 5:30 PM ET Closing (Day 2 only)
6:00 PM ET Post-gathering in-person events in select communities. 


Session descriptions are below.










Plenary Panels

Leading With Care: Tending to Individual and Collective Well-Being Amidst Climate Emergency - As the impacts of climate change intensify, so does the burden on our mental health and well-being. Eco-anxiety, eco-grief, and eco-trauma are rapidly rising among Canadians of all ages, with youth and equity-deserving groups being particularly affected. Join this plenary panel to explore how we, as climate leaders, can respond to how the crisis is impacting the well-being of those we are in community with and ourselves. The panel will explore on-the-ground approaches that collaborative leaders and communities are taking to promote positive health and foster resilience. Participants will gain actionable insights and tools to lead with care, build belonging and connection, and amplify the voices of youth and others with lived experiences of climate injustice.  


Adaptation and Resilience: Community-Led Disaster Planning and Response - Forest fires, heatwaves, and other extreme weather events have become all too common in Canada, and individuals and communities are feeling the impacts. This plenary panel will dive into the realm of community-led disaster planning and response. Join us to gain insights from experts who have successfully built adaptive and resilient communities across Canada. Participants will leave this session with practical strategies to safeguard their community against the impacts of fires, floods, and other climate-related disasters.



Unleashing the Power of Technology and Data for Climate Action  - Technology and data, including rapid developments in digital infrastructure and collaboration, have the potential to drastically accelerate climate action. They also pose significant risks and there is a growing need for greater digital equity. In this workshop, we will explore the opportunities and challenges of using innovative technological and data practices to drive just and equitable climate transitions. Hear from leading experts on how cutting-edge technologies and solutions can propel us toward a – digitally-supported – sustainable future that places equity and justice at its core.


Creating Bold Transitions: The Role of Arts in Climate Action - This inspiring workshop will explore the transformative power of the arts in climate action. We will hear about how artists and storytellers are pushing boundaries, sparking conversations, and driving change through their visual art, music, writing, film, and other forms of expression. We will explore the intersection of creativity and climate transitions, focusing on how the arts can be leveraged to ignite imagination and drive bold action.


Intersectional Environmentalism in Action - Climate action, in all its forms, has been happening in communities across Turtle Island as far back as humans have lived on these lands. Intersectional environmentalism foregrounds this in ongoing climate transition efforts by centering the lived wisdom of those with long histories of living harmoniously with their environments and responding to ecological changes. By joining this workshop, participants will hear examples of how to apply this approach in collaborative climate planning and action, with insights on how to build relationships with and support Black, Indigenous, and racialized climate leadership, especially by those who are multiply marginalized (e.g., as young people, disabled, in poverty, gender diverse), to transform power in the process.


Co-Creating Local Climate Transitions: Celebrating Urban and Community-Led Climate Innovations - Cities and communities are on the frontlines of the climate crisis and are leading the transition towards a more regenerative and equitable future. For two years now, Tamarack’s Community Climate Transitions network has brought together cohorts of established and emerging climate-focused local collaboratives and its Innovation Fund is supporting local projects. In this workshop, we will hear from some of the communities taking charge of their climate futures through co-creation. From sustainable urban planning to grassroots initiatives, our panel of leading practitioners will inspire you with success stories and actionable strategies to co-create local climate transitions. 




Moving from Talk to Action: Holding and Facilitating Groups to Achieve Goals Together  

Sharpen your facilitation skills in this masterclass co-hosted by Ritika Sharma Kurup, licensed social worker and certified Results-based Facilitator, and Danya Pastuszek, Tamarack Co-CEO, both of whom have extensive experience in facilitating teams and coalitions. This session is for you if you find yourself facilitating conversations within your organization or convening multi-sector collaboratives working towards a shared goal and are looking for tangible tools and approaches for working across differences. The tools shared will help participants design and facilitate meetings that authentically engage all key stakeholders in community climate action and achieve tangible results. 


Innovative Community-Ownership and Finance Models Empowering Climate Solutions 

This workshop will celebrate the role of community ownership and wealth models in driving more inclusive and equitable climate solutions. Masterclass facilitator, Andrea Pierce, will dive deep into how to authentically engage communities to move away from extractive and privatized mentalities and practices in favour of collective well-being and progress on climate targets. This session is for you if you want to explore case examples of innovative cooperative and social finance initiatives that have made meaningful progress on community goals related to racial equity, food justice, and climate justice, and all their intersections while putting collective ownership at the center.   


Harnessing Social Media for Collective Conversations and Action on Climate Change 

Social media has transformed the way we communicate, how we consume information, and how we connect with others; in the context of the climate crisis, it promises to galvanize momentum for climate action. In this session, Karishma Porwal, a sustainability communications professional, will guide you through a practice-based masterclass on how to use social media for climate communications and organizing. She will provide participants with tried and tested tips on how to reach their intended audiences and maximize their impact through the words they are using. This session is for both beginners and long-time users of social media and will help you explore the nuances of communicating about climate online in the face of polarization, unforgiving algorithms, and other context-specific barriers. 


Outil de réflexion pour un développement des communautés territoriales inscrit dans la transition socioécoloque (en français seulement)

Les membres de l’équipe de recherche partenariale sur la transition socioécologique et la philanthropie ont élaboré un outil de réflexion qui s’adresse aux communautés territoriales afin de les aider à s’inscrire dans la transition. Comment nos communautés peuvent-elles répondre à la crise écologique tout en favorisant le développement social et des communautés? Réservez votre place à cette session pour le découvrir! À titre de membre du Collectif des partenaires en développement des communautés qui collabore à l’équipe de recherche, l’Institut Tamarack vous convient à la présentation de cet outil.