Blog 4: Autumn Peltier

Autumn Peltier

Image: Autumn Peltier Instagram

“We can’t eat money, or drink oil.”

Born on September 27, 2004, Autumn is only 15 years old and has already made speeches and presentations to the UN and Prime Minister Trudeau – No wonder they call her a “Water Warrior”. Last year the Anishnaabek people nominated her as the Chief Water Commissioner after her Aunt Josephine, the previous commissioner, passed away.  Autumn was born and raised on Manitoulin Island, Northern Ontario. She is Anishnaabek-kwe and a Member of the Wikwemikong First Nation. 

Autumn is like me only in that we were both assigned female at birth, both feminists struggling to have a voice in today’s patriarchal society, and we both care about the unequal and unfair distribution of resources in Canada. Specifically access to clean water. Many reserves are suffering due to the lack of assistance and supplies necessary to ensure a clean water distribution system. I looked it up today and as of this moment there are 61 Reserves in Canada that don’t have clean water due to the Unsafe and inadequate sanitation systems and most of those communities have been on this list for more than a year. Reserves only make up 1% of Canada’s land so it’s pretty messed up that THAT many communities don’t have access to clean water, even though we do… and we are constantly replacing and upgrading systems here in Montreal. What is going on??!

Autumn and I definitely share more differences than we do similarities, the most prominent one being that I grew up privileged, I AM privileged, I am white and a settler on unceded land and I grew up being able to drink water straight from the tap freely and brush my teeth without the fear of getting sick. Autumn did not have this….She experienced her first Water Boil Advisory when she was 8 years old and it became immediately apparent to her that something was wrong with how the system sidelined her Reserve’s needs for the basic human right to access to clean water. Priorities were clearly being placed elsewhere and so she decided to speak up about the unfair and unequal distribution of resources in Canada. 

I am a little bit older than most of my classmates and I can recognize in their generation, and in Autumn’s generation, a passion and determination to hear that I haven’t seen within my own and the generations before me, ever act with such voracity and urgency that I see in the youth of today. They have a sophisticated voice championing their cause and I am utterly impressed. I think that is how I measure the ability to be inspirational – being so impressive to others that it moves them to respond with action. Autumn has impressed me with her bravery, her tenacity, resilience and determination to be heard. She is going up against the biggest institutions and I am consistently impressed.


Biographical Information:

Statistics on Reserves with Water Boil Advisories:

Autumn Peltier Quotes:

Blog 4: Ilhan Abdullahi Omar

Ilhan Abdullahi Omar is a breaking barriers by being a Black Muslim American politician. In 2016, she was elected to serve the Minnesota House of Representatives and since 2019, she has been working as a USA representative for Minnesota’s 5th congressional district.

Born on October 4 in Mogadishu, Somalia, at the age of eight years old, Omar had no choice but to escaped the civil war in Somalia with her parents. She lived for about four years in a refugee camp in Kenya and then settled in the United States in 1977. Omar’s political interest started at the age of 14 when she had to interpret a local DFL caucuses for her grandfather. In her high school days, she was an organizer and a coalition builder. After, working at the University of Minnesota as a community educator, she began her journey as an activist in the DFL party. She eventually ran for office as mentioned earlier. During her advocacy work, she supports human rights, racial equality, climate change protection, education access, and many other important issues. 

It is safe to say that Omar’s dedication and work ethic speak for itself as being a true example of integrity, intelligence, and leadership. However what makes her an inspiration is not only her position of power but her being . The formal definition of inspirational is to influence people create toughs, feelings, or beliefs. To push it further, I also think that a person who emulates confidence in their belief, in themselves and in others is what being an inspiration stands for. Thereby, in her being an embodiment of one of the lowest hierarchical status of the country and still managing to be in such an important social and political space is a great inspiration and sign of refreshing change. She represent a feeling of hope, ambitions, and optimism. Omar’s strong convictions inspire and influence people to become a community that supports each other.

Moreover, she is inspirational because she stands against every type of controversial corruption such as Israelo-Palestine conflict, environmental pollution, the Yemen war, etc.  For instance, Omar advocates and pushes people to adopt to the Green New Deal, and to fight against Trump’s xenophobic Muslim Ban by introducing the No Ban Act. Despite, the enormous presence of Islamophobia, the support the United States provides for Israel, and the president’s racist comments, Omar keeps fighting against injustice.  Her strong convictions inspire and influence people to become a community that supports each other.

I think she does not get enough recognition for the important work she conducted. She also received many death threats because of her ethnic background, religion, and beliefs. For example, in 2014, Omar was sent to the hospital due to physical assault by unknown identities. However, she is constantly advocating against injustice and important affairs. She does not let these horrible acts stop her fight against inequalities which for me is one of the reasons she inspires me, and that I chose her.

Also, I relate to one of her inter-sectional discrimination that she goes through in her workplace and her daily life. We are similar in important ways such as our beliefs, our gender identity, and we are both Muslim women. We are different in the sense that she is a black American woman wearing the hijab. I am a Moroccan Canadian woman.

Blog 4: Joanne Chory

Joanne Chory is an American geneticist and plant biologist. She was born on March 19th, 1955 in Boston, Massachusetts and she still has not stopped working. Chory is currently a director and professor at the Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory at the Salk Institute For Biological Studies, and an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Throughout her career, she did many studies on the growth of plants and their behavior in different conditions for which she received many prizes and distinctions. Indeed, in 2011, she became an elected Royal Society foreign member; more recently, she received the 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences and the 2019 Princess of Asturias Award.

The research she is now leading has the potential to implement a solution that will slow the climate change. As human activity considerably increased the quantity of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, leading to a general increase of the planet’s temperature, Chory and her team at the Salk Institute found a way to make plants absorb more CO2 from the atmosphere and make the soil more fertile at the same time.

The process consists in making the roots of the plant grow bigger through genetic modification. The bigger the roots, the more the plant can absorb bury carbon in the ground in the from of suberin, a substance naturally rich in carbon that prevents water losses from the plant tissues as well as it protects against potential diseases and heals plant wounds.

This discovery can be crucial for agriculture as it would mean that we could grow crops more efficiently while considerably decreasing the concentration of the major greenhouse gas. It would help solving the problem of feeding of the rapidly increasing world population and the problem of climate change at once.

The research is indeed very admirable; however, Chory’s determination and contribution to the field is even more respectable.

In 2004, she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The biologist lived now over a decade of struggle with the disease; she managed to reduce its effect with the help of medications and a brain implant and she is still continuing her research.

While there are many activists that encourage us to change our habits, that organize protests to encourage that action of governments, Chory’s devotion to stop climate change is extrinsic, tangible. What she has found is a concrete solution to help the world significantly. It really speaks to me since I want to go into the engineering field, and it’s all about solving problems in a tangible way in order to make the world a better place.

Nevertheless, Chory is a biologist and I do not want to be a biologist; my desire is to go in Electrical Engineering. We all have the same problem to solve; however, we took a different path. She uses nature to help nature while I’ll find ways to reduce the ever growing electrical consumption that also affect climate change.

Also, the fact that she may have found a possible solution to a problem that we knew about for over than a century is really inspiring as it tells people, especially those that like science, that they could also be the ones that find solutions like that. The fact that she is women that succeeded in science encourages other women to come in the STEM field.

Joanne Chory is an inspiration for many because she is an example of perseverance for a great cause. She implanted a vision for a better future that will make others follow her lead.

Joanne Chory

Blog/Oral: Sunita Narain

Sunita Narain was born on 1961 in India. She is an environmentalist, a political activist and a huge contributor to the Green concept of sustainable development. She was born in 1961. She has studied in several institutions such as the University of Delhi and University of Calcutta which are both located in India as well as the Cranfield University which is located in the United Kingdom. 

I chose Sunita Narain because I believe that she is an inspirational woman that has contributed a lot to the society and her work should be given more recognition. Moreover, she is a successful Indian woman that has several accolades to her name which I would like to be one day. I find it rare to find an elderly Indian woman standing up to issues surrounding the environment and actually succeeding in bringing a change, therefore I admire her a lot. We are different in a very important way due to the fact that I am not passionate about the environment as much as she is. 

I decided to do my research about her because she has done a few remarkable works, however I didn’t know who she was up until this project. Sunita has brought awareness to the public about the need for sustainable development based on her studies on environment and development. She wrote an analysis on India’s water supply and pollution. She works as a researcher and advocate for issues concerning the global environment. Her main researches are based on global democracy while specializing in climate change in relation to the need of the local democracy which focused water related issues and forest resource management. She is the director at the institute of the Centre for Science and Environment which is India-based research, she is also the director of the society for environmental communications and the editor of the magazine, Down to Earth. Moreover, she has written several publications advocating local participatory democracy as the key to sustainable development, flexibility mechanisms, the need for equity and entitlements in climate negotiations. She also wrote several articles on the need of interventions concerning the eco-regeneration of India’s rural environment and poverty reduction. 

She has several accolades to her name such as the Chameli Devi Jain Award for Outstanding Women Mediaperson, the renown Padma Shri by the Government of India, the Stockholm Water Prize, the honorary doctor of science by the University of Calcutta, the Raja-Lakshmi award and the IAMCR Climate change communication research in action reward. Last but not least, she was listed in Time Magazine’s list of 100 Most Influential People. 

To conclude, she is someone that I consider inspirational because she several accolades to her name and she is a very educated woman in a country where a lot of girls sometimes have to fight for their right to education. 

Blog #4: Christian Figueres

Christiana Figueres is an internationally recognized leader on climate change and was executive Secretary of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). She is currently Vice-Chair of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, ClimateWorks Board Member, World Bank Climate Leader and Mission2020 Convenor. She started her career of as the  Minister Counselor at the Embassy of Costa Rica in Bonn, Germany in 1982 before she moved to the USA. Shortly after the failed global climate change Conference in Copenhagen, Christiana had a goal to reconstruct the global climate change negotiation operation leading to another big Conference which was held in Paris six years later. 

Christiana’s passion to have a voice in the action of climate change all started when she realized that species were becoming extinct because of our harsh behaviors. Christiana said, “I saw this species when I was a little girl, but when I had two little girls the species no longer existed”. The creature she was referring to was a golden toad which was once a very common animal in Costa Rica.

            Christiana has written many books about living in the climate crisis and is an amazing public speaker who speaks her voice no matter what people’s opinion. To this day, Christiana continues to influence and teach us about the importance of our environment and how to react appropriately when dealing with any situation that face us. Her passion to rebuild the damages that we have left in our environment is very inspiring because as a woman leader, she shows us that no matter the gender, we can take on such challenges that many of us would never even think of.

She is a very moving woman because of her positive outlook and strong attitude. We share the same belief that the word “impossible” is not a fact, but just an attitude. Moreover, her hardworking energy and fire inside of her that pushes her to succeed motivates me to carry on the same traits. Her creativity and inspirational imagination influences many of us to follow her point of view – that there is always a bright side when faced with a challenge. 

She is taking it upon herself to correct the path that 100 men could not accomplish. I find it extremely inspirational how she can command the attention of the world on a subject that is so critical and so urgent that no men have been able to attain her level of success in addressing climate change. It is so inspirational to me that someone is stepping up and taking charge to ensure a positive result for our future and for the future of the generations to come.

Blog #4: Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim

By: Julia Shukhman

The inspirational woman that I chose for this presentation is named Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim. She is an indigenous woman from the Mbororo pastoralist community in Chad and is a specialist in adaptation and migration of people and women in relation to climate change, traditional knowledge and the adaptation of pastoralists in Africa. She was born in 1984 and is currently 36 years old and is an environmental activist and a geographer. Hindou’s interest and passion for saving the planet started with the fact that she is an indigenous woman herself and grew up in that community and has witnessed with her own eyes the destruction of planet earth and knew that she wanted to make a difference.  Her determination to advocate against climate change has gotten her a lot of recognition such as serving as a Member of the UN Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues, being member of the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (IPACC) and many more. Hindou’s way of making a change in this planet is by combining indigenous knowledge with Western research to create a thriving planet. 

This woman is like me because we are both very ambitious, fight or what we believe in and don’t give up on our goals. One thing that is different between me and Hindou on the other hand, is that even though we both have the same intentions of saving the planet, she has an evidently bigger voice than me so her work has more positive impact on our planet than what I do. I decided to talk about this woman because of her integrity and her good heart. For example, she has won 100 000$ from the Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker family foundation because her work really stood out to them. Hindou stated after winning the big prize: ““The voices of indigenous people are being heard here — through me, through all of you and through this prize,” Ibrahim said. “We are all together. We will win this battle, I am so confident.” She is an extremely humble and powerful woman who is determined to change things for our planet. 

I decided to present this woman because she is extremely wise and determined. She used her own firsthand witnessing of the effects of global change to make a difference in this world. Since she grew up in the Mbororo community, who relies on natural resources to survive, Hindou experienced the phenomenon of the Lake Chad drying up, which is very dangerous because it is now 10% of the size it was in the 1960’s and it is an essential source of water for the habitants of Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria. Her determination to help was shown through her written testimony that she wrote to the International Organization for Migration, where she wrote that indigenous communities, that she is a part of herself, are direct victims of climate change because  it has forced them to abandon their own lands and go look for new ones that can support their way of life. 

I am defining an inspiration person a someone who has accomplished a lot, not only for herself, but to help the whole world around her and someone that makes me want to be more like them, and a better person over all. I find Hindou inspirational because she is not only fighting against climate change, but for indigenous people’s rights during this crisis which most of the time go unnoticed. She explained how climate change leads to migration for the indigenous communities, which at the end leaves them vulnerable with no stable home and everyone deserves to have a stable place to live where they have everything they need to survive and be comfortable. 


Blog 4: Naomi Klein

With such a big issue like climate change and a lot of people and organizations trying to help and save the planet, there is a possibility to not notice certain people that are doing their best and trying hard in many ways to inform others about it too but are given less attention.

Out of many people, I chose Naomi Klein. She is an author, social activist, a filmmaker and she was born on the 8th of May 1970. I was hesitating with who to write about upon a lot of great women. However, while I was reading her work and what she did throughout the years, she caught my attention. I found that she is different from the others when it came to her writings and how she expresses herself and I noticed that she knows how to address the problem in a way that will catch your attention and make you take an action towards it. In other words, I can say I found her “inspirational”, I can relate more to what she says than others, her values and thoughts are more understandable and most importantly that what she says affect me more than other peoples.

Which made me realize in what way we can be alike, first of all she is a Canadian, she grew up in Montreal and went to Dawson college then left to continue in university of Toronto. Which makes her completely vulnerable to the problems that Canada is undergoing and her words are totally valid. Also the way she thinks, for example, for her to fix problems she thinks that you have to start by yourself and fix yourself before going and helping outside. She sees that climate change as a way to claim other issues in the world and if we really want to change something we can not depend on fundings or organization, we have to do it ourselves. 

In other terms, Naomi Klein, is a very successful writer who wrote many books that went internationally viral. One of the most important books that she had written is “This Changes Everything:Capitalism vs. the Climate” in 2014 and immediately was a New York Bestseller and the winner of the Hilary Weston Writers Trust Prize for Nonfiction in the same year (2014). Her last book “On Fire” was published in 2019, again talking about the climate change and her meeting with Greta Thunberg. Her books spoke her words and ideas and she hoped that people would hear her. And in her case, I can say, people liked and listened to her so she was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize for her activism on climate justice and she counts as one of the top influential thinkers.

Blog 4: Inspirational Woman Involved with Climate Change

Jessica Alba is an actress, born April 28, 1981. This 38-year-old is not only an actress but a businesswoman. But before being an actress and a businesswoman, she’s a human being trying to live her best life, just like you and me. Jessica believes it’s important to practice what you preach. She believes every person can do something small to help the planet, and that will make a big difference in the end. “I try to do my best to compost, recycle, use eco-friendly and sustainable materials” Jessica says.

Alongside her eco-friendly lifestyle at home, Jessica is the co-founder of The Honest Company, a company which specializes in eco-friendly products. She created this company because she believes no one should have to choose between what works for them and what’s good for them. She was never able to find one brand to trust with her everyday needs, especially being a mother. She figured there were others looking for safe products, simple solutions and clear information about their choices as well. If you visit her website (link below), everything is divided in different categories. For example, babies, beauty, home, bath and body. The company provides a variety of products!

Jessica is an inspiring woman to me for more than one reason. Firstly, she is someone who used her fame and success in a positive way. She has such an optimistic attitude about her company, and I respect her immensely for that. “It’s possible to put people and the planet first, all while making profit.” She shows how businesses can play a powerful role in climate movement, and that is something most companies and entrepreneurs lack. Most times, buying eco-friendly products means spending more money, but Jessica is trying to make her products safe while still being affordable. I relate to Jessica because of her mentality of preaching the importance of every individual doing their part in saving the planet. There is a stereotype of being an environmentalist, but in the end no matter how big a difference you are making you are still considered an environmentalist. You don’t have to be an extreme, you can simply have a balanced approach because every little thing makes a big difference. She started off changing simple lifestyle choices and brought it to a whole new level. Jessica went the extra step of creating her business, which is something I cannot relate to. Not because I haven’t created a business, but because I’ve never began any sort of movement involving climate change.

4. Amanda Sturgeon

It is no secret that buildings play a big role in degrading the state of our planet. According to Worldwatch Institutes estimates, buildings consume at last 40% of the energy utilized in the world each year and in doing so, generates one-third of the carbon dioxide as well as two-fifths of the greenhouse gases that are released into the atmosphere.

Sustainability can be defined as meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their needs. The inspirational woman that I have chosen to present is called Amanda Sturgeon and she is an individual that pioneers for sustainability and the creation of efficient buildings that will bring us to “the future we hope for and not the tomorrow that we fear” by using green building principles. According to the Governor’s Green Government Council, green buildings are basically projects that maintain and restore habitats that are vital for sustaining life. Green buildings become a net producer and exporter of resources, materials, energy and water rather than consuming and are supposed to create a healthy environment for the occupants whilst also disrupting the least amount of nature energy and resources.

Amanda Sturgeon is the CEO of the International Living Future Institute which is known for challenging architects to build green and use sustainable methods during construction. She is an award-winning architect in the Pacific Northwest where she has been practicing for approximately 22 years. Her projects often involve creating new concepts and ideas related to green building projects such as Biophilic Design. Amanda was a founding board member of the Cascadia Green Building Council in 2000-2002: a council that’s main goal is to help set a global vision for the transformation toward true sustainability supporting solutions to build efficiently. She has participated in various boards and committees and not only that but she has also taught at the University of Washington as well as Bainbridge Graduate Institute where she provides her students with lectures that focus on Biophilia as a pathway to a restorative future. Amanda was even elected as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and made a LEED Fellow in 2013 in recognition of her pioneering commitment to advancing sustainability through advocacy, policy and practice which is a big deal since LEED is a worldwide program that was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving the performance of buildings focusing on the issues concerning traditional buildings that matter most like saving energy, water savings, water savings and greenhouse gas reductions.

I can relate to her because I’m studying in a similar field as her. I’m in the Architectural Technology program at Vanier and green building is a movement that’s becoming more and more popular and talked about in class since many architects now recognize that building construction is a main component in causing global warming. It’s not a well known statement but buildings alone are said to consume 48% of all energy used in the USA. Now that I have a good idea of all the energy needed to produce building materials and then to operate homes once their built, I also aspire to build green in the future in order to preserve our planet for generations to come and I really hope that more architects gravitate towards building sustainably although it might be more costly. 

She’s different from me since she is a lot more knowledgeable about green building. I’ve only been introduced to the movement but she’s been actively contributing and supporting it throughout her daily life. She is so devoted and passionate about the environment. I am just learning about the concept and as a student, haven’t gotten the opportunity to build whilst applying sustainable methods. I also think that she is more innovative than I am considering she created a whole new concept of green design: biophilic design. This concept aims to bring in more than just fresh air, daylight and views within a building. It’s main goal is to incorporate nature within the building since it’s known to have created an interactive design that allows individuals to be immersed in nature since it allows for more productivity. Not only that but by using natural light and cross-ventilation, it reduces energy consumption therefore mitigating our reliance on electricity and fossil fuels. Also, by using local materials, it reduces the carbon impact that stems from transporting the materials from other places in the world. 

I decided to choose her because I admired her passion for green building as well as all the hard work she puts into using her platform as an architect to influence others to adopt sustainable measures when designing buildings. I also appreciate her dedication and determination to build green and find that she’s a great role model and inspiration for me to follow in the architecture industry. I also chose her because I was genuinely interested in her concept of biophilic design since it touches on various subjects my fellow classmates and I analyze in class and I wanted to be more familiar with her work and was curious to see how it differentiates from other green building concepts like passive houses, net-zero homes, R-2000 homes and more.  


Blog Post (Oral Presentation) : Nana Firman

Species are dying, glaciers have shrunk, forests are burning, etc…But where is this all coming from? These are all consequences of Climate Change. It affects us, and we have to change our ways of living to help the Earth. As a woman, I am very affected by climate change because I face higher risks in the impacts of it.

Nana Firman, a Muslim woman, takes climate change at heart. She is born and raised in Indonesia. Nana takes climate change at heart because she says that in Quran, Muslims are asked by God to take care and respect our planet like it deserves. She speaks for the Muslim community, and she takes action. I chose Nana Firman for this oral presentation because I am a Muslim woman, just like her. We have the same goals, the same religion, and I can relate to her. She is also an Immigrant in the USA. Islam is not perceived as a good religion. There are many prejudices and false ideas of what Islam is, and Nana shows the true image of Islam. It’s a religion of peace and justice, contrary to what the media says. She received an award in 2015 from the White House as a ‘’Champion of Change’’. In 2016, she co-founded the Global Muslim Climate Network, which is a platform to implement the declaration on renewable energy transformation. Firman trained with Climate Reality and former vice-president Al Gore in Australia to become a Climate reality leader. She says ‘’Islam is the world’s second-largest religion, and 1.6 billion people – from the United States all the way to my home country of Indonesia – identify as Muslim. The climate fight cannot succeed without the leadership and cooperation of the Muslim community, which is why the Global Muslim Climate Network was founded last year.’’ I agree completely with her, even if we are all in this fight together, regardless of the religion, the color, and the gender.

Finally, Nana Firman is an inspiration for me because she takes climate change at heart and she fights for what she wants. Even if we are a little different, because she is a mother, and we are raised in a very different environment, she is still a little like me because she is an immigrant Muslim woman, and she spreads the good image of Islam in the world while she’s helping entire communities.