By Rae Landriau and Keneisha Charles


This year, two Youth Climate Lab staff, Keneisha Charles (RAD Program Lead) and Rae Landriau (RAD Program Coordinator), had the pleasure of attending the 2024 Leading Change Forum in lovely Vancouver, BC, on the unceded traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. 

The Leading Change Forum connects youth and young professionals from across so-called Canada to discuss and create action on the road to net zero. Achieving a net zero future will take a collaborative effort to find and implement solutions that address our biggest environmental, social, and economic challenges. Radical collaboration is the aim of the Leading Change Forum—and of Youth Climate Lab’s RAD Cohort. 

Over the past eight months, Keneisha and Rae led the 2023-2024 RAD Cohort, composed of 30 diverse youth leaders from across Canada. The Research, Activate, Deepen Cohort (RAD Cohort) fosters youth-led radical collaboration and climate justice approaches to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through a multi-month journey, participants are equipped with the skills, resources, and connections to enact tangible change in their communities. They delve into dimensions of radical collaboration, researching gaps, activating new partnerships, and deepening connections and knowledge on climate justice and community care. 

Keneisha and Rae were thrilled to bring these insights to the 2024 Leading Change Forum and contribute to important work in furthering the SDGs, especially Partnerships for the Goals.

Here are our key reflections from Leading Change 2024:

Rae, RAD Cohort Program Coordinator

Attending the Leading Change Forum 2024 allowed me to witness firsthand the power of radical collaboration in action. The forum served as a nexus where like-minded individuals from diverse backgrounds converged to accelerate solutions for climate resiliency and environmental restoration. It was a melting pot of ideas where participants shared insights, forged partnerships, and ignited conversations that reverberated far beyond the conference halls. Moreover, it underscored the importance of inclusive dialogue and collaboration. It recognized that addressing climate change requires embracing diversity of perspectives and amplifying marginalized voices. 

The forum provided a platform for meaningful engagement, where youth-led initiatives like the RAD Cohort were celebrated and supported. It reinforced the need for commitment to driving positive change, on all levels, from government, industry and everyone in between. It exemplified the power of collective action and the potential of youth-led movements to effect meaningful change. As we continue our journey towards a net-zero future and achieve the SDGs, let us draw inspiration from the RAD Cohort and the countless other initiatives working tirelessly to build a more sustainable world. Together, we can create a future that is equitable, resilient, and thriving for generations to come.

Keneisha (they/them), RAD Cohort Program Lead

It’s always a joy to be in youth-centered spaces led by other young people, such as the Leading Change Forum. The diversity within the Forum was a particular highlight for me. One of my favourite sessions was led by Pattie Gonia, a brilliant drag queen and environmentalist who led participants in an interactive session to explore intersectionality and build solidarity. Having space to talk about the intersections of climate justice, like decolonization, disability justice, and trans liberation, was so valuable and set the tone for the Forum. The discussion also reminded me a lot of our RAD Cohort and the diversity within it that makes it so impactful.

Alongside the highlights, my time at the Forum also made clear the need for more work ahead in the journey of forging meaningful collaborations towards the SDGs. The Forum gave participants the space to get real about the challenges youth face within the sustainability sector—being overworked and underpaid, pushing up against limiting entrenched cultural values, navigating inaccessible institutions. Spaces like Leading Change and the RAD Cohort where youth can gather and speak honestly about our visions for the future and what we need to build to get there, in ways both concrete and felt, are instrumental in forging true partnerships for the goals. I’m grateful we could be part of the ongoing journey of fostering radical collaboration for the SDGs.