Wakefield resident top 25 environmentalists under 25
By: Stuart Benson
Wakefield resident Sebastien Molgat, 22, founding chair of the Arctic Youth Network, has been selected as one of the top 25 environmentalists under 25 by The Starfish Canada, youth journalism and online forum celebrating young environmental leaders.
“What makes Sebastien unique is how he inspires and motivates his peers,” wrote Nabiha Khan in her nomination profile for The Starfish Canada. “He isn't only working to protect our environment, but he is mentoring others to find their voice and do the same. Individuals who have the opportunity to work with him get inspired by his work, and in turn contribute more to the betterment of our environment.”
Molgat, who is pursuing an undergraduate degree in political science at Queen’s University and serving in the Queen’s University senate for the 2020-21 academic year, has spent the past year leading the development of the AYN as an international non-profit organization connecting, supporting, and representing hundreds of engaged youth from across the global Arctic and beyond.
“The AYN started with a group of Indigenous youth, in the Arctic and southerners, [who] got together at a few conferences and we were coming up against the same issues but didn't have access to the resources, opportunities or skills development to meet those challenges,” Molgat explained. “Out of that group, and catalyzed by the 2018 Arctic Youth Summit in Norvajärvi Finland, a core group of youth got together and created the Arctic Youth Network in 2019, officially.”
Collaborating with organizations, institutions, and governments from many northern countries, Molgat’s goal through the AYN has been to empower youth, especially from marginalized communities, adding their voices to the larger conversation on building a sustainable future for the Arctic.
“He's been a very dedicated, hardworking, but also kind and compassionate leader to everyone involved in this initiative,” said Eva Wu, youth chair for the AYN. “He's one of the few people I've met with ideas for collaborative initiatives from people from all different cultural and geopolitical backgrounds, while also being able to juggle programming and everything else.”
As far as awards and nominations are concerned, Molgat said he’s honoured, but he’s more used to working behind the scenes as an organizer.
“We've worked very hard on putting programs together and coordinating with organizations across the Arctic, and it's all-volunteer, so it's nice to be recognized,” Molgat said. “The real reward has been to see the amazing growth of the organization in the past year and the amazing reception that we get when our programs are introduced and we interact with communities.”
You can read more about Molgat’s work with the AYN at arcitcyouthnetwork.org, and read his profile, along with the profiles of all 25 nominees, at thestarfish.ca/top25.