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Youth can strengthen a community’s awareness/livelihood by building energy efficient, environmentally sustainable homes.



We are putting forward a strategy encouraging youth to lead an environmentally efficient, educational strategy through the expansion of housing. The solution will promote environmental education with the skill to adapt to future issues in First Nations communities in Canada. Culture and heritage are very prioritized in these communities and will not only be respected, but enhanced and honoured within the geographical areas. We would like to provide an Indigenous response to climate change. Youth led development is the key throughout this strategy, in order to keep ethical land use alive and strong among younger generations. This type of initiatives not only strengthen character, strengthen youth involvement in the community, but also educate and prepare them for future environmental changes within their region. We want to be a voice and a solution into a healthier greener alternative among communities who lack proper housing/resources/or education.

To have youth mobilized around green energy solution housing, we will promote community wellness, and motivate/encourage community members to collaborate towards a healthier environment. We want to educate the communities so they have the knowledge to withgo their own strategies and infrastructures, and have cultural and environmental influences to take from. Within Canada alone, the first nations communities are first to face lack of proper heating, lack of drinking water, and other basic needs that should be given.  By training the youth and other volunteers within our plan, we will give them the knowledge and resources to initiate their own proactive strategies within their communities. We want them to have the ability to put their own plans into motion in effort to combat climate change at a local level. By educating First Nations groups around green adaption we can engage them all on a larger scale as this, in all is the tools to a community-run project to build homes. 


Youth for Resilient Cities to Climate Change @ Mexico City

Building climate responsive homes in Lesotho, Africa

The strategy initiates affordable housing built to be the most energy efficient alternative offered. The technology will differ given the communities geographical climate conditions. For example our housing solutions may consist of hydronic floor heating, hay bale insulation, or use a rainwater harvesting roof system.

The overall benefits of building energy efficient, climate responsive homes is to empower communities to play active roles in preventing climate change through action at a local level. The technology will be affordable, less reliant on fossil fuels, and promote green living within communities. We will focus on regions with socio-economic disparities that consist of people that have little to no heating during winter months. It is a health risk to live in unheated homes for children and elderly especially.

Communities will prioritize their resilience against climate change and build environmentally conscious youth and children.

What actions do you propose?

Youth informing communities on climate change adaptation through building homes will begin with a focus on the Indigenous communities in Canada. Currently, housing programs available to First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities are substandard. These housing programs have not adopted a sustainable development approach and homes are often built with materials that are inadequate for the harsh climate conditions that Indigenous communities experience in Canada. In addition to that, national housing programs have not incorporated any climate change adaptation measures into their products, services or programs.

Youth Informing Communities on Climate Change Adaptation through Building Homes can provide important education to communities who struggle with poor housing conditions and are looking to find more sustainable and long-lasting options. Communities can become empowered through youth leadership and dialogue on the values of climate change adaptation and successful sustainable home options that are on the market. Best practice and new technologies in sustainable housing will be shared with communities through an informed public engagement approach.

1. Build home with water floor heating and insulation in the walls. Each of our homes will have this system installed with a water purifier. This way the homeowners won’t have to pay for hydro bills being more energy efficient, plus it is good for the environment because it is self sustaining. We are trying to promote eco friendly, affordable homes while educating other about it.

2. We provide health and well-being to those who have less resources. We are planning on aiding to not only peoples physical health but mental health as well.

3. To build informed Indigenous communities who are climate-affected about sustainable housing options in an era of climate change. Old technologies and cheap building materials that will save government’s dollars should be removed from government policies. Indigenous youth can stand up for the environment and for Indigenous community rights through sustainable housing education.

4. We promote strong culture and heritage. We want people to stay strong to their heritage and embrace their ethnicity. By educating them about climate change and making connections to teaching and prayers are beneficial to striding forward as a community. 


Who will take these actions and which types of actors are involved?

The people taking action will be community youth, and other members who want to get involved. By opening the youth up to these new experiences, it benefits both them, the environment, and the rest of the community. They also become eligible for financial aid and assistance scholarships. We would need architects, designers, constructors, etc. Through the process, we create jobs working to one community run goal that benefits everyone within the community economically. By creating work for unemployed it can boost them financially, and also educate them in the process, on climate adaption. Although our proposal can maintain a stance in each of these goals, we have not fulfilled the issues of hunger, gender inequality, reduced inequalities, responsible consumption/production, life below water, and lastly peace, justice and strong institutions. We will partner with Indigenous environmental organizations around the world to co-develop youth initiatives and outreach in countries with Indigenous populations. Potential partners include: Indigenous Climate Action, Douglas Cardinal Housing, Catalyst 20/20. We will partner with organizations doing this work who have developed best practices such as tinyhomeuniversity.

It is wonderful to know so many organizations are trying to improve living conditions in unfortunate communities and we want to be a part of this. Not only supplying affordable, energy efficient homes, but to educate and motivate indigenous youth to spot issues in their community and have the skill and resources to aid to it.

All Canadians need to be educated on environmental issues and strategies. Regarding its impacts in every aspect of learning. Ecological education teaches people to see interconnectedness of social, cultural, and political impacts regarding environmental issues. The experience of colonization has created social and economic disparities for Indigenous people in Canada. This is a result of the substandard programs, services, poor housing and lack of employment opportunities offered in first nations communities, psychological trauma from the residential school legacy, colonization and racism. Indigenous people have faced generations of oppression socially, physically, and spiritually.


Where will these actions be taken and how could they scale?

We will start in Wasauksing First Nation and Shawanaga First Nation. We are going to start with the First Nations/other indigenous communities in Canada, but once we start the process, we hope other countries will see what we are doing and decide to do the same thing to help their indigenous communities be satisfied with all of the necessities needed in life. This will help improve the livelihood of the indigenous people living in poor conditions. By giving them shelter we provide them better health, keeping them safe/warm in the winter months.

28-34% of homeless shelter users are indigenous. Intergenerational residential school trauma can also ingrain your beliefs and influence your quality of life, and this is why indigenous communities throughout Canada are working for reconciliation. When indigenous people were to leave a reservation in hopes to escape poverty, they came to face stereotypes and racist outlooks towards them. It is so important for indigenous youth to be a main role within our strategy. The percentage of youth facing mental illness is mind boggling, not only for indigenous youth but for all Canadians. The upcoming foundation “Strength in Continuous Change” is one of our first desired partners we want to team with. The foundation is for indigenous youth in Canada facing mental illness and works to promote and strengthen our youth. 20% of homeless Canadian are youth aging from 16-24. It would be amazing to partner with them, as we see youth as a priority regarding climate change adaptation and education on a shifting economy, society, and environment.Health is an important factor in our strategy and given Canadian statistics, it is evident that it needs to be managed among our environmental strides forward. 1 in 10 of the population in Canada are unable to fill their medical prescriptions. Canada does not have a national Pharmacare policy, but has free health care being the only industrialized country to do so. Within our proposal there are a number of goals, we are pushing to fulfill. This includes the creation of Affordable/clean energy, jobs (economic growth), innovation and infrastructure, and the development of self sustainment all within a community. By creating these homes we hit all these points including education, health and wellness, and strengthening the fight against poverty. The homes will be affordable and energy efficient, since the costs of heating our low, and it is self sufficient in clean water production. The homes are sanitary and healthier environments via current living conditions within neighbourhoods, and communities hit by poverty.

3 million canadian households live in unaffordable, below living standard, or overcrowded homes. We are offering safe affordable homes, absent of harmful toxins  and unhealthy living standards. Some homes can have chemical residues, carbon monoxide, absence of proper heating or running/clean water, and so on.


In addition, specify the countries where these actions will be taken.


Country 2

No country selected

Country 3

No country selected

Country 4

No country selected

Country 5

No country selected


What impact will these actions have on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and/or adapting to climate change?

By having hydronic floors, recycled insulations, and rainwater harvesting system. It is less impactful on the environment and uses less fossil fuels. The flooring is efficient and has no carbon emissions, all while heating an entire home. By having insulated walls, it eliminates cold winds and other winter climate issues. The walls are made from recycled materials, that use existing substances like plastic water bottles, etc, which are thick and take long to decompose. Instead of producing new product we are recycling and lowering rates of greenhouse gases. Instead of waste sites burning recyclables and releasing harsh fumes, we are going to use them as insulations for our affordable homes. There are all sorts of sustainable housing initiatives happening in cities and urban populations around the world. However, there is little happening in underprivileged communities. Indigenous youth can be leaders in bringing this knowledge to our own communities.

What are the most innovative aspects and main strengths of this approach?

The overall benefits of building energy efficient, climate responsive homes is to keep the people and the environment coexisting in health. The technology will be affordable, less reliant on fossil fuels, and promote green living within communities. We focus on poor regions that consist of people that have little to no heating during winter months. It is a health risk to live in unheated homes for children and elderly especially.

Through our green initiative we are hoping to eliminate the grossing amount of poverty and transform low income homes, with environmentally striving, affordable homes. 1 in every 7 people in Canada live in poverty. That is around five million people living with either unsubstantial housing, health, or food security. The overall costs towards Canada’s poverty levels are around 72 billion and 84 billion over the course of a year. 1 in 5 children/youth under 18, live in poverty.



What are the proposal’s projected costs?

Hydronic Heating:

Cost around the minimum of $6.00 per square foot. lower your impact on the environment and affordable energy costs.


The cost for batt and roll insulation starts at $0.12 to $0.16 per square foot for a three-and-a-half-inch barrier that provides a value of R-11. The cost of a single roll of reflective insulation varies according to its R-value.

The average cost to build a new house comes in at $282,189, which would put a 2,000 square foot home costing about $150 per square foot. This will obviously vary greatly with all the costly variables involved, so the cost could range between $146,629 and $417,749.

The new homes will improve wellbeing and health through clean air flow, clean water, and well radiated heating. Besides the outcome and its benefits in the long run, the underlying process is also beneficial by educating youth and community members, and giving them a purpose as they lead these progressive, proactive projects. By attempting to involve each member of a given region, you build community strength and teamwork. This can be significant to people’s well being and improve their mental health on social security and give them a sense of belonging.

About the Authors

Xela (Xela Priscilla Lloyd Ibarra) is a grade 12 students at Rosseau Lake College. Who currently take an Interdisciplinary Studies course and is learning about Environmental Sciences. Xela is half Mexican half Canadian. She has lived in Mexico all her life except for the past year and a half where she has been back and forth from Canada to Mexico. In Mexico Xela used to go caving and exploring/rappelling waterfalls with her father. In the summers she volunteers at a daycamp for children in the wilderness where kids learn about the flora and fauna of the place and learn/compite by making shelters, she used to attend this day camp when she was younger and several years won first place on her shelter. Xela had to adapt to the changes that come from moving from a 3rd world country to a 1st world country.


Bay (Nadia Bay Monastyrski) is a grade 12 student at Rosseau Lake College in Muskoka, Ontario. Bay is an indigenous youth, of both Potawatomi and Ukrainian heritage, who has been consistently trying to present the importance of culture throughout her high school career and so on. She took part of the Outdoor Leadership Program in Peterborough, holding a role as a Link leader. Through this program she has learned about environmental health, has gotten a number of certificates, and has learned how to implicate projects, and steps forward. Throughout Bay’s childhood she has been in many walks, protests, and conferences regarding environmental sustainability with her mother. Along with visits to first nation communities hit by poverty, and talking to their leaders. For example, speaking with the chief of Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, Erwin Redsky on the issue of clean drinking water, and poverty within Treaty Three. By seeing people in poor living, it is instinctive to feel we need to do something. The project appointed, gives us a platform in applying our thoughts and ideas, into improvements we find necessary, given both of our backgrounds, knowledge, and perspectives.



“Building Climate Responsive Homes in Lesotho, Africa - Adaptation.” Climate CoLab,

“Model of Health and Wellbeing.” Model of Health and Wellbeing | Association of Ontario Health Centres,

“The Benefits of Under Floor Heating.” Greenne, 17 June 2013,

“Learn How Much It Costs to Build a House.” 2017 Cost to Build a House | Avg. Building & Construction Prices Per Sq Ft - HomeAdvisor,

“Youth for Resilient Cities to Climate Change @ Mexico City - Adaptation.” Climate CoLab,


What enabling environment would be required in order to implement this proposal?

In Canada, there is currently new federal program development around Indigenous communities and climate change adaptation. This project fits within the new policy and programming legislation and will expand the current program opportunities in housing, addressing poverty and overcrowding.