Photography by Linda Roy/Ireva Photography
Meet the Canadian Living 12th annual Me to We winner for the Youth in Action Award (12 and under), Autumn Peltier.
Name: Autumn Peltier
Where she's from: Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve, Manitoulin Island, Ont.
Award: Youth in Action Award (12 and under)
There are First Nations communities that don't have clean drinking water. Kids, elders and youth—all those people can't drink the water," says Autumn Peltier, who has become an environmental conservation advocate in her community and beyond. She knows that a world without water is no world at all. "Water is everything. It's the lifeblood of Mother Earth. It brings new life," she says. That's why she's been speaking publicly—to everyone from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the kids at her school—to advocate for healthy water. Last fall, she even represented Canada at the Children's Climate Conference in Sweden, where children gathered to create a list of demands for world leaders in advance of the Paris UN Climate Change Conference.
Caring for the environment is a family affair; Autumn's mom started teaching her the 7 Grandfather Teachings, a set of Ojibwa values that emphasizes humans' connection to the environment, when she was a toddler. She has also learned about the importance of the world around us from her aunt Josephine, who, each morning when she wakes, prays for the water before she takes a sip.
That's why, when Autumn's not giving talks about our lakes and rivers, she's participating in shoreline and community cleanups, getting rid of garbage that litters the nature around her. The goal is to make the world a better place for kids who come after her. "I want to be a role model for my kids and my grandchildren," says Autumn. "We should all start thinking, If we do this, what's going to happen in the future? If we do this, what are we doing to our planet?"
Meet our 2016 Me to We Award winners for more inspirational stories like Autumn's.