Program and Speakers

The Unconference of Hope and Bold School Climate Action


How to be hopeful in an era of climate doomism: An evidence-based practice for all

Elin Kelsey

Wednesday, April 3rd @ 7pm

Dr. Elin Kelsey is an esteemed author, educator, and environmentalist who is leading a global movement of evidence-based hope to amplify climate solutions and effective engagement with the climate justice crisis. She seamlessly bridges the gap between academia and the general public. With a Ph.D. in Communications and International Environmental Policy, she holds academic positions at the University of Victoria, Canada, and Western Washington University, Bellingham, USA. She is a renowned expert in Climate Emotions and translating complex scientific concepts into accessible narratives. Her acclaimed books, including “Hope Matters” and “You Are Stardust,” inspire a deep connection with nature and foster environmental stewardship. Elin’s captivating speaking engagements, global recognition, and profound insights make her a powerful advocate for positive change in our relationship with the environment.

The Transformative Power of Schools: Schools at the Heart of the Climate Movement

Jason McLennan

Friday, April 5th @ 9am

Considered one of the world’s most influential individuals in the field of architecture and green building movement today, Jason is a highly sought out designer, consultant and thought leader around the planet. He is the recipient of the prestigious Buckminster Fuller Prize (the planet’s top prize for socially responsible design). He has been called the ‘Steve Jobs’ of the green building industry, a “World Changer” by GreenBiz magazine and has been selected as the Award of Excellence winner for Engineering News Record – one of the only individuals in the architecture profession to have won the award in its 52-year history.


Participants will choose from more than 25 interactive and practical workshops facilitated by leaders in schools, not-for-profits, and organizations, and leave with new ideas, strategies, tools and networks to drive ambitious climate action in their school communities. Join our mailing list to keep up to date as new workshops are added to the schedule!

Crash Course in Engaging Students in Climate Change Education (P/J/I/S)

Pam Miller, Instructional Leader in the TDSB Sustainability Office

Teaching climate change can be complicated, challenging and depressing! How can we deepen student engagement and at the same time inspire hope for taking action against the climate crises. Join us for a “crash course” that includes brushing up on background knowledge in climate science, exploring a curated collection of educational resources, trying out instructional strategies that center justice and inclusion, and facilitating student-directed projects. The workshop will bolster educators’ confidence in their ability to teach climate change in ways that allow students to understand local impacts and contribute to the solution of bite-sized, and relevant climate-related problems.

Youth at the Heart of the Climate Movement

Discover the diverse and dynamic stories of young leaders making waves in the climate space during this thought-provoking panel discussion. Get inspired by their work and gain a deeper understanding of the pivotal role the next generation plays in shaping the future of our planet.

Dive into the compelling narrative of young climate leaders in this engaging panel discussion! Discover the diverse and dynamic stories of these inspiring individuals who are actively shaping the climate space. Gain fresh perspectives and insights into the innovative approaches they employ to address pressing environmental challenges. Prepare to be inspired by the impactful work of the next generation and develop a deeper understanding of their crucial role youth play in shaping the future of our planet. 

Activism for All

Shirley Barnea, Environmental Activist

Does the urgency of the climate crisis warrant hanging off of a bridge and blocking traffic during rush hour? What about throwing a can of soup at Van Gogh’s Sunflowers? Or signing a petition, writing a letter to your MP, talking to your friends and family, going to a protest or attending a city council meeting?

This workshop will explore the complex and fascinating topic of activism, and the diverse forms it can take. Through discussions and interactive exercises, participants will discover what it means to be an activist, and what kind of activism is right for each of them. We will also discuss the importance of keeping activism peaceful, and what this means. Participants will come out of this workshop equipped with the can-do activist mindset and a newfound awareness of their own agency, ready to take on the issues they care about!

Flower to Hive to Bottle

Dave Stotesbury, Environmental Activist

Join Dave – The Beekeeper for an enlightening “Flower to Hive to Bottle” demonstration. Watch as he carefully extracts frames of honey, guiding you through the fascinating journey of honey production. Discover the incredible process of how honey bees collect nectar from flowers and transform it into the delicious honey we enjoy. Dave’s straightforward talk highlights the remarkable teamwork and intricate efforts of these industrious bees. From the hive to the bottle, this demonstration is a simple yet captivating exploration of nature’s sweet alchemy, offering a glimpse into the essential role honey bees play in pollination and honey production

Learning Landscape Walking Tour

John Hannah, Teacher

Join us for a walk around HSC’s Learning Landscape. We’ll explore opportunities for school ground infrastructure that mitigates impacts of climate change, supports local biodiversity and provides opportunities for every student to get outside and learn every day. 


Biomimicry for Climate Action

Danielle Delhaes, Experienced Educator and Certified Biomimicry Facilitiator

Additional pre-unconference event on Wednesday, April 3, 2024 from 10 am to 4 pm at Hillfield Strathallan College. A bus to and from the Hamilton Convention Center and lunch are included. Applying the principles of Biomimicry Design Thinking through their participation and collaboration in a design jam, participants will generate innovative ideas for regenerative climate action.