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Mission to Earth: Climate Change Youth Challenge

Help save our city before it’s too late! Calling Mississauga secondary and post-secondary students.

We’re heading for an uninhabitable earth and cities are on the frontlines. Climate change has already begun impacting Mississauga and the City has declared a climate emergency.  Solutions exist and if we act quickly, we can transform Mississauga into a world-class green city. Mission to Mars? No way. There is no planet B! Let’s save our planet and MISSION TO EARTH.

We’re calling on Mississauga youth to get involved and help solve some of the biggest climate concerns facing our city. We’re ready to transform Mississauga to both mitigate and adapt to climate change. Are you up for the challenge?

Key dates

Registration for the program opens on October 19, 2020, and will remain open until January 31, 2021. Teams can sign up for the Challenge at any point during this period.

Once teams register, they should begin to work on their projects and be prepared to submit all project elements by the deadline of March 31, 2021.

  • Registration opens on October 19, 2020
  • Team project planning and idea brainstorming
  • Meet at least twice with mentors
  • Finalize project and submit by the final deadline of March 31, 2021
  • Projects to be reviewed by judges
  • Youth summit celebration in spring 2021

Who can participate?


Youth ages 14-25 (secondary and post-secondary) are welcome to participate in the Mission to Earth: Climate Change Youth Challenge. Youth groups and organizations are also welcome to participate.


We encourage high school teachers to register and bring the Challenge into their classroom or an extracurricular club at their school. The challenge is delivered completely online which makes it the perfect fit for both online and in-class group work. Download the information package for teachers (PDF). Note: if you’re an Ecoschool, participating in the Challenge will help your school gain points!

How to participate

Choose a theme and challenge question

The Mission to Earth: Climate Change Youth Challenge is divided into four themes and connected to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Theme 1: Electric city

Electric city

The issue

To address climate change, there is a significant spotlight on energy and the need to transition to clean energy sources.


  • Mississauga currently uses 31% renewable energy (mostly hydroelectricity).
  • The following building types use the most amount of energy: residential (51.83%), commercial (15.25%) and education buildings (12.16%).
  • The Climate Change Action Plan’s Buildings & Clean Energy pathway outlines a number of actions to meet building energy demands in a sustainable way to minimize the impacts of climate change.

Challenge question 1

Determine how Mississauga building types can maximize their use of renewable energy, minimize use of natural gas, and/or switch to more efficient energy systems.

Challenge question 2

Find a building project happening in Mississauga and recommend energy conservation initiatives that should be included.

Theme 2: Connected communities

Connected communities

The issue

There’s a need to better connect communities through safe, low carbon mobility and provide residents with opportunities to build strong neighbourhoods, especially in times of emergency.


  • Approximately 80% of all trips to, from and within Mississauga are taken by cars.

Mississauga has approved the Transportation Master Plan and Cycling Master Plan, with a mode share target stating that 50% of all trips to, from, and within Mississauga will be taken by sustainable modes by 2041.

The Climate Change Action Plan strives to empower low carbon and alternative modes of transportation through the Low Emissions Mobility pathway and supports the development of an education program on climate and emergency preparedness through the Engagement & Partnerships pathway.

Challenge question 3

Find a more sustainable way for Mississauga to move by transforming into a low-carbon moving city.

Challenge question 4

Develop a plan to establish Community Climate Resiliency hubs across Mississauga to connect communities to become more resilient, specifically in cases of emergency.

Theme 3: Nature and wellness

Nature & wellness

The issue

Finding space in cities is a challenge, especially when it comes to green spaces, naturalization and local food growing.


  • Mississauga’s natural heritage system covers approximately 9.5% of the city and is home to approximately 2.1 million trees.
  • Climate change impacts, like extreme weather events and invasive species, threaten the resiliency of Mississauga causing challenges regarding biodiversity, stormwater management, and food growing.
  • The Climate Change Action Plan’s Resilient & Green Infrastructure pathway primarily focuses on adaptation measures and nature-based solutions.

Challenge question 5

Determine how we might increase resilience in Mississauga through innovative green spaces.

Challenge question 6

Determine how we might make Mississauga more food secure through the local food movement.

Theme 4: Circular waste

Circular waste

The issue

Society currently operates on a linear, take-make-waste consumer pattern where cost, convenience and single-use items are winning on all fronts.


  • The Region of Peel generates approximately 500,000 tonnes of residential waste each year and diverts 50% from landfill.
  • As Mississauga continues to grow, so will its waste. There needs to be a more effective way to reduce waste, increase diversion rates and keep litter out of the environment.
  • The Climate Change Action Plan discusses municipal waste and litter in the Accelerating Discovery & Innovation pathway, outlining actions to develop and maintain community partnerships and to find opportunities for a circular economy.

Challenge question 7

Determine how we might reduce the use of single-use plastics and keep them out of the environment.

Challenge question 8

Determine how we might encourage individuals to buy less and be more mindful about their purchasing behaviour.


Mentors will be connected with Youth Challenge teams to help guide them throughout their project.

Mentors will:

  • Share their time, expertise, experience, and knowledge with teams
  • Provide support, advice, technical information, encouragement, constructive feedback and input on the team’s project
  • Connect with engaged and enthusiastic youth who are eager to learn and network

Mentor bios

Ahmed Azhari - University of Toronto Mississauga

Ahmed Azhari - University of Toronto Mississauga

Facilities & Energy Management are some of Ahmed Azhari’s primary skills. Professionally, he manages the design of progressive disciplinary building systems; oversees the installation, operation and maintenance for the safe, comfortable, and environmentally friendly operations of buildings at the University of Toronto Mississauga. Ahmed delivers designs that play a significant role in the sustainability and energy demand of buildings while utilizing renewable energy, sustainability, low carbon technologies, LEED strategies, and energy management techniques. Ahmed is registered with PEO as a Professional Engineer, with CaGBC as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional, and with AEE as Certified Energy Manager.

Alex Legrain - City of Mississauga

Alex Legrain - City of Mississauga

Alex Legrain is a Project Leader on Mississauga’s Transportation Planning team. He is currently leading the Changing Lanes project, which is developing a new road classification system and Complete Street design guidelines for Mississauga. Changing Lanes is a key initiative to achieve the City’s Transportation Master Plan commitments to a more resilient and healthier transportation system. Alex is a Registered Professional Planner and a member of the Canadian Institute of Planners.

Andrea Rowe - Greening Sacred Spaces Halton-Peel

Andrea Rowe - Faith in the Common Good

Andrea Rowe is Director of Sustainable Environments at Halton Environmental Network. Through the local chapter of Greening Sacred Spaces Halton-Peel, Andrea helps Faith Based Organizations and the broader community create climate resilient landscapes. She works closely with Kayanase Greenhouse, a native plant supplier located on Six Nations land. Andrea also works on Food Security initiatives, helping to support vulnerable populations.

Arielle Navarra - Ecosource

Arielle Navarra - Ecosource

Arielle loves to inspire others to take action in living low-waste lifestyles and consuming consciously. As Ecosource’s Waste Reduction Manager, Arielle understands the importance of providing accessible environmental education to groups of all ages to show how we can live meaningfully within the limits of what the earth can provide. Arielle has nearly a decade of experience in community outreach, environmental course instruction, and developing and managing waste reduction education programs.

Blake Poland - University of Toronto

Blake Poland - University of Toronto

Blake Poland is a professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Department of Geography & Planning, and Adult Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto, director of the Collaborative Graduate Specialization in Community Development, and co-director of the WHO Collaborating Centre in Health Promotion. His research, teaching, and community engagement centres on building community resilience in the face of climate change and ecological degradation, dialogical methods, social movements as agents of change, and the inner work that supports change agents.

Carol Chaput - Region of Peel

Carol Chaput - Region of Peel

Carol Chaput is a Program Manager with the Region of Peel’s Waste Management Division.  She leads the planning and implementation of waste diversion initiatives curbside, at multi-residential properties and supports local municipalities with waste planning.  She has been with the Region for over 20 years and has experience planning, implementing, tracking and measuring the outcomes of water efficiency and waste diversion programs.

Danielle Reid - Longo’s

Danielle Reid - Longo’s

Danielle Reid is Sustainability Coordinator at Longo’s, where her role focuses on sustainability reporting, food waste reduction, plastics & packaging and responsible sourcing. Her love of food and disdain of waste have led her to a career devoted to tackling the sustainability challenges in the food industry. Prior to Longo’s, Danielle graduated with a Master of Science in Sustainability Management from the University of Toronto.

Dave Yousif - Region of Peel

Dave Yousif - Region of Peel

Dave Yousif is an Advisor in the Planning group of Waste Management department. With over 15 years of experience and education in the field of waste management, Dave has worked in waste management consulting, for several municipalities in Ontario and carried out waste management research in Guatemala and Vietnam. He holds a Masters of Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo, in the field of Geography. His Masters thesis examined Ho Chi Minh City’s, Vietnam waste management system and the institutional arrangements necessary for community based composting.

Felicia Radassao - City of Mississauga

Felicia Radassao - City of Mississauga

As a Woodlands and Natural Areas Technician within Parks and Forestry, Felicia has been involved with the City’s One Million Trees Program, monitoring and enhancing naturalization sites, forest restoration in areas impacted by ash tree loss due to Emerald Ash Borer, and grant applications. Prior to joining the City Felicia had been involved in monitoring flora and fauna, and various ecological restoration projects including reforestation, tallgrass prairie, riparian plantings, and invasive species management. Through habitat restoration and community engagement, she hopes to inspire appreciation of natural areas and wildlife that live within our urban areas.

Frances Edmonds - HP Canada

Frances Edmonds - HP Canada

In her role as head of Sustainable Impact, Frances Edmonds is responsible for driving business from sustainability leadership. Focusing on Canadians’ sustainable procurement practices, Frances is working to change how Canada buys.  She also oversees HP Canada’s full suite of corporate social responsibility programs including strategic partnerships with key nonprofit organizations such as WWF and an industry leading volunteer program. Under Frances’ leadership, HP became the most sustainable technology company in Canada[1] in 2018. She is frequently featured in media as a sustainable impact expert and is recognized as one of Canada’s top sustainability professionals.


Francois Byrne - Hybrid Power Solutions

Francois Byrne - Hybrid Power Solutions

While designing and racing hybrid race cars during university, Francois quickly realized the potential of the battery outside of its mainstream markets. After completing his engineering degree, gaining some real world experience then completing an MBA, he put it all on the line to pursue entrepreneurship. He founded Hybrid Power Solutions with the goal of revolutionizing work sites with fuel free solutions and integrating battery systems in high potential, untapped markets. HPS’ line of fuel free power packs are intended to replace gas and diesel generators to allow for a plug and play solution to providing power in everything from mining to weddings. Charged via the grid, vehicle alternators or solar panels, these power packs offer the flexibility and power required for a range of scenarios while providing greater ROI in a solution that operators are happy to switch to. His mission is to build a company that inspires innovation, creativity and delivers no compromise energy storage solutions.


Jane Hayes - Erin Mills Farmers Market

Jane Hayes - Erin Mills Farmers Market

Jane is a gardener, community developer, educator and coach with 25 years of experience, primarily in the Greater Toronto Area / Southern Ontario. Her expertise includes permaculture, which influences her approach to helping people of all ages learn to grow and enjoy healthy food, as well as to co-design, implement and grow regenerative livelihoods and businesses. Jane is the founder of Garden Jane, and co-founder of Hoffmann Hayes and the Erin Mills Farmers Market.

Matthew Sweet - City of Mississauga

Matthew Sweet - City of Mississauga

Matthew Sweet is the Manager of Active Transportation for the City of Mississauga. In this role, he oversees the implementation of the Cycling Master Plan, which includes a $5 Million annual capital program, supporting programs such as bike parking, outreach and cycling education, and is looking into options for bicycle and e-scooter share programs. Prior to working for the City, Matthew worked in Cambridge, ON and at Peel Region. Matthew is a graduate of McMaster University and Mohawk College.

Mili Alikalfic - City of Mississauga

Mili Alikalfic - City of Mississauga

Mili is an Energy Efficiency & Building Performance Industry Leader with +20 years of experience in energy efficiency solutions, building controls, HVAC/automation service and account management of energy efficiency projects in commercial, industrial, institutional and multi-residential facilities. He brings strong leadership experience in effectively managing diverse building performance personnel, and broad exposure to business financials and account management of +$100M of energy efficiency improvements and energy performance contracts to his current role as Supervisor of Energy Programs at the City of Mississauga.

Rylan Urban - Energyhub.org and Guidehouse

Rylan Urban - Energyhub.org Guidehouse

Rylan is a recognized early-career leader, the founder of energyhub.org, and an energy and sustainability consultant at Guidehouse. He is passionate about exploring the world’s places, and doing what he can to protect a few as well.

Spencer Karabelas - Pittman - McCain Foods

Spencer Karabelas - Pittman McCain Foods

From a young age Spencer was fascinated by the beauty and fragility of nature, and chose to pursue a career that could both help people and the environment. From his work as a Natural Resources Conservation tech at Parks Canada, to his Masters in Sustainability Management studies on scuba industry sustainability in the Galapagos islands, Spencer has sought ways to better understand how to design sustainable systems with measurable positive impacts, incentivize sustainable actions along the value chain, and connect various stakeholders for shared value creation. Spencer currently works at McCain Foods as an Agricultural Sustainable Manager, working to reduce environmental impacts and help farmers overcome the challenges of a changing climate. He also holds a board position on the Potato Sustainability Alliance, a non-competitive industry round table that works to enhance farmer prosperity and sustainability in partnership with various industry stakeholders across North America.

Tim Lindsay - City of Mississauga

Tim Lindsay - City of Mississauga

Tim is currently the Manager of the Office of Emergency Management with the City of Mississauga where he is responsible for leading a team of emergency management and business continuity professionals who ensure the City has the necessary systems, processes, and structures in place to prepare for, respond to, and recover from for disasters and business disruptions.


Is the Youth Challenge only open to Peel schools in Mississauga?

No. We welcome all teachers and educators to participate in the Challenge. However, keep in mind the Challenge questions, content, and resource packages are Mississauga specific.

How will teams be connected with mentors?

Once a team has registered, the Challenge organizers will contact the team lead/supervisor to connect your team with a mentor, based on your team’s selected theme. Challenge organizers will assist with coordinating the first mentor meeting.

Will this Challenge count towards the EcoSchools Canada certification?

Yes. If your school is an Ecoschool the Challenge can be used for points. See the teacher package for more information.

How will projects be submitted?

All projects will be due on March 31 via their project site (teams will be sent information on how to access to their project site once registered. This information will be sent out with the Challenge resource packages). Teams will be required to document their project from beginning to end in a project summary and submit a 5-10 minute video outlining their project, learning process, and a visual demonstration of their idea. The project summary form will be available on the Challenge website.

Do teams have to start working on their project immediately after they register?

Teams can begin working on their project at any time once they have registered for the Challenge and received their Challenge package.  Registration is open from October 19 and January 31. Teams are encouraged to work on their project in preparation for the final submission deadline of March 31.

Is there a maximum number of teams that can sign up per theme challenge question?

No, there is no limit on the number of teams per challenge question.

What is the minimum/maximum number of participants allowed per team?

We recommend that teams have a minimum of 4 up to a maximum of 10 participants per team.