Emily De Sousa is a trained geographer, communications expert, policy nerd, and Toronto native. She is the founder and creative director of Airplanes & Avocados, a sustainable travel brand teaching readers how to see the world and save it at the same time, as well as the founder and executive director of Youth Action on Climate Change, a community incubator dedicated to cultivating the next generation of environmental leaders.
Emily earned her B.A. in Environmental Governance from the University of Guelph and is currently pursuing an M.A. in Geography, with a research focus on coastal resilience and seafood sustainability. She also works as a research assistant for the Community Engaged Scholarship Institute. Throughout her undergraduate studies, Emily was awarded several scholarships as a result of her leadership and dedication to student life, including the CSAHS-SA Student Leader Scholarship and the Gordon Nixon Leadership Award. She was featured within the Department of Geography, Environment, and Geomatics at the University of Guelph as a “Geography Superstar“. She was also the Canadian Science Policy Centre’s 2019 Recipient of the Youth Excellence Award for her policy recommendation, “Eliminating Seafood Fraud: A Fishy Approach to Food Policy”.
She is a trained PADI Divemaster and Freediver. Both her love of diving and her ocean advocacy work have been recognized by PADI. She represents the Project Aware program, a nonprofit organization working with scuba divers to raise awareness about marine conservation issues, by serving as a Project Aware Ambassador.
She serves on the board of the Canadian Network for Ocean Education and is the current Director of Marketing for the Leading Change Canada Steering Committee. Emily is a passionate advocate for community-based climate solutions, improving science communication, and increasing coastal resiliency.
Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Emily's correct pronouns are She/Her.
Emily is a youth (18 to 30 years old).
Emily offers Speaking, Training, Research and Photography Services as a Constellation Star.
Emily operates as a sole proprietor under her organization Airplanes and Avocados.
Emily uses FreshBooks software for invoicing.
Q&A WITH EMILY
How does your institutional and non-institutional education contribute to your qualification as a service deliverer?
My undergraduate degree in Environmental Governance and in progress master’s degree in Geography have helped me develop many important skills to enhance my service delivery including research, writing, critical thinking, and public speaking. In addition to my university education I have completed a handful of short courses on topics such as digital marketing, photography, and affiliate marketing to broaden the scope of my impact, particularly online. I have also sat on the boards of organizations such as the Canadian Network for Ocean Literacy and Wellington Water Watchers... These experiences have resulted in my world view being shifted and magnified to encompass ideas and values that aren’t necessarily my own. It’s allowed me to develop empathy, compassion, and communication skills that can effectively cross party, cultural, gender, and age boundaries.
How does your lived experience and identity contribute to your qualification as a service deliverer?
I have been fortunate enough to accumulate many life experiences at a young age through travel, professional opportunities, and educational pursuits. Each has been a learning experience for me, and each experience has contributed a piece to the puzzle of my identity; I’ve learned a lot about myself and the person that I want to be. I take these lessons with me everywhere and embed them in my work. Travelling and engaging with new cultures has been the most rewarding lived experiences of my life...
Travelling and engaging with individuals like Holocaust survivors, residents of small-island-developing states being disproportionally impacted by climate change, and indigenous Hawaiians who are fighting to preserve their culture has pushed me out of my comfort zone but resulted in immense growth. It has allowed me to empathize with new values and see the world through the eyes of others. I am now diligent about ensuring a variety of worldviews are represented in my work and use my service delivery to encourage people to open their hearts and minds to new ways of experiencing the world.
How do you advance climate justice and equity through your services?
I advance climate justice and equity through my services by aiming to bring a variety of perspectives to the table and encouraging everyone to build empathy and compassion. I aim to steer away from pushing forward any specific agenda, but rather I encourage individuals that I worked with to come to their own conclusions after they’ve really digested all of the information and all of the perspectives on an issue.
Often times in my youth climate organization, I tell young people that you don’t have to agree with everybody, but you should at least hear them out. I aim to reflect this in my services by encouraging multiple perspectives and allowing people to take away from it what is most valuable to them and then apply it to meaningful action in their own life.
What does it mean to you to act as a future ancestor?
To me, being a future ancestor means being intentional with my actions and leading by example. Being a future ancestor means thinking ahead and anticipating how the steps we take today will impact the future ancestors of tomorrow... I think that being a future ancestor is rooted in transparency, accountability, and integrity – being transparent in our actions and messaging and being honest with those who will follow in our footsteps as future ancestors. Being accountable to our actions and able to answer for the decisions we’ve made. And finally, maintaining a high degree of integrity in our work and personal life, to make sure we’re always honouring our ancestors and making future ancestors proud.
Emily De Sousa
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