FOUNDING DIRECTOR OF ANCESTRAL SERVICES

CHÚK ODENIGBO

"Bonjour, je m'appelle Chúk. I am a black Franco-Albertan from Calgary, and based in Gatineau. I most often lead and contribute to contracts and services that centre climate justice, oceans, climate science, anti-racism, public health, COVID-19 futures, language localization."

QUICK INFORMATION

HERE'S A QUICK OVERVIEW OF THEIR PROFILE.

PRONOUNS

He / Him

IDENTITIES

Black, Francophone

LOCATION

Outaouais (Gatineau, Québec)

LANGUAGE

French, English, Michif-Cree

EXPERTISE

Sustainability, Climate Justice, Anti-Racism, Public Health, Decolonization, Oceans

PAST WORK

Co-founder at The Poison and The Apple, Toxicology Expert at Saskatchewan Prevention Institute, Environmental Health and Safety Regulatory Analyst at Nimonik, Environmental Analyst at Nickpoint Environmental Services

A SHORT BIOGRAPHY

SOME REASONS WHY THEY'RE ON OUR TEAM.

"Franco-Albertain from Calgary, Chúk is incredibly passionate about the interactions between culture, health and the environment. This passion manifests itself in his three primary roles as (1) Founding Director for Future Ancestors Services Inc., an Indigenous and Black-owned, youth-led professional services social enterprise and startup that advances climate justice and equity with a lens of anti-racism and ancestral accountability; (2) Co-founder of The Poison and The Apple, a Albertan born bilingual non-profit organisation that seeks to change the way in which Canadians interact with nature at a sociocultural level in order to diversify outdoor spaces and make nature truly for all; (3) and, PhD Candidate at the University of Ottawa in Medical Geography where his research looks at the relationships between human health, the environment, geographic factors, society, and healthcare to shed light on public health policies and strategies.

Chúk is recognised as an expert in ""Healthy Parks, Healthy People"" (HPHP). Originally from Australia, the HPHP movement approaches the relationship between humanity and nature from a health and health care perspective in order to create and influence programs and policies to improve public health through parks and natural areas. He has spoken at several international and local conferences such as WE Day, the Healthy Parks Healthy People Forum, the Nature Champions Summit, and the Atlantic Outdoors Forum. He has put together and taught courses at the University of Ottawa for undergraduate students and at ECO Canada for Environmental Professionals. Chúk has also led important discussions on climate change and youth engagement with Global Affairs Canada, Youth Climate Lab, the Salzburg Global Seminar and other government and non-government agencies.


Chúk was ranked amongst the top 30 Under 30 Sustainability Leaders by Corporate Knights, the top 30 Change-Making Albertans under 30 by the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation, the top 10 young Franco-Albertan leaders by Radio-Canada and the top 25 environmentalists under 25 in Canada by the Starfish for three years. Chúk was MEC's ​​ambassador for the outdoors and is an alumni of the first Ocean Bridge cohort, a group of young Canadians leading ocean health and literacy projects across Canada.
"

INTERVIEW

BEYOND THE BIOGRAPHY Q+A.

Why do you do what you do?

I am an information broker who resides at the intersection between public health and the environment. I hold a master’s degree from the School of Public Health at the University of Montréal and undergraduate degrees in environmental science and chemistry. 

Growing up, I found a deep level of comfort in nature, often reading books underneath trees. It was a space that holds lots of precious memories for me, a place where I felt whole and complete. This love of nature encouraged me towards studying the environment with an ardent desire to protect it. As I grew older, I started to realise just how exclusionary the mainstream environmental movement is. I noticed that I was often the only young person at the table, the only black person, the only francophone, and so I made it my mission to make green spaces more welcoming for everyone. 

Not only are there numerous health benefits that come with interacting with nature for human beings, but many studies also show that those who develop a personal bond with nature are more likely to protect it. My vision is to reconnect humanity with nature in a way that accommodates modernity, sparking that green revolution without decimation of the present.

How does your lived experience and identity contribute to your qualification as a service deliverer?

I believe my skillset and experience comes from the variety of experiences and points of view that I am confident I would be able to bring to the table.

Having worked, studied and lived in six provinces and territories, I truly feel that I am able to take into consideration the priorities and overarching cultures of the different provinces in my thought process. I am fluent in English and French, the two official languages in Canada, and conversational in a few others; however, in addition to speaking the languages, I am also immersed in both the anglophone and francophone cultures of the country. This means that I not only know how to communicate, but I am skilled at knowledge translation and ethnolinguistic inclusivity.

Given my age, I am confident that I can bring the youth perspectives to the table, and with the experience I hold, I am able to ensure that my voice is heard and thus the voices of those that I am representing are heard as well.

What does it mean to you to act as a future ancestor? 

The environmental movement often harks to the past, in a constant state of longing for pristine nature that is untouched by humanity, but many in the environmental world are starting to question this frame of mind. Given that we, collectively as a society, have acknowledged the anthropocene, an age where human beings are the largest force of change on the planet Earth, I believe that being a future ancestor means fighting for abundant futures that incorporate postnatural environmentalism.

What does this mean? In essence, the argument is that there is no longer anyway to dissociate human activity from nature/the environment and as a result, we need to change the way we think. Rather than looking to the past with longing, or looking at the present with despair, Erle C. Ellis, for example, states that “[t]he only limits to creating a planet that future generations will be proud of are our imaginations and our social systems. In moving toward a better Anthropocene, the environment will be what we make it.”

To me, being a future ancestor means making an environment that will make those that come after me feel loved, embraced and connected with the earth.

CONNECTING

THEIR WORK STATUS WILL GIVE YOU A GENERAL IDEA OF THEIR AVAILABILITY AND CAPACITY.

WORK STATUS

Accepting Contracts Full-Time

TIME ZONE

EST

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