In Conversation: A Solstice Celebration of Freshwater Changemakers

Date: June 20th, 2020

On the Summer Solstice 2020, POLIS co-hosted a multimedia celebration of fresh water and on-the-ground community action. This virtual event included live dialogue with three inspiring changemakers, a screening of the award-winning short film For the Love of Salmon (2018), and video profiles of water champions from across B.C. While the event itself was not recorded, it later inspired a feature segment that aired on Shaw TV.

The event was hosted by POLIS’ Laura Brandes and featured:

Katia Bannister is a 16-year-old youth climate activist and community organizer from Thetis Island, B.C. She leads the Cowichan Valley Earth Guardians crew, who strive to create meaningful change involving social and environmental issues. Katia is in Grade 11 at Queen Margaret’s School in Duncan and plans to pursue a career in ethnoecology. She has a passion for restoration and conservation work, poetry, blogging, and she is currently learning to speak the Hul’qumi’num language.

Keely Weget-Whitney is a 25-year-old member of the Stl’atl’imx First Nation and a graduate of the Rivershed Society of BC’s 2011 Sustainable Living Leadership Program. On August 6th, 2017, she stepped into the frigid and fast-moving waters of the Fraser River with one goal in mind: Make people care. The film For the Love of Salmon tells Keely’s story as she embarked on a 60-kilometre swim to bring awareness to the depleting number of salmon and its impacts on her culture and the environment

Fin Donnelly is the founder and chair of the Rivershed Society of BC and co-founder of the Fraser Watershed Initiative. He has twice swum the 1,400 km length of the Fraser River to draw attention to its declining health and to encourage communities to engage in environmental advocacy. Fin served on Coquitlam City Council from 2002-2009 and as a Member of Parliament from 2009-2019. Since 1995, he has spoken to more than 60,000 people in hundreds of B.C. schools and communities about sustainable living.