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Partnership for Youth and Planetary Wellbeing

Partnership for Youth and Planetary Wellbeing


Last Updated on January 22, 2023

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Ecological degradation and climate change are among the greatest challenges on earth. Fresh, collective, interdisciplinary responses are urgently required to better understand and address the range of effects and responses to human and societal wellbeing (healthy individuals and healthy communities) and the ecological systems (global health) on which we all depend.

The planet is now home to 2 billion youth (15-24 years), the largest global youth cohort in history. Young people are crucial sources of new insights and fresh responses. Greta Thunberg and others have inspired a Global Youth Climate Movement as a clear example of youth leadership, action and advocacy for planetary health defined as “...the highest attainable standard of health, wellbeing, and equity worldwide through judicious attention to the human systems—political, economic, and social—that shape the future of humanity and the Earth’s natural systems and defines the safe environmental limits within which humanity can flourish." Many community-based youth actions towards planetary health are already happening each day in Canada and beyond.

The Partnership is built upon long standing relationships with communities to employ decolonizing and educative data collection and knowledge sharing processes including youth-made films and stories that are shared in educative ways with multiple audiences (e.g., public, youth, NGOs, policy makers). This presentation illustrates our research processes with/by/for Indigenous and non-Indigenous young people and their communities in the global North and South through inclusive, equitable and socially just participatory research methods. The inter-generational and intercultural work with youth, scholars, NGOs, educators, and communities is made visible in the presentation of the data and analysis. Implications for, and extensions to, the nascent Planetary Health Education Framework are discussed as they emerge from work.

This Interdisciplinary Cluster will:

  • i) design targeted and high impact research and knowledge sharing about planetary health with/by/for young people and their communities that fills knowledge and action gaps and begins with our team’s work in Canada and Costa Rica;
  • ii) leverage our decolonizing research processes for high impact co-authored papers, knowledge mobilization outputs with/for youth and communities and transformative education and policy to intentionally advance the United Nations SDGs, York University’s Academic Plan (2020-2025) and Strategic Research Plan (2018-2023); and
  • iii) evolve our Cluster into a larger Partnership that engages additional youth and Indigenous communities provincially, nationally and internationally.


We will leverage new data to co-develop and deliver educational tools and knowledge mobilization outputs that consciously and intentionally work to improve planetary wellbeing through the SDGs.

Along with supporting York’s Academic Plan (21st Century Learning, Knowledge for the Future, Advancing Global Engagement, Working in Partnership, and Living Well Together), we also align with York’s Strategic Research Plan by building on existing collaborations and research to integrate aspects of digital cultures, Indigenous futurities and public/community engagement for a just and sustainable world.


We further our understandings of just transitions towards healthy individuals, healthy communities and global health by catalyzing research across interdisciplinary teams from: Young Lives Research Lab, Dahdaleh Institute of Global Health Research, Centre for Indigenous Knowledge & Languages, Las Nubes EcoCampus in Costa Rica and UNESCO Chair in Education for Sustainable Development.

  • Kate Tilleczek, Principal Investigator (PI), York University
  • Deborah McGregor, Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI), York University
  • James Orbinski, Co-PI, York University
  • James Stinson, Co-PI, Postdoctoral Fellow, York University
  • Felipe Montoya-Greenheck, Collaborator, York University
  • Debra Pepler, Collaborator, York University
  • Ana Maria Martinez, Collaborator, York University
  • Mark Terry, Collaborator, York University
  • Pablo Aranguiz Mesias, Collaborator, Universitat Politècnica de València


This partnership is funded by York University’s Catalyzing Interdisciplinary Research Clusters Initiative


Planetary Health



Related Work




James Orbinski, Director Active
Kate Tilleczek, Faculty Fellow, Faculty of Education Active
Roxanne Cohen, Community Fellow, Rooted and Rising Active
Mark Terry, Research Fellow, Documentary Film & Global Health Alum
James Stinson, Postdoctoral Fellow, Planetary Health & Education Active
Felipe Montoya-Greenheck, Faculty Fellow, Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change Active
Deborah McGregor, Faculty Fellow, Osgoode Hall Law School Active

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