She may be only 13 but she is already well on her way to making her mark on the world. And she’s hoping to inspire others to do the same as she takes the stage at this weekend’s first ever TedxYouth event in Moncton.
Sackville’s Quinn MacAskill is the youngest of eight speakers selected for Saturday’s event but she’s not phased by the age difference – she’s excited about the opportunity to speak out and hopefully motivate people to take greater action to slow the climate crisis.
MacAskill said when she heard there was a TedX event coming to the area – an organization devoted to sharing and spreading ideas in the form of short, powerful talks – and its focus was on youth, she knew she wanted to be a part of it.
“I wanted my voice to be heard on a larger scale,” said MacAskill.
So the Grade 8 Marshview Middle School student quickly applied, sending in a two-minute video introducing herself and explaining her idea.
MacAskill said she was “ecstatic” to learn she was chosen for the honour, particularly because of her age as she believed older and more experienced teens would get the roles.
This year’s speakers will share their ideas on how to encourage sustainable lifestyles.
MacAskill, a lover of nature and a passionate advocate for environmental causes, is a member of her school’s environment club that won the Youth Citizen of the Year award in Sackville for making Marshview the first school in the province to establish a three-stream waste sorting system.
Her passion has been even further propelled in recent months by the international youth climate strike movement. Helping to organize climate strikes locally, MacAskill was looking for a way to creatively engage people. So the keen young writer put pen to paper and crafted a slam poem, a call to action for others. That’s when she realized the power of climate art, how it could motivate people to act.
Her upcoming TEDx talk will focus on this topic, on how art can play an important role in engaging people around the climate crisis.
Whether it’s through a poem, a photograph, a sculpture or other forms of artistic expression, “it’s just a really good way of conveying information . . . a way to kind of send a message that lets people be inspired and motivated,” she said.
MacAskill is hopeful that art created with a message about the climate crisis can help drive change, much more so than traditional ways of conveying information that don’t seem to be spurring anyone to action.
She also believes that youth need to continue to speak out on these issues because people are starting to take notice now that children are the ones fighting for their futures. She said people have been warned for decades about the coming crisis “and it’s crazy there hasn’t been drastic action yet.”
The TedxYouth event will take place at Northrop Frye School on Saturday evening in Moncton. For more information or tickets, visit the TedxMocton website.