Yasmin is the founder of Empower Me, Canada’s only energy efficiency, education and behaviour change program designed specifically for members of hard to reach communities. The multi-award winning program Empower Me works with newcomers, immigrants, lower income, and indigenous families to ensure they have access to and can take advantage of climate and energy programming, education and services. Yasmin holds a Masters degree from the University of British Columbia and has been recognised both locally and nationally for her work in ensuring a just and equitable transition to a low carbon economy.
In 2012, Yasmin co-founded Empower Me: Canada’s only climate and energy education program designed for and delivered by multilingual and multicultural groups.
Empower Me is designed to break through barriers, by hiring members of these communities to deliver important climate and energy information in a trusted and familiar way, and always in the appropriate language. The program is delivered in trusted spaces, “invite only” spaces like places of worship. In this way, education and information is absorbed into the fabric of a community, becoming normalised and embraced to create real change and impact.
Since 2012, Yasmin’s vision has expanded Empower Me across BC and Alberta, supporting 60,00 families to reduce their own impact by avoiding 21,000 tonnes of CO2e. Empower Me is a proven and impactful model to support hose who are often missed in climate and other programming design. The goal of the support from Women4Climate is to continue to expand across the country to remove barriers and ensure energy initiatives are available and accessible to all Canadians.
Many immigrants and newcomers have barriers to accessing important climate information. Without the life experience with Canada’s housing, heating systems, composting, and waste reduction programs – many immigrants are simply not aware of how to “run” their Canadian home in a sustainable and efficient way. Add to this challenge, language barriers and a common lack of trust in authorities, and many immigrant families are excluded from initiatives that reduce their climate impact and make their homes more comfortable and safe.
MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET
Like many parents, I am driven to be an example of positive change and to leave the world a better place for my children and future generations. With luck, someday I will be someone’s ancestor, someone who will remember their great great grandmother with pride for the work I did that made a difference in the lives of vulnerable people. In the end, the planet doesn’t care how much money we spend on climate change the planet cares about reducing emissions – it is this commitment to delivering real, effective, and impactful solutions that drive me to make meaningful change.