By Guest Contributor Matthew Rygus
Gathered together at the beautiful Ampersand building in downtown Calgary, attendees at the Energy Futures Lab 2022 Youth Innovation Jam devoted an entire Saturday to the energy transition. With the intention of driving equitable and sustainable solutions for our world’s energy issues, the event started off on a passionate note with a speech that literally brought tears to eyes. It set the tone for the rest of the event, making it clear that the attendees were there to do more than simply discuss energy issues and possible solutions. They were there to collaborate for real change; to uproot current ways of doing in a manner that prioritizes inclusivity and sustainability.
“The day was filled with passion, energy and growth. Three themes that speak to the event itself, every one of its attendees, and act as the very keys to realizing an inclusive energy transition in our lifetime.” – Matthew Rygus
Fueled by scientific truths and morally grounded aims, the attendees of various backgrounds participated in activities that enhanced everyone’s knowledge and capacities to drive such change. From the panel of veteran industry professionals and entrepreneurs who provided both inspiring stories and pragmatic tips on leading change, to the many discussions led by Indigenous attendees on the value and methods of including Indigenous perspectives, to the innovation sessions where project developers acquired precious ideas that would help advance/enhance their endeavours related to the energy transition. The day was filled with passion, energy and growth. Three themes that speak to the event itself, every one of its attendees, and act as the very keys to realizing an inclusive energy transition in our lifetime.
Acting as more than just a day to show awareness, the 2022 Youth Innovation Jam set a clearer path forward for attendees and anyone else willing to help with the energy transition. We need continuous collaboration, consistent empathy, and a strong mix of knowledge with perseverance to take actions that will support this transition. And from these actions we need to influence and inspire ever more people to join the movement, until it becomes the new status quo for a world in desperate need of adjustment in the Anthropocene.
With the end of this innovation jam comes the beginning of a renewed sense of direction. All that’s left is for us to carry the torch forward, ensuring that its handle is touched by anyone and everyone who has a stake in energy on Earth.
Matthew Rygus is a Sustainability Analyst and Project Coordinator who is currently completing a Master’s in Sustainability Management. Outside of these ventures, he is an avid creative writer (currently working on a screenplay while continuously writing original songs) and a hiker.