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Meet the Climate Activist Rallying Toronto’s Youth to Take Action

Meet the Climate Activist Rallying Toronto's Youth to Take Action

Allie Rougeot is relentlessly determined to build a greener and fairer world for all.

What comes to mind when you think about climate change?
For many people, the dominant image is a polar bear clinging to a shrinking block of ice or waves crashing into coastal cities. Others might picture a remote mountain village engulfed by rising seas or the grim aftermath of a natural disaster on a faraway tropical island.

But for Aliénor (Allie) Rougeot, climate change is about more than a global environmental catastrophe — it’s about human rights.

A 22-year-old climate activist at the helm of Fridays For Future Toronto (FFFT), Rougeot draws her personal connection to social justice from her upbringing in Southern France, where she watched the refugee crisis unfold with a concerned eye, with her parents acting as a sounding board for her then-fledgling activism.

Her interest in the struggles of refugees, displaced people, and other marginalized groups eventually led her to uncover the linkages between these issues and environmental inequality.

"I was doing a lot of work around ... refugee rights in the Mediterranean, and I was hearing that climate change was going to make [a situation] I thought was already awful worse," she recalls. "That set me up for approaching the climate crisis from a human rights point of view, and that's how I've always come to it."
Though the seed of activism was already well planted in her mind, it was shortly after she moved to Toronto to pursue a bachelor's degree in economics — with a starry-eyed vision of Canada as a beacon of progressivism — that Rougeot grew disillusioned with the country's legacy of colonialism and exploitation of natural resources.

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