Sudbury, Ont., student receives international honour for her environmental advocacy

Sudbury's young climate activist Sophia Mathur has been cast in a new documentary on climate change, set to air on World Environment Day.

Sophia Mathur, a 13-year-old from Sudbury, Ont., is one of 25 young environmental activists from across the globe being honoured by Action For Nature (AFN).

Mathur is being recognized as a 2021 International Young Eco-Hero, an award that recognizes eco-conscious youth ages 8-16 who are taking steps to solve tough environmental problems.

In a news release Wednesday, AFN said winners of the International Young Eco-Hero Award are selected by a panel of independent judges, including experts in environmental science, biology, and education.

Since 2003, the group has recognized more than 300 Eco-Heroes from more than 30 countries and 25 U.S. states.

Mathur won the Climate Change Activist award in the eight to 14-year-old category.

"Inspired by her family, Sophia began lobbying politicians on environmental issues at age seven," the release said. "She has successfully lobbied the City of Greater Sudbury to declare a climate emergency, urged Canadian ministers to adopt carbon pricing, and lobbied her MP, Paul Lefebvre, for border carbon adjustments."

She is also the lead youth plaintiff in an Ecojustice lawsuit against the Ontario government for weakening Ontario's 2030 climate target. And during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mathur has hosted virtual events with MPs, MPPs and senators and has asked Prime Minister Trudeau and Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland direct questions about their climate plans.

“Kids like Sophia have shown that the next generation of leaders is here, and they are refusing to wait to solve the world’s most pressing environmental challenges,” Beryl Kay, AFN president, said in the release.

“The work of these young people will not only have real, positive impacts on their communities, they will also help solve global climate challenges and inspire others – no matter what age – to consider what they can do to help.”

“My goal is to create the political will to enact science-based policies to solve the climate crises,” Mathur is quoted as saying. “I ask that politicians listen to the experts and cooperate to protect the future of this amazing planet.”

To read more about her work, click here. To learn more about this year’s International Young Eco-Hero Award winners, click here.