Going Green with Activist Savi Gellatly-Ladd

In celebration of our Super ‘Oh-No’ Proof Underwear launch, Climate Justice Organizer (and Kt model) Savi talks all things activism, sustainability and the future of menstruation.

Savi has done it all. A life-time activist, she's been organizing and educating since high school. Read on to learn about her work with Climate Justice TO, how she got started organizing, and her hopes for the future of menstruation. 

 Hi Savi, what have you been up to this summer? 

These past two months have been nothing like I expected, what with COVID-19 and it being the summer before my first year in university. I took a more creative approach, learning how to crochet, make earrings, handmade cards, and write poetry. I have been trying my best to keep busy, spending a lot of time in nature with my puppy! I have also started reading again, some of my favourites have been Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, as well as Women, Race, & Class by Angela Davis. However, my proudest moment this summer has to be the interview and feature piece that I am so grateful to be part of in Elle Magazine’s article. 

You’ve been organizing with Climate Justice TO for a little over a year now. Can you tell us a bit about Climate Justice TO and the work you do there? 

Climate Justice Toronto (CJTO) is a fairly new organization, we’ve been around for a year and a couple months! We’re youth-led, composed of young organizers from all across the GTA. Our group strives to create an irresistible movement to fight for climate justice, while confronting what we believe to be the root causes of the climate crisis; capitalism, colonialism, and white supremacy. 

We have recently been doing community care work, and in light of the violence and austerity disproportionately impacting Black and Indigenous folks, we created a Black and Indigenous Solidarity Care Fundraiser. From the applications we received, community members are needing us to raise $25,000 in order to provide Good Food Boxes from FoodShare Toronto, redistribute funds for housing and therapy, and help fund and organize Black and Indigenous healing circles.

There has been so much support for this fundraiser, but we still need money to meet these urgent requests from Black and Indigenous community members! This is why I started up a small business called @yellowpeach.es.shop on Instagram making earrings, where I am donating 50% of all proceeds to the Black and Indigenous Solidarity Care Fund.  It is so important that we support one another and recognize that part of climate justice work is community care work and mutual aid! If you would like to donate to the fund, click here.

Follow us on our socials if you’d like to get involved and/or learn more about what we’re up to:

Instagram: @climatejusticeto

Facebook: @climatejusticeto

Twitter: @CJusticeTO

What motivated you to become an organizer and activist? 

For as long as I can remember, I have deeply cared about social justice issues. My parents played a huge part in this because they have been taking me to protests since I was a baby! I openly talked about issues I cared about with friends, and even joined some social justice clubs in high school, yet I felt as though something was missing. There was a gap that couldn’t be filled by just talking about issues, it didn’t feel like I was doing enough. 

I had never really thought about what more I could do to make a change, but in grade 10 I got my first taste of organizing when myself and a few others at school organized protests. We started the Not Just Rumours movement to address sexual misconduct by teachers in the TDSB, and achieved great success when we walked out of school a couple times throughout the 2017/2018 school year. 

This was a huge learning moment for me, because up until then I had never truly organized an event or worked with other people to fight for a cause. After this huge jump to organizing, a whole new world had opened up to me.

In grade 11 I got involved as a provincial organizer in the Students Say No movement, organized walkouts for #SexEdSavesLives, and became involved in the $15 and Fairness campaign. At that point, I was starting to realize how interconnected all of our struggles are and I had also just found out about youth movements for climate justice.

Learning about how long we have left to address the climate crisis instilled a burning panic within me. I had so many overwhelming feelings and needed to do something about them. I joined CJTO in June 2019 as a high school organizer who had little to no experience in climate justice activism. From there, I was able to learn from other organizers who helped me get to where I am today! 

How do you live as sustainably as you can? Do you have any tips?

Sustainability is something that I try to keep in mind as much as possible in my day-to-day life. I walk and take public transportation as often as possible, buy second-hand clothing, pass my clothes on to other people, and bring a reusable water bottle and bag wherever I go! These things can be so simple and are small ways you can implement sustainability in your daily life! 

I also believe that these small steps are not the only solution to addressing the climate crisis, which is why I suggest joining a climate justice organization near you. It is so important that we take it further than individual steps, and move towards collective action! We are so much more powerful when we unite!

Reducing our single-use plastic waste is something really simple we can all do to help the Earth— including single-use menstrual products. What’s your period routine like? How do Period Underwear play a part in your routine? 

After I found out about Knixteen, my periods became significantly less stressful. Between worrying about leaking and being upset about all the plastic waste I was creating, Knixteen’s Super ‘Oh-No’ Proof Period Underwear created a viable option for me to move away from single-use period products and become more comfortable while on my period! I never knew that I could have a comfortable AND sustainable period, yet here I am using period underwear every day of my period, creating little to no waste!

What do you think the future of periods is like?

I am extremely hopeful about the future of periods, where everyone with a period can afford to be sustainable and move away from single-use menstrual products. To think that a future like this is possible makes my heart soar, because period products are so heavily used and this would create a difference in the amount of single-use plastic waste. I know as KT’s Period Underwear and other reusable period products become more widespread, we will see an immense difference in the waste that is created and the overall way we look at periods!

You recently graduated high school, congrats! What’s next for you this Fall? 

This Fall I’ll be going into my first year at York University! I have chosen to do Gender and Women’s Studies, and will be trying to get a double major in Environmental Studies. I am so excited for this new chapter of my life, where I can learn about issues that are important to me and bring that knowledge into my everyday life. I hope to continue my small earring business and organize more with Climate Justice Toronto!

Thanks Savi! Follow along with Savi's new chapter, find out how to get involved with Climate Justice Toronto hereand set yourself up with a sustainable period by clicking the button below. 

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