Break The Divide was founded because 14 year-old Abhay had the opportunity to visit the Arctic in 2016 and witness the effects of the climate crisis firsthand on a grander scale than he had ever seen before. While the rest of Canada had only just begun to feel noticeable changes in the form of increased wildfires and other natural disasters produced by the climate crisis, Northern Canada has been feeling these effects for 30 or 40 years. The vastly different lived realities of the Inuit communities Abhay engaged with in the Arctic and his own classmates in Surrey, BC, were inextricably linked to how they understood the climate crisis and the urgency they had in addressing the climate crisis.
This sparked an important realization for Break The Divide. Apathy is not innate. It is grown, it is nurtured and it is encouraged by a society that actively devalues community connection, emotional reasoning and compassion. It means it can also be fought through empathy, through a commitment to dialogue, community, and decolonial values. It means that action is achievable for everyone. Action can be engaging in conversations in your community, it can be seeking out knowledge, asking questions, creating art, or offering assistance.
It can take various forms and Break The Divide is here to provide students with the tools to recognize how they can contribute meaningfully to issues that affect their communities in ways that foreground their, and their communities and well-being.
All of us here at Break The Divide have at one point or another felt isolated, frustrated, and helpless when faced with the overwhelming nature of the climate crisis. We wholeheartedly believe that this is the result of being given the wrong tools. We are not taught to empathize, we are not taught to feel, we are not taught to lean on our communities for support. Break The Divide aims to change this. We believe that our approach can work because it has for us and many youth we know. Because though empathy alone cannot stop climate change, it can make our communities more resilient, more connected, and more prepared to support each other as new challenges inevitably arise.
Learn More About Where We Started:
“Break The Divide isn’t just about connecting communities to talk about climate change and mental health. It’s about starting conversations within communities about local identities, community knowledge, and emotions. Through sharing with one another, we unleash the potential of diverse community knowledges to create systemic change.”Abhay Singh Sachal
Over the past years, we have grown our team, with full-time staff and dozens of volunteers supporting our mission. If you’re interested in a career with Break The Divide, reach out to us today.
We’re always looking to connect with individuals and organizations with similar missions and goals for the world. Reach out to us at email@example.com if you’re interested in working together!
Over the next years, we plan on scaling our Climate Emotions programming to schools across Canada and North America, and expanding our Climate Action and Community Knowledge operations to communities around the world.