Rachel Parent to Receive 2018 Rob Stewart Youth Eco-Hero from Planet in Focus

Activist Rachel Parent

By Pat Mullen

Toronto’s Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival announced today that Rachel Parent will receive the second annual Rob Stewart Youth Eco-Hero. PiF will award Parent on June 7 at the upcoming student film festival. The award honours the memory of late filmmaker Rob Stewart, who died in January 2017 while researching his upcoming film Sharkwater: Extinction. Stewart’s films and mentorship inspired a new generation of eco-activists.

Parent, 18, is the founder of the non-profit organization Kids’ Right to Know, which advocates for youths to have balanced, healthy diets and be aware of the presence of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in some foods. She has been a healthy eating activist since age 11 and has gained considerable media attention as a leader in the youth movement for eco causes. Particularly notable is her 2013 appearance on The Lang and O’Leary Exchange in which she participated in a conversation with conservative commentator Kevin O’Leary after he mocked protesters raising awareness of GMOs and she challenged him to a debate.

In 2014, she gave a TEDx talk on GMOs that went viral on Twitter and in 2017, she was named Youth Director of Regeneration International, which promotes regenerative agriculture and works with various parties including farmers and scientists to develop best practices for land use.

PiF gave the inaugural Rob Stewart Youth Eco-Hero to filmmaker Jonah Bryson in 2017. The 2018 Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival runs Oct. 25-28.