I grew up on a tree farm in the middle of nowhere, Ontario.
It’s a story that I always go back to whenever I’m asked, “Why did you become a writer?” because it’s at the very core of who I am. By the age of 11, I had planted close to 10,000 trees with my father, a carpenter and homebuilder by trade. He taught me the value of hard work, getting your hands dirty, and connecting with the Earth. My parents are the quintessential hippies. They shared their green ideas with me from renewable energy to recycling, focusing on implementing geothermal, cultivating our own organic garden, and buying antiques to furnish our home.
Naturally, growing up in the middle of nowhere, I had an inkling to see the world.
Throughout my education and career, I have seen myself as a bridge to communicating messages that matter. Messages that should be heard but are far too often drowned out by mainstream media stories, sensationalism, and clickbait.
I worked in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to advocate for press freedom, which is extremely important given their pollution problems – in particular, air quality. The government actively censors environmentalists and even bans weather updates. The Petronas Towers glimmer in the midst of all the booming development, a deceptive beacon for the oil industry.
I got a lung infection in Kuala Lumpur that made me long for my days on the tree farm. How do people function like this every day? I thought, noticing that schools were closing their doors due to “poor air days.” The mucus in my nose was black every time I blew into a Kleenex, and my neck so stiff that I could barely turn to my side.
That experience will never leave me, and I experienced a similar one during my documentary reporting in New Delhi, India.
It breaks my heart to know that these places have air quality emergencies. It definitely makes me grateful to live in beautiful British Columbia. But it also makes me worry.
We cannot, as David Suzuki said in the town hall on November 16, treat the environment like a political football. We shouldn’t have to have conferences to convince the world that there is a climate change problem. Environmental rights are human rights.
I want to tell the David Suzuki Foundation’s story. Together, I see us brainstorming potential to take the Blue Dot campaign even further, reaching out to municipal communities and motivating MPs to make environmental rights legislation a reality. We must also listen to Indigenous communities and, in particular, motivate Indigenous youth to rise to the occasion. I would like to highlight the stories of the people fighting for our Earth. I plan to do this in the position of Climate Change & Clean Energy Communications Specialist by:
- Developing engaging storytelling on blogs and social media, focusing on the people behind our movement. Why does this matter to them? These will be short videos (:30 to 1 min) branded as “#climateconvo” to further engage Canadians in a visual and shareable way.
- Brainstorming with our team about how to reach audiences beyond our bubble. How do we get to the person who may not have watched Before the Flood or is in the climate change hoax camp?
- Furthering the Blue Dot campaign by engaging with lawmakers, media, and interested stakeholders to drive our message of legislative action to Ottawa. I see myself working alongside our Montreal and Toronto teams to have the greatest impact on this.
In these uncertain times, I am optimistic. I am hopeful that we will be more vocal and stronger than ever to fight for our human rights. Our environmental rights.
I look forward to what’s to come. I look forward to telling your story… the Earth’s story.