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Émilie Campbell-Renaud, Community Engagement and Program Development Manager

Saturday Spotlight Series

· Climate Reality Canada Team
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Full Name and Title

Émilie Campbell-Renaud, Community Engagement and Program Development Manager

Short Biography

Émilie initially joined the Climate Reality Project Canada team in 2010 as a research intern. Her work focused on transboundary environmental policies in Canada, in accordance with her Bachelor’s of Political Science and International Relations at McGill University. That same year, she participated in the Climate Reality training in Nashville, thereby proudly joining the ranks of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps. Since then, she has led various workshops, given dozens of presentations, and managed several projects focused on sustainable development (notably on the topics of water bank protection, waste management and Environmental Site Assessments). She completed her Masters of Environmental Science at l'Université de Sherbrooke in 2014, and recently turned the page on her business management career in order to dedicate herself fully to a mission that she’s deeply passionate about: climate action. She joined the Canadian branch of the Climate Reality Project as a staff member in May of 2018.

Why did you join the climate movement/what pushed you to become interested in climate change issues?

My initial field of passion was international conflict resolution; I was studying international relations and humanitarian diplomacy in the hopes of eventually making the world a better place (excuse the cliché). Climate issues came up frequently as the impetus behind many conflicts, for a variety of reasons including refugee issues and conflicts over resources. My focus therefore turned towards climate change, because a peaceful world is impossible without security and health, and those things are deeply endangered by climate change. With this reorientation of my career path, I feel that I’ve shifted my attention from the symptoms to the disease itself.

What is one achievement you are proud of?

Though Climate Reality trainings are free of charge, participants must cover their travel and accommodation costs. It was therefore a long-time dream of mine to create a stipend program that would enable us to financially support the attendance of high potential leaders. The climate movement is one that requires unprecedented solidarity, and these stipends would go a long way towards making the Leadership Corps program more inclusive and representative of Canada's amazing diversity. In 2018, with the precious help and guidance of my colleagues, I succeeded in securing my very first grant - which was a tremendous accomplishment in and of itself - and was therefore able to move forward with creating the stipend program. The pilot year was a huge success, and 9 amazing new Climate Reality Leaders from all ages and all walks of life joined our ranks at the Minneapolis training. They have already accomplished so much in the short time since their training. The success of the stipend program can be attributed to a whole slew of outstanding people, ranging from our funding partner to the volunteers who participated in the selection committee to the dozens of outstanding applicants. I am incredibly proud to have had built this program alongside such amazing people, and am confident that the success of our pilot year will be enough to demonstrate that this program deserves to be repeated for future trainings.

What was your most iconic/memorable Act of Leadership?

When the IPCC published its famous report in 2018, organized a pan-Canadian event to amplify it: they invited all citizens to deliver a copy of the report to their local MP, to take a picture of ourselves doing it, and to post it on social media using specific hashtags in order for the initiative to gain as much momentum as possible. As someone who generally stays away from politics, interacting with an MP is not something I would have undertaken by my own initiative; however, the campaign gave me the nudge necessary to explore this important aspect of climate solutions, and to push the boundaries of my comfort. I remember how thrilling it was to deliver the report to my local MP Hélène Laverdière, because I truly sensed that I was part of a huge, country-wide wave of people mobilizing together to have the entire world appreciate the importance of this momentous report. It was humbling and exciting all at once.

What are some climate change initiatives you are currently taking part in?

That's a tough one, since my role at the Climate Reality Project Canada consist of taking part in a whole slew of initiatives! More specifically, I help amplify and bolster those of Climate Reality Leaders, and I also create initiatives and contribute to existing ones in order to create opportunities for Climate Reality Leaders to deepen their engagement. That being said, I'm currently involved in a particularly exciting initiative called Mères au Front, which is led by Équiterre. Launched on Mothers' Day 2020, this initiative puts concerned mothers at the forefront of climate policy solutions. To do this, mothers, grandmothers and mother supporters are encouraged to mail paper green hearts to their MPs on which they write the names of the children for whom they want to secure a healthy and safe future. By the same token, MPs are asked to place a green heart in their windows to indicate that they support a green recovery from COVID-19. All in all, it is a beautiful initiative rooted in solidarity and love.

What do you think is the most effective way for people to take climate action?

Making relatively minor changes in your habits (pertaining to consumption, transport, and voting, for example) really has a more significant impact than people tend to think, because it is the sum of these small actions that adds up to a sea of change. If I had to choose a single solution, however, I would have to say that the key is nutrition. Opting for a plant-based, zero-waste diet made up of local ingredients is incredibly impactful: it is healthier, better for the economy, and makes an enormous dent in one's GHG emissions and overall environmental impact.

What is a fun fact about yourself?

I'm a metalhead who is addicted to live shows. Office by day, moshpit by night!