Full Name and Title
Matthew Chapman, Community Climate Hubs Manager
A Toronto native whose career has come to rest at the confluence of entrepreneurship, education and ecology, Matthew fell in love with Montréal’s bike lanes in 2008. His experience in the fields of fine arts (BFA, York University), education (BEd, University of Ottawa) and commerce (MBA, HEC Montreal) shape his understanding of the challenges and opportunities our society and civilisation face. His teaching experience has taken him from kindergarten music classes in Zanzibar and secondary math in Cairo to adult accounting instruction in Montreal. He is a co-founder and board member of the Montreal Climate Coalition and works as the Community Climate Hubs Manager for The Climate Reality Project Canada.
Why did you join the climate movement/what pushed you to become interested in climate change issues?
Living in a country with a well-established social safety net and being an individual with modest material aspirations, I realized early that I could afford to be the change I want to see in the world without jeopardizing the needs or prospects of my children. That led me to a career in the arts as a stage performer, then to a second in education in Zanzibar, Ottawa, Montreal and Egypt. While completing an MBA six years ago, I was persuaded that the economic system for which I was preparing my students to succeed was fundamentally flawed. I then put my experience in entrepreneurial, artistic and educational contexts to work in the climate justice space by co-founding the Montreal Climate Coalition, which seeks to support our city's rapid and equitable decarbonization.
What is one achievement you are proud of?
In 2018, the Community Climate Hub initiative launched the National Climate League as part of our support of the growing network of 25 Climate Hubs. The League gameifies municipal climate action, empowering citizens to track their own city's progress and how it compares to similar municipalities across the country. Hundreds of volunteers participate each year by contacting their mayors and councillors to request data submissions for the NCL's 15 primary indicators, including Air Quality, Landfill Waste, EV Charging Stations, Public Transit and Affordable Housing. Each January during 'awards season,’ the NCL Standings are published and Climate Hub members take those results into their communities to inform local advocacy and support their campaigns to improve their city while reducing emissions.
What was your most iconic/memorable Act of Leadership?
Early successes of the Montreal Climate Coalition led me to a role with the Climate Reality Project Canada in 2016, which evolved into the Community Climate Hub initiative that encourages and equips Climate Reality's membership to act local in their own municipalities. In addition to tangible projects involving waste reduction, shortening supply chains and promoting active and public transportation, the Hubs understand the value of changing not only lightbulbs, but laws. They support their cities in setting and achieving ambitious climate targets that respect their fair share of global emissions. Two other pillars guide Hub development: citizen leadership rendering them entirely autonomous, and the inclusion of diverse voices and movements in the development of their vision for their community.
What do you think is the most effective way for people to take climate action?
Change their lives, then change their communities.
What is a fun fact about yourself?
I have gained 10 pounds in confinement. Need to take up running/abandon eating! I also teach trampoline at the University of Montreal (bounce at your own risk!).