Return to site

Sarah Newton, Regional Engagement Coordinator for Northern Canada

Saturday Spotlight Series

· Climate Reality Canada Team
broken image

I am a proud Northern queer adventurer who you can frequently find hiking mountains to board down, or paddling remote rivers, accompanied by their kids and dogs. My mother was born in Cape Town, South Africa and my father is of Western European descent. I am passionate about urban farming and seek to inspire individual actions as well as policy change to address the climate emergency. 

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

My worldview of God as Nature has always meant that I had issues with mainstream's society's relationship to the natural world. I was heavily influenced by the Stó:lō Elders who came to visit our school when I was a child and had the opportunity to learn from another when I attended the University of the Fraser Valley as an adult. Moving North solidified the connection for me between Indigenous people and the environmental movement, and I have since sought to be an ally in my work and the way I walk on this planet. 

What is one achievement you are proud of? 

I was very active in the campaign to ban hydraulic fracturing in the Yukon territory. My friend and I devised this insane plan to visit 8 communities in the Yukon to talk about it from his lived experience in Northeastern BC. So we drove nearly 2000 kms on a shoe string budget, being welcomed and hosted by the communities. That was the start of the campaign, and from there it exploded into a united voice to stop the madness. It's one piece where I know I had an influence and had a lasting legacy on the protection of Yukon water. 

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

I recently started a student-led Sustainability Committee at Yukon University. We are going to be reviewing the university's Strategic Plan and have a ton of ideas about how to create a more sustainable environment on campus. I am also working with the Northern Community Land Trust to put land aside for affordable housing in perpetuity. The housing development we are working to build will be beautiful, environmentally sustainable, and help to lift people out of poverty which is what I think climate justice should be all about! 

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

I think connecting climate action to what is important to people is the most important thing. Last year, we had severe flooding here in Whitehorse and we have also been impacted by supply chain issues in Vancouver from the fires/resulting floods. This has brought climate change front of mind for many people! 

What is a fun fact about yourself? 

There are way more animals than people at my house.