Hoping to work myself out of a job

When I started my career as a public servant, if I was told I would be working on the challenge of our generation 7 years later, I might not have believed it.

Since I was 15 years old, my plan was to work in the field of resource management – a complex field, that grows ever more so every day, it seems. From rising seas to melting glaciers and pest infested forests, anyone up for a challenge is in their element working on climate change.

I’ve spent the last two years as a Research Analyst of intergovernmental relations and climate change in BC. From what I have seen, and heard others saying, British Columbia is a leader in North America on this stuff. Oh yeah, there are nay sayers… suggesting we aren’t doing enough – and they are right. We aren’t doing enough – yet. That’s why I’m still employed. To be honest though, I am hoping to work myself out of a job.

There are inspiring stories from around the world of bold, and sometimes desperate measures to change this destructive path we are on: to reduce our consumption, lighten our footsteps, change our methods, and realize a new world waiting if we would only see it.

Key word: we. British Columbian’s must understand, and support, this most important transition. And in this interconnected world… British Columbians must not be the only ones.

As a global and menacing problem, climate change requires that we innovate and partner with others to uncover the most effective and expedient solutions. Our social, economic and environmental systems will not remain intact in the long term unless we succeed at this.

In this blog, I will do my best to tell my story of climate action, and I hope it inspires you to see a new world waiting.

Heather

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9 Responses

  1. Looking forward to learning a lot through your posts Heather! I’m sure you have many interesting and inspiring stories to tell.

  2. […] This blog chronicles my adventures navigating the turbulent waters of change.. social, economic and environmental… as a connector and leader of others who would also embrace this journey. See some of my thoughts on this in my first post. […]

  3. Great job Heather …

    what kind of car do you drive?

    Unless you can say, “None,” you have no credibility.

    • Hi Steve! Interesting comment – thanks for sharing your perspective. Here’s my story:

      I cycle and take the bus every single day it is humanly possible. You can ask any of my friends, family, colleagues, fellow bus riders and everyday commuters I wiggle my buns of steel at during rush hour (rain or shine). Alternatively, I do have the option of working from home, from time to time.

      But, I do own a car. My parents gave me their 1998 Honda CRV when I was putting myself through University and had just had my son. And I certainly did rely on that vehicle regularly then, when bus routes did not accommodate. The alternative was to give up juggling work, school and parenthood (work and school were far away from each other, so cycling everyday and transporting a new born in between was prohibitive).

      Had I not had a vehicle then, I probably would not have finished university and probably would not be doing what I am for a living (I.e. would not have the credibility of the knowledge I have). It was hard enough with a car. Since then, I have thought of selling it and joining a car coop for those odd grocery runs, hectic days and holiday trips, although, there is another factor in my life.

      I married a man that fixes things for a living (a welder). He needs a truck for certain aspects of his business, but otherwise, chooses to drive the fuel efficient Honda (he is also a skilled mechanic and has improved every aspect of fuel efficiency we have been able to afford). And whenever possible, he does quotes via motorcycle. It might be also worth sharing that I married him before I really developed my zeal for climate action… he was NOT the kind of man most, who have gotten to know me recently, would guess I had chosen to marry, because I have changed.

      All this to say: I get it. There is the option for my husband to retool and get a desk job, perhaps for us to move closer into the city and benefit from the lower stress life of public transit, walking and bicycles 24/7… why wouldn’t I make him do it if I care so much? I HATE driving. It is costly, inefficient, stinky, destructive, and noisy… not to mention the atmospheric impacts. The reality is that we are part of a society that is transitioning, and even the most passionate climate/humanity/environmental activists are prone to getting caught in the middle. And, not everyone is cut out for a desk job (neither can desk jobs deliver even close to half the needs of society).

      If you read my articles (and consider the time a young, working mother put into writing them) you will clearly see how deeply I care, and how credible that care is. So to speak in absolutes, and say that I have NO credibility, well, quite frankly it makes you sound like a dink.

      And I mean that in the nicest of ways… honestly. I hope you can learn from it.

      Because my story is one of a person who has GROWN to appreciate the imperative for action. Someone with a a standard, upgrade your TV, drive when you can afford it, the earth is “too big for us to break”, but be a good person and don’t litter upbringing that has suffered tears and heart break for choosing to be different… or better… while loved ones and peers made fun, or worse, berated me for daring to suggest they were in the wrong…

      My friend, I have learned. Change is #&*ing hard. Economically, personally, socially… and you can’t fault people for struggling through it, otherwise YOU lose your credibility – as someone unable to relate to the majority of humanity. You’ll have your cult following and that. Is. It. And seeming like a bright guy (from the peek I’ve taken at your blog), I’d suggest that would be a shame.

      Anything hard has its ups and downs. But it’s worth it. And that is what I am communicating in my blog. Welcome to my climate action ADVENTURES.

      Good luck with your endeavors,

      Heather

      P.S. Regarding my loved ones (including my husband) and their perspectives – partly because of my efforts, and (somewhat) tempered approach to communicating about climate action, they have grown to be much more aware, excited to talk to me about climate change and the environment, and several are making good headway in the low-carbon transition. I have done well not to alienate them because I value them as people and I learn a lot from relating to people that do not have the zeal (yet).

      • Excellent response, to a “100 percenter’ on the green side. Many have this ‘it’s either all or nothing’ attitude, towards sustainability, and what counts is NOT that we all go back to living in caves (and very few credible earth scientists assert such) but how we all–in Western society, particularly–choose to do to turn this badly-damaged Ship around. Good onya, foir doing all you do!

  4. […] On 2012/08/28 at 2:02 am, Steve commented: Great job Heather … […]

    • “steve in virgina’ has also posted to Skeptical Science, and hews to his “100 percentism,” there, too. To reiterate, that you drive a car does NOT automatically disqualify you from having insights, opinions, and much to offer to the sustainability movement. Feel free to post this to your latest blog post, as a reply.

      • Thanks for the vote of confidence Harry! I have to admit, I still have tremendous respect for the 100 percenters. And I do sway towards that from time to time. Maybe someday the scale will tip and you’ll find me in a tiny house, with not more than a suitcase of belongings. At the present time, I have an opportunity to participate in society that is fruitful in other ways though. It does tug at my conscience. A lot. Which is probably why I was provoked to give such a response to Steve 🙂

      • “My way or the highway” is *rarely* a tenable position to take, and most assuredly when someone of unknown provenance (Does steve live the life of an acetic, from which he can feel justified in slinging absolutist mud?) accuses you of having “no credibility,” despite your efforts to do as little harm to the planet as you ar able to.

        No one-NO ONE–in Western society is guiltfree, or blameless..unless, of course, the electricity they use to operate the computer from which their mud is slung is foot powered…;) then there’;s the matter of did they BUY a computer? If so, do they hold themselves to account for the toxics inside that they made come forth unto the land?

        I think you get my point…keep up the good work!

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