What is your role at Acclimatise? What does a typical workday look like for you?
I am a Management Consultant at Acclimatise. I advise our clients – both public and private – on how to adapt to climate change, or how to offer products and services in support of climate adaptation. I specialize in a few different areas including leveraging nature-based solutions and natural infrastructure for adaptation, sector-specific applications of climate and weather data to support adaptation, and climate communications.
My days vary but in general consist of:
- Meetings – lots of client and project partner meetings.
- Lots of research, whether it’s desk-based (e.g. reading through guides, manuals, or scholarly literature) or interviewing experts on a particular topic that I am researching for our clients.
- Writing – the majority of advising work is delivered in written form to our clients. I write a lot of market assessments and reports.
- Spreadsheets – I make a lot of spreadsheets to keep myself on track!
- Presentations – this isn’t a daily task but clients will ask me to present the findings of our work either to their internal teams, or occasionally at conferences and events on their behalf.
What inspired you to work on climate issues?
I love animals. My initial passion was for species conservation and my interest in climate issues evolved out of that. Climate change is of course a main driver of species loss and poses a major obstacle to the success of conservation work. So I’d say my interest in climate evolved through an interest and passion for conservation.
Additionally, at present I am inspired about the impact that climate change will have on wine. Wine growing is very dependent on terroir (climate and soils) and wine production is so tied to culture and history that in many cases it can’t adapt! Champagne can’t exist anywhere other than Champagne (let alone the English Channel, which is what climate projections suggest)!
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
When I was thirteen and in my first year of high school my nineteen year old sister went travelling to Europe (with an older, responsible family friend) for one month. I was incredibly jealous and told my parents that when I finished high-school I would also go travel to Europe, except for longer and maybe even on my own. My parents smiled amusingly at my starry-eyed aspirations and said something to the effect of “Ha, sure child! Make your own money and you can go off on your European trip, buy a Ferrari, whatever you want!”
I took their advice literally and drafted a resume which consisted of an elementary school education, babysitting a family friend’s kid, and pulling weeds from the neighbour’s yard. I went on a job hunt and after innumerable rejections (or worse yet lack of response) I got hired at a sandwich shop for $5.25 / hour. I worked a few times a week, saving as much of each paycheck as I could with my European adventure always in the front of my mind.
Four years later at the end of high school I had saved over $7000 and after insisting to my parents (“you said if I saved my own money I could go!”) I bought a one-way ticket to Europe. Following my 18th birthday I travelled alone for 4 months across 12 European countries and had the adventure of a lifetime.
When you’re not working, how do you like to spend your time?
I love spending time with my dog Sully whether it’s cuddling on the couch or going on long hikes in the woods. I am an aspiring wine aficionado and love to go to wine tastings, share wine with friends, and read books about wine regions. In fact, most of my leisure travels are visits to wine regions (e.g. Rioja, Spain, Napa and Sonoma, California, Champagne, France). I enjoy riding my bike (I sold my car last year and now biking is my primary mode of transportation), hiking, running, dancing and gym classes. I like reading classic literature – currently reading Great Expectations.
What climate developments in science, policy, or public perceptions are you hoping to see this coming decade?
Climate action is needed on many scales. On the individual scale climate action is sometimes met with resistance as people don’t want to compromise their lifestyle. However, small or incremental changes can decrease carbon footprints while creating many positive benefits. I think we need to re-frame perceptions to focus on these positive benefits. For example:
- If you bike or walk to work (instead of drive) you are not just reducing your carbon footprint you are exercising and being healthier (and saving costs in fuel and parking).
- If you hang your laundry instead of putting it in the drier you will save in energy costs.
- If you reduce meat consumption you will likely save on your grocery bill and possibly improve your overall health.
I’d like to see a shift where people are not thinking of personal climate mitigation in terms of compromise but rather what can be gained through co-benefits. If there was a perception shift on scale it could drive real change. I’m not talking about drastic lifestyle changes (sailing across the Atlantic instead of flying isn’t a realistic option for most people), but small, incremental changes that can have a large net effect.
What’s one thing that can instantly make your day better?
My dog jumping all over me when I walk through the door, a good exercise session, and a nice glass of wine in the evening along with good company.