Katie and her side-kick Bean, a zestful golden retriever puppy, live on the ever-hip and burgeoning north end of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Across Fern Lane sits the skeleton of the Ecology Action Center building where Katie works from. Wall beams exposed and saws a churnin’, the center is expanding their building to provide more legroom for the 30 plus employees that make up Atlantic Canada’s most prominent environmental think tank and advocacy group. There, Katie serves as the Halifax Community Organizer for the David Suzuki Foundation. Currently, Katie works with volunteers in Halifax and across Nova Scotia to build municipal support for the Blue Dot movement – a movement across Canada pushing all levels of government to recognize the right to drink fresh water, breathe clean air and eat healthy food.
As a hobby, Katie serves as a leader of Divest Dal – a movement to remove fossil fuel investments from the endowment at Dalhousie University in Halifax, where she completed a masters program in 2013. Katie is also a part of the Canadian Youth Delegation (Délégation jeunesse canadienne) to the United Nations Climate Negotiations in Paris this December, where we will be ever so happy to see her again under the lights of the Eiffel Tower. This time, sadly without Bean.
In addition to being trained and inspired by other Canadian youth delegates who attended the United Nations Climate Negotiations in Copenhagen back in 2009, Katie specifically recalls being galvanized by the bold action of a young Canadian named Brigette DePape. In 2011, while participating in the Canadian Senate Page Program, Brigette made national news when she stood in silent protest during an opening speech in the Senate holding a sign decreeing “Stop Harper,” a protest against the policies of Stephen Harper, the Prime Minster of Canada since 2004. This action hit close to home – both Katie and Brigette attended the University of Ottawa for their undergraduate degrees.
“Brigette had a huge impact on me,” Katie recollected as we shared breakfast in her living room surrounded by others from Divest Dal. “Knowing someone who had the courage to turn her back on the Canadian government, wishing for a more just and democratic system. That was inspiring.”