Brenda Morehouse, Pembina Institute for Appropriate Development
Tuesday, 20 Feb 2001
Today seemed to pass by in a frenzy. The CBC radio interview went well, and we have started to get feedback on the EcoAction.ca renewables campaign, including suggestions from participants on what kind of campaigns they would like to see in the future. One person suggested that a campaign to retaliate against George W. Bush’s proposed North America Energy Policy is direly needed. I had to explain that we focus on Canadian and international issues, but have not historically been involved in U.S.-based work.
Aside from the interview and the usual daily email and telephone communications, I spent a fair amount of time in meetings today. Climatechangesolutions.com is piloting a competition for schools on 15 March, so there is much to do on finalizing various writing materials and graphics for the website. Heidi Lasi and Janet Sumner have taken the lead on the schools competition, which aims to creatively engage elementary and high school students in the climate change issue. Students can submit a written story, a video, a storyboard, or an art poster on activities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions (and winners in each age category will receive prizes from Mountain Equipment Co-op).
Meanwhile, I am also working on getting a couple of new sectors online: Forests & Forest Products and Agriculture. These two areas are very important — not just because of the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from these sectors, but because they hold a lot of interest for the Canadian public in terms of where our food comes from and what is happening to our forest heritage. Although I have written a fair chunk of the material on Climatechangesolutions.com, including most of the Municipalities and Individuals & Families sections, I also work with contributing writers (Pembina staff and external contractors) who are experts in the issues at hand. After working with the writers to obtain the final pieces and extensive internal review, we send the materials out to Technical Advisory Committees. This “peer review” ensures that climatechangesolutions.com has high-quality content, in keeping with Pembina’s reputation as a credible and unbiased source of information.
The day ended in a meeting on strategic directions for the Institute with David Pollock, our executive director, who is based in Alberta. Pembina is in the midst of a strategic planning process that includes some important organizational restructuring. An important part of this process is ensuring that staff needs and interests are satisfied, so David wanted to discuss my potential role under the renewed structure at Pembina. I want to make sure that I make the right decision, and there are a few areas I could see myself moving into.
I love communicating environmental messages, but my work has always been grounded in research. Before I joined Pembina, I worked on international urban sustainability issues from a fairly academic perspective. I was also based in India and Taiwan for about a year and a half. So, I’m feeling myself drawn toward international issues once again as Pembina starts to get into renewable energy and community sustainability in “developing” countries. However, I know that Pembina’s experience with me comes more from a communications perspective. I was able to discuss some of these ideas with Robert Hornung, who will head the policy and advocacy area under the new structure. Whatever I decide, I certainly respect Pembina’s openness and desire to ensure that the goals and interests of staff are being fulfilled.
In the end, I could spare less than an hour toward preparing my presentation for the Urban Forum. And tomorrow looks to be another fast-paced and busy day.