I’ve always wanted whatever career I chose to make a difference, big or small, and to leave the world a better place for future generations.

My interest in environmental and earth sciences is something I stumbled into during my undergraduate studies. I was taking fine arts — painting, sculpting, drawing — and I needed a science elective. After my first climatology class, I was hooked. I changed my major to environmental studies, specializing in biophysical earth systems, and took every climatology class available. I’m fascinated by the natural environment and how everything is connected — every action has a reaction.

In my job as a climate change adaptation and resiliency specialist in Richmond Hill, Ontario, I provide our private and public sector clients with the knowledge and tools they need to plan for and adapt to risks related to climate change and extreme weather events. This work crosses market sectors — government, energy, transportation and many others — as businesses, communities and public agencies navigate climate uncertainty. I focus on identifying risks and provide recommendations to foster resiliency, helping organizations become climate ready.

Much of my work more recently has taken me to Nunavut, one of Canada’s northern-most territories, where I have been working with the government’s Climate Change Secretariat on a variety of assessments and recommendations. The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world, meaning the effects are significant, rapid and life altering. Changes in permafrost, species migration patterns, and the timing of ice freeze and thaw are becoming inconsistent, changing the northern landscape we know it.

Environmental and climate literacy, to me, represent knowledge and understanding of the topic, as well as a resulting action. In my role at AECOM, undertaking climate vulnerability assessments allows me to identify and share potential climate-related risks with clients, and then support them in identifying attainable actions to help mitigate those risks.

No one country or person is going to “solve” climate change, it has to be a team effort, top-down and bottom-up approaches, across all levels and generations. It’s not just an environmental issue — it’s an economic, social and political issue.