Episode 15: Climate Action in and by Canada: ENGO Voices


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What role do ENGOs, or Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations, play in the Canadian ecopolitical sphere? In this episode, we ask this question of Catherine Abreu, Executive Director of Climate Action Network Canada, and Colleen Thorpe, Executive Director of Équiterre. Together they walk us through the roles that their respective organizations play in fighting for climate policy and shifting the cultural norms of Canadian citizens toward a greener and more just society.


Guest

Catherine Abreu
Executive Director,
Climate Action Network Canada

Guest Bios

Host

Colleen Thorpe
Executive Director,
Équiterre

Guest Bios

Guest

Ryan M. Katz-Rosene
Assistant Professor, School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa Reader in Environmental Politics, University of Manchester

Episode Audio & Video

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Guest Bios

Catherine Abreu

Catherine Abreu is an internationally recognized, award-winning campaigner whose work centres on building powerful coalitions to advance transformative action on climate change. One of the world’s 100 most influential people in climate policy as named by Apolitical in 2019, she has over 15 years of experience campaigning on environmental issues including 7 years in the heart of the global climate movement.

Catherine is the Executive Director of Climate Action Network – Réseau action climat (CAN-Rac) Canada. Canada’s primary network of organizations working on climate change and energy issues, CAN-Rac is a coalition of more than 100 organizations operating from coast to coast to coast. For 30 years, CAN-Rac has been the only national organization with a mandate to promote the interests of the Canadian climate movement as a whole, rather than any one individual organization. Catherine joined CAN-Rac Canada in July 2016, after five years leading the energy and climate programs at the Ecology Action Centre, Atlantic Canada’s longest-running environmental advocacy organization. She is also the former Coordinator of the Atlantic Canada Sustainable Energy Coalition (ACSEC).

Catherine is a dedicated collaborator and community organizer. In the last decade, she has founded and/or supported the work of nine distinct coalitions in the realms of environmental and arts advocacy.

Colleen Thorpe

A graduate of Carleton’s School of Journalism and also holding a master’s degree in environmental management, Colleen Thorpe has 25  years’ experience working as an advocate for the environment and social change. Specifically, she has extensive knowledge on various issues including food systems, the circular economy and corporate social responsibility and has worked on projects that influence leaders,  mobilize citizens and demonstrate ecological transition. She has been with Équiterre - one of Quebec’smost prominent environmental groups - for 12 years, acting as programming director and senior project manager before becoming executive director in 2019. Previously,  Colleen worked as a journalist for several television networks covering events in Quebec. Now, Colleen is regularly called upon by French and English-language media to comment on the environmental crisis. She is also fluent in German having worked and studied in Berlin for several years. Colleen embodies the ideals she promotes in her professional life. A year-round cyclist, she strives to pass on her values to her four young adults.