From climbing mountains in Cape Breton doing plant surveys, to promoting energy efficient products in hardware stores, to introducing New Brunswick students to electric vehicles, Jane Burchill has a diverse background working in the sustainability space in Atlantic Canada. After graduating from Saint Mary’s University in 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Science with a major in Environmental Science, Jane worked with the Gaia Project to support their mission to engage New Brunswick students in sustainability action. Following that experience, she joined Port Saint John as a Communications Specialist and Public Relations Coordinator. Jane is now leading the roll out of the Port Saint John Decarbonization master plan, a strategic initiative to support Port Saint John to achieve its transition to a net-zero future. The Port is collaborating with the local community to build this strategy and Jane is currently involved in their partnership with The Pond Deshpande Center at The University of New Brunswick to engage our future leaders in the decarbonization journey of The Port.
Thanks for participating in this campaign Jane, please tell us more about your inspirations and motivations to work in sustainability and take climate action in your organization.
I like to feel passionate about where I spend my time. With work being such a large chunk of our lives, I knew that if I was working towards reducing the impact on climate change in some way, shape or form, then I would be fulfilled by my job. There is a lot that inspires me, but the number one thing is all the activists around the world that are putting themselves at risk to protect the environment.
What is one myth about sustainability that you wish you could dispel?
The idea that Climate change is too far gone so there is no point to try and make a difference. If we think this way about any problem would any progress ever be made?
What is one thing you wish more people knew about integrating sustainability into their work or operations?
I wish more people knew that sustainable changes are more than just good for the environment. They can reduce operating costs over time, improve your reputation and enable innovation. I also wish companies knew that the longer they wait to get onboard, the less benefits they will receive from the transition to a green economy. Not that reducing your impact is all about the business benefits you receive, but a lot of times the companies that are hesitant are the ones where the business case is the number one priority. I think early adopters, those who were doing this work a decade ago, have been and will continue to reap the biggest rewards from this transition.
Could you share a project you’ve contributed to that advances New Brunswick’s transition to a low-carbon economy?
One project I am particularly proud of is The Gaia Project’s Electrify Your Ride program. I was one of the program facilitators who brought an electric vehicle to New Brunswick schools to introduce the option to students and also take them for a ride in the car. I was leading this program circa 2017, and though only six years ago, the dialogue surrounding electric vehicles was drastically different. No one knew much about them and no one could see themselves buying one, trust me I had hundreds of conversations like this. It was so important to show youth the benefits of electric vehicles as they will hold the purchasing power in the future. Many of these youth hadn’t even heard of electric vehicles but by the time the program was over most of them were excited about the opportunity of owning one.
Thanks for #leadingthechange in New Brunswick Jane!
Join the Port of Saint John and other Green Economy Leaders who are taking action on climate change and leading New Brunswick’s low carbon transition