Exploring Climate Goals and Community Realities | Ecology Action Centre

Exploring Climate Goals and Community Realities


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Join us for a panel discussion exploring how climate policy is impacting our communities, and what is possible here in Mi'kma'ki / Nova Scotia in the next ten years. Our panel of community experts will share their perspectives on successes, shortcomings, and opportunities for equity and climate justice, community-owned renewable energy, and energy efficiency.

This session aims to educate and inspire, so that you feel equipped and ready to speak up for clear and equitable climate goals and to work together to build a more just and sustainable future for all.

When: Wednesday, March 3, 2021, starting at 5:30 PM (AST)


  • Caden Flynn (Youth Climate Striker)
  • Brendan Haley (Efficiency Canada)
  • Jessika Hepburn (South End Environmental Injustice Society)
  • Elder Albert Marshall (Eskasoni First Nation)
  • Steve Parsons (Corporate Division, Eskasoni First Nation)
  • Moderated by Erica Butler


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CLICK HERE to watch a recording of this episode on EAC's Facebook page!




    Speaker Bios

    Caden Flynn is a 19 year old student attending Saint Mary's University. He was born with cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that affects the movement in his limbs. From a young age Caden has been an advocate for inclusion and accessibility for those living with disabilities. He has also been involved in climate activism, organizing strikes around the Halifax area.


    Brendan Haley is the Policy Director for Efficiency Canada, a Carleton University based research and advocacy organization for an energy efficient economy, launched in 2018. At Efficiency Canada, Brendan led the creation of the Canadian provincial energy efficiency policy scorecard. 

    Brendan has a proven record in energy policy entrepreneurship and analysis. While energy coordinator at Nova Scotia's Ecology Action Centre, he was the principle catalyst behind the creation of Canada's first energy efficiency utility, Efficiency Nova Scotia. He served on the Efficiency Nova Scotia/EfficiencyOne Board of Directors from 2012-2018. He has written academic articles and public policy reports on energy efficiency policy, developed and taught a course on the topic. 

    Brendan has a PhD in Public Policy from Carleton University where his research used political economy and systems of innovation frameworks to understand the role of traditional natural resource sectors in Canada's low-carbon transition. He was awarded a prestigious Banting Post-Doctoral Fellowship in 2016-2018. He also holds a Masters of Environmental Studies from York University and BSc in Economics from Dalhousie University. 

    Brendan has provided strategic advice and written on energy and innovation policy for organizations such as Smart Prosperity Institute, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the Pembina Institute, Dalhousie University's Eco-Efficiency Centre, and the Acadia Centre. 


    Jessika Hepburn is a community organizer and entrepreneur of Black & Jewish descent based in Mi’kma’ki working to craft a culture of care, abolish white supremacy, redistribute wealth, and replace capitalism/colonialism with community goodness. Jessika is the co-owner of The Biscuit Eater Cafe & Books @biscuiteater a rural cafe and Black led bookstore in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia and secretary for SEED (South End Environmental Injustice Society) @seedshelburne a society based in Shelburne, Nova Scotia started by Louise Delisle and featured in the documentary “There’s Something In The Water” based on the book of the same name by Dr Ingrid Waldron. SEED is dedicated to ending environmental racism, ensuring access to clean water, and reparations for Black residents of South End Shelburne, home of the oldest free Black community in North America and location of the first race riots. 
    You can find Jessika organizing support, events, and advocacy with BIPOC South Shore @bipocss; stepping up as the only candidate of Black descent or woman of colour for any party in Nova Scotia during the 43rd federal election in 2019 for the riding of South Shore — St Margarets; organizing creative economies with Maritime Makers, and Oh My! Handmade; and holding governments of all levels, leaders, or companies like Etsy accountable publicly.

    In 2020 with BIPOC South Shore, a collective of Black, Indigenous and people of colour Jessika started organizing #BuyBlackBirchtown to create a retreat and learning centre in Birchtown by and for Black, Indigenous, people of colour and 2SLGBTQ+ communities to rest, heal + work together for Black liberation & Indigenous sovereignty. We have purchased a property near the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre in Birchtown and will be starting retreats for members in the summer of 2021. Contribute:  https://bit.ly/buyblackbirchtown https://gofund.me/75268c22 

    Photo credit: Brian Limoyo 


    Elder Albert Marshall is a leading environmental voice in Unama’ki Cape Breton. He is advisor to and is a highly regarded spokesperson for Mi’kmaq natural resources and environmental issues. 

    Albert advises and lectures internationally on a wide range of topics: 

    • the environment 
    • tribal consciousness collaboration with non-Aboriginal society 
    • traditional healing, traditional teachings 
    • Mi’kmaq orthography and language 
    • First Nations’ vision of science 


    He is the creator of the “Two Eyed Seeing” concept–Balancing Traditional Aboriginal Knowledge and Contemporary Science. Albert works to further positive work within Mi’kmaw communities, to seek preservation and understanding of cultural beliefs and practices among all communities and to effect a strong vision for his people and the future.


    Steve Parsons is presently the General Manager Corporate Div. Eskasoni First Nations which is nestled on the beautiful Bras D`or lakes in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Since 2001, Steve has worked within the First nation community of Eskasoni both as a secondary teacher delivering business curriculum courses and as an economic development consultant.

    Since 2013 Steve has been working as the General Manager of Eskasoni Corporate Div. which has been engaged and responsible for the creation of new revenue streams for Eskasoni band along with the creation of several Joint venture businesses both on and off the reserve.

    In 2008 and again in subsequent 4 year terms of 2012 and 2016 Steve was elected to the Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board district 3 as a board trustee holding the positions of vice chair and Chairman.

    Steve has also served as a board member on several companies and foundations including the Cape Breton University Board of Governors, Cape Breton Partnership , Eskasoni Wind Company ltd and most recently the Provincial Advisory Committee to the Minister of Early Childhood and Education for a second two year term.

    In October 2020 Steve was elected as District 7 Councillor with Cape Breton Regional Municipality.


    Erica Butler is a former transportation columnist with the Halifax Examiner, now living and reporting in Sackville, New Brunswick. She’s interested in how individuals and communities solve problems, from the climate crisis to inequality to social justice.