Julie spent nearly a decade in the public service with the BC and Ontario governments working on environmental policy, followed by three years managing sustainable operations at lululemon. She then managed government relations and sustainability for a clean technology start-up that is leveraging the latest in battery and solar technology to implement microgrid solutions. She is now consulting and focused on growing her experience in the non-profit space with Plastic Oceans Canada. She studied Politics, English and International Development at Queen’s University and the London School of Economics. In her spare time she supports refugee causes, enjoys teaching and practicing yoga, cycling, hiking and writing. She is committed to a life of ongoing evolution and to a daily practice of feeling alive by connecting to nature and each other.
For my project, I am seeking to secure grant funding to implement a plastic waste recovery and waste to energy program to clean up Canada's shorelines. Vast amounts of plastic waste from different parts of the world collect in catchments and build up over time. This waste is causing significant short and long-term harm to our ecosystem, wildlife and human health. Many wildlife, including birds, seals and whales die from ingesting or becoming entangled in this waste. Over years it breaks down into microplastics and is bioaccumulating in the fish we eat.
While efforts are underway to address upstream challenges to stop the flow of plastic into our oceans, we also need greater efforts to clean up years of accumulation along Canada’s coastline, which is the longest in the world at over 150,000 miles.
Plastic Oceans Canada aims to leverage the latest innovations in plastic recovery, processing, gasification and circular economy to address this challenge and create a replicable model that can be adopted across the world. Phase 1 involves a pilot to perform remote plastic extraction to assess and measure recovery capabilities in order to prepare a feasibility study that will inform the larger project roll out. The goal is to purchase a ship with onboard waste to energy technology to restore all of Canada's shorelines and beyond. A similar ship is already in use by the US military to manage onboard waste, as described in the Plastic Oceans documentary available on netflix.
Plastic Oceans Canada’s vision is a world free from plastic pollution. Our mission is to inform, inspire, and incite action by changing consumer behaviour, as well as corporate and public policies, to solve plastic pollution.
MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET
I often reflect on how we live on a relatively small planet, floating alone in space with no planet B. Our only home is so fragile and yet we are still unfortunately treating our ecosystem like an open sewer by emitting overwhelming amounts of carbon and other pollutants.
I am often reminded of the quote, “What we do to the planet we do to ourselves." It's personal for me as I have struggled with a health condition that is believed to be connected to environmental toxins. Every day I am inspired to speak up and take more action so that we can preserve this incredible wonder of a planet, breath clean air and restore human and ecosystem health.