WE-CAN Board of Directors

WE-CAN Board Of Directors

Katherine Maas

I am a retired educator, a mother and grandmother, a systems thinker, a passionate climate hawk, an experienced coach and facilitator, comfortable with technology, with strong writing and editing skills, a committed and collaborative team member.

Previous governance experience: 

  •     7 years as a community organizer at Dogwood
  •     10 years as manager of an international team of professionals responsible for developing and delivering interpersonal skills training to engineers in a multinational telecom
  •     10 years as a strata council president including directing a successful and harmonious $1.5M envelope replacement
  •     3 years as a founder and board member of a daycare start-up
  •     several years as a community association board member
  •     3 years as a board member of a women’s collaborative investment club
  •     current board member of the First Unitarian Church of Victoria

 As a mother and grandmother, I am determined to help drive the actions needed to ensure a livable planet for future generations – not only for humans, but for all lifeforms and the interconnected ecosystems we are dependent upon. 

Guy Dauncey

 I am a self-employed organizer and author who works to develop a positive vision of a sustainable future, and to translate that vision into action. I am founder of the BC Sustainable Energy Association, co-founder of the Victoria Car-Share Cooperative, President of the Yellow Point Ecological Society, and co-founder and Interim Coordinator of the West Coast Climate Action Network. I am the author or co-author of ten books, including The Climate Challenge: 101 Solutions to Global Warming and Journey to the Future: A Better World is Possible. I am currently completing my 11th book, The Economics of Kindness: A Ten-Year Transition to a Green Cooperative Economy. My website is https://thepracticalutopian.ca/about/I believe that the 2020s are the most critical decade in the history of our civilization. I am a climate alarmist, but not a doomer:  I share the view of Paul Hawken that if we put our minds to it, we can end the climate crisis within one generation. If we all work together, we can exert an incredible influence. 

Sebastian Sadja

I started my journey into climate activism at a young age, having won an Earth Day flag design contest in elementary school followed by a run in the 2005 BC election my first year out of high school. Over the years I’ve been involved in anti-war, anti-poverty, and housing activism. I’ve been president of Force of Nature for the last year and a half, having put in work to successfully transition the organization from staffed to 100% volunteer run.

My academic background is in political science, having done my undergrad at SFU and my graduate work at UVic. I focused primarily on global political economy, political theory, and ethics. I came to my position on climate through critique of “ecological modernization.” I still remember sitting in the Academic Quadrangle at SFU dumbfounded that seemingly serious people thought corporations and technology could solve our carbon woes on their own. 

I want to make sure that WE-CAN targets not only our provincial government, but also municipalities (which influence 44% of emissions). I also strongly believe in coalition and institution building. We need to have a structure like WE-CAN in place to make big moves as the climate emergency intensifies.  

Miah Olmsted

I am a renaissance woman with a broad spectrum of interests and experiences. Perhaps the best way to share who I am is to share my linked in profile which I keep updated pretty regularly — https://www.linkedin.com/in/msolmsted/

I have been an active environmental educator, citizen scientist, and activist for decades. I am a trained Climate Reality Leader and a member of the International Environmental Communication Association. I believe the combination of my business background, my artistic experiences and network of resources, my deep love and familiarity with the needs of children, and my ability to commit the time and energy needed to help shepherd the various initiatives we’re likely to take on makes me a strong candidate to help get things kicked off in the first few years. 

Lily Mah-Sen

 My background: My family ran the Chinese restaurant in Brooks, Alta.  As the only Asian child in town, I often wished I was white.  My Mom referred to me as “bamboo”: yellow on the outside, hollow inside. Our Canadian roots date back to 1880, when my uncle arrived as an indentured railway worker. He died working in the coal mines in Cumberland.  

My father, after paying a head tax of $500, arrived in 1911. My Mom in 1950 after the Chinese Exclusion Act was lifted.  We spent summers searching the Chinese cemeteries for my uncle’s grave, to no avail.   Many graves were marked as “Chinaman” or “unknown”.  After graduation (U of A), I taught school in Papua New Guinea.  I worked for CUSO for 18 years: Regional Coordinator in Alta; Development Educator, Board Services Officer, and Policy Analyst in Ottawa and for Amnesty International Canada for 19 years. Before retiring, I was the National Activism Coordinator for Amnesty Canada. 

My skills include advocacy at federal, provincial, and municipal levels; facilitation and adult education, including workshops on sustainability in Thailand, Zimbabwe, and Botswana; and a recent 5-session Lifelong Learning Course for Seniors on Green Energy. I’ve helped boards function better (diversity training for Amnesty’s international board of directors; conflict resolution with the Ten Days Board in Alberta). I have a Master’s Degree in Management for Non-Profit Organizations from McGill. 

Heather Baitz

 I am a Clinical Psychologist, mother, and avid food forest gardener living on the traditional territory of the Snuneymuxw Nation in Nanaimo. I got involved in climate advocacy after seeing how dire the situation had become from the 2019 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.  I co-founded the Nanaimo Climate Action Hub in 2020, and I am currently serving as president of the hub.  I am also a founding member of the BC Climate Alliance, which is focused on lobbying at the provincial level for stronger climate policies.  

We cannot know whether enough will ultimately be done in these critical next few years to allow our society to survive and thrive in the coming decades and centuries. I know that my actions and efforts alone will not change history one way or the other, but being part of collective action gives me hope.

I believe the effectiveness of BC’s hundreds of climate organizations will be multiplied if we are well-coordinated and able to push on key levers in unison. Given the deep interconnections between the climate emergency and social justice and Indigenous rights, we must make big changes very quickly, but we must also leave no one behind.

Fiona Koza

My passion for climate justice began in 1998 while working at Greenpeace Southeast Asia. My understanding of the climate crisis has continued to grow and deepen since then, while I’ve had the privilege to work for some awesome human rights and environmental organizations including Amnesty International Canada, Greenpeace India and Australia, the International Institute for Sustainable Development, and West Coast Environmental Law – where I currently work as a Climate Accountability Strategist. Becoming a parent has given me an additional perspective on the issue and I founded the group Canadian Parents for Climate Action in 2015 to engage parents, grandparents and others who care immensely about children and future generations. I have a BSc in Environmental Chemistry from Queen’s University and a MSc in Environmental Management and Policy from the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics at Lund University in Sweden. You can find me on Twitter at @fionakoza.

I am honoured to serve on the Board of Directors of the West Coast Climate Action Network (WE-CAN). I am eager to contribute my campaigning, advocacy, communications, policy analysis, public engagement, and research skills to support climate organizations across British Columbia in our collaborative efforts to halt the climate emergency.  

Casey Stein

 I am a student at UBCO studying Philosophy, Politics, Economics. I come from Texas and came to BC with a burning passion for our species to treat our planet better. I have extensive political experience, including working for an elected representative, running in and assisting others in successful campaigns, researching, developing, and implementing policy, and lobbying elected officials. I am also a passionate writer and public speaker and believe effective policy is what will help us overcome the climate emergency. Currently, I am assisting an Okanagan political operative with developing a cross-partisan climate scorecard for municipal and provincial candidates and am beginning work with Impact Arts to work on everything from impact assessment development to communications. In my spare time, I enjoy going on hikes, reading, and interacting with as many dogs as possible. I am also an ardent mental health advocate and a sports fan in my free time. 

Growing up in Texas, while I learned about the existential crisis that is climate change, I watched policymakers at all levels give special privileges to the fossil fuel industry and completely disregard science and the environment. I’ve translated my frustration into an intense drive to pass effective climate policy across the board. Specifically, I believe we need to reform the policy and practices of four areas to overcome the worst effects of climate change: manufacturing, transportation, building codes, and energy generation. Combined, these sectors cause over 80% of emissions and can be effectively reformed with specific, fundamental policy changes. From my time as a mental health advocate, I have learned the value of inclusion and come to appreciate that everybody has a story which can help us understand them as a human being.   

Tara Shushtarian

 For the past twenty years I have been a strong advocate for climate and social justice and have been a core team member with the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, Dogwood Initiative and Force Of Nature Alliance. I have worked on several campaigns like the BC Poverty Reduction Plan, which has been adopted into legislation; Climate Emergency Declaration in Municipalities; All On Board for accessible, affordable transit; and the referendum on electoral reform in BC. My recent involvement with Fair Vote Canada  has amplified the need for a citizen’s assembly and proportional representation  at the municipal level. I also did a two year stint with the BC Centre For Palliative Care as a South Asian advisor for their Advanced Care Plan. I am currently on the Environment Committee for Burnaby Council as a resident representative, and have been elected to the board of Fair Vote Canada. A cinema aficionado, I am on the board of the NewWest Film Society.

With the various crises the world faces, be it climate catastrophe, burgeoning inequalities and  the dire pandemic we are living through, we need urgent action and renewed  energetic trajectory changes. My canoe has left the bank on the river of reconciliation. I continue to grow and learn about indigenous rights. Along with my activism I have worked as a translator, teacher, mortgage consultant  which has always allowed me to bring different perspectives, skills and viewpoints to the table. I have good analytical skills and  am a team player fostering relationships through an alliance with environmental social  and racial justice.

Alison Bodine

 Originally from the U.S., I have lived in Vancouver for a majority of the last 15 years after graduating from the University of British Columbia. Since high school I have been an environmental, antiwar, and social justice activist dedicated to the fight for a better, sustainable, and just world. For the past five years, I have been a central organizer with the grassroots climate justice coalition, Climate Convergence Metro Vancouver.  With Climate Convergence I have been part of building the growing movement in Metro Vancouver against the disastrous environmental policies of the government of Canada, including the Site C Dam, the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion, and the Coastal GasLink Pipeline. I am also a journalist, author, and researcher with a focus on environmental, Latin American and immigration issues. Most recently, my articles have been published internationally by Venezuelanalysis, Global Research, Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA), Common Dreams, Orinoco Tribune, Monthly Review and Counterpunch.

I believe that the founding of the West Coast Climate Action Network, is a critical step towards building the strong environmental movement in BC and Canada that is urgently needed today. It is critical that we find a common ground for the hundreds of pro-planet groups that exist in British Columbia to be able to work together, and especially to coordinate our work. I have many skills to contribute to this effort – from the organizing of meetings, to writing, to working with the media, to outreach, to graphic design and layout. I add an important voice and perspective as a young queer woman active in the grassroots climate justice movement. 

Erin Blondeau

Taansii kiyawow––I am a mother, activist, and a citizen of the Cowichan Valley Métis Nation, currently living and working on the traditional territory of the Ts’uubaa-asatx Nation, previously known as the Lake Cowichan First Nation. I have Métis ancestry from the original Red River settlements and the Qu’Appelle Valley on my dad’s side, and British, Russian, and Jewish ancestry on my mom’s.

Hailing from a Métis paternal line of activists and resistors, I knew that I wanted to dedicate my life to fighting systemic inequities. Previously a graphic designer, I now work as the Communications Coordinator at Indigenous Climate Action, the only Indigenous-led climate action organization in Canada. I am also a freelance journalist for publications like the Globe and Mail, Best Health Magazine, and Saving Earth Magazine.

I have a Bachelor’s degree with a major in anthropology–my research focusing on anthropogenic climate change and the intersection of society and the biosphere, as well as alternate paradigms of truth (or “conspiracy theories”) such as QAnon and climate denial. Follow me on Instagram.