Abra Brynne – Food Systems & Agriculture

Abra Brynne is a nationally respected food systems and policy analyst. She grew up on a farm in BC’s Okanagan Valley and has worked closely with farmers and on food systems for thirty years. She has worked on policy advocacy and transitions in fisheries, meat, cannabis and organic sectors, focusing on value chains and the regulatory regimes that impede or support them. As someone who spends a lot of time outside and in conversation with farmers, Abra has long been acutely aware of the impacts of climate change and the role that agriculture can play in supporting our ecosystems. Abra is also a founding member of many agriculture and food-related organizations, including BC Food Systems Network, Kootenay Local Agriculture Society, Canadian Association of Food Law & Policy. Since 2016 she has led the Central Kootenay Food Policy Council.

Herb Hammond – Water, Ecology, Forests, & People

Herb Hammond is a forest ecologist and Registered Professional Forester with 40 years of experience in research, industry, teaching and consulting. Currently, his work is carried out through Silva Ecosystem Consultants and the Silva Forest Foundation. He is best known for his concept, and application of, nature-based planning. Hammond defines nature-based planning as the protection and ecologically responsible use of ecosystems through all scales of time and space. Working primarily with Indigenous Nations and other rural communities, Hammond has developed more than 25 ecosystem-based conservation plans across Canada and in other parts of the world.

John McArthur – Sustainable Energy

Born and raised in the Kootenays, John has a 40-year career in the energy industry. Since 2015 he has been a member of the Association of Energy Engineers and the BC Sustainable Energy Association. He is passionate about renewable energy and is committed to fighting climate change with renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives. Energy production and use depend on complex systems but everyone has the ability to reduce their energy use and carbon emissions. He is currently working with the West Kootenay EcoSociety and Kaslo Climate Action Team to formulate projects which can benefit both the environment and the economy of the Kootenays.

Judy O’Leary – Climate

Judy co-leads the Nelson-West Kootenay Chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, is on the Coordinating Team for Climate Caucus, a national organization of councillors and mayors, and has recently been instrumental in the launch of a new organization, BC Climate Alliance. In her climate advocacy work, she has met with many BC MLAs to push for effective climate action in this province. She also holds one of the environment positions on the City of Nelson Advisory Planning Commission. In an earlier life as a senior planner in government, she coordinated reviews for major environmental impact assessments and taught post-secondary economics.