Currently on the board of directors at the the Sierra Club of Canada, 23-year-old Caron, originally from a small town in rural British Columbia, is the former Atlantic Coordinator for the Sierra Youth Coalition: Sustainable Campuses Project. She studied International Development and Environmental Science at Dalhousie, with a focus on climate change on both the scientific and policy ends. She also co-authored Global Warming for Dummies with Elizabeth May. At the moment she is a research associate for the Eco-Efficiency Centre at Dal.
The Coast: What do you like the most about living in Halifax?
Zoë Caron: People are more personal here. I grew up with that living rurally, but being in the city here, even, there's a sense of normal everyday life and no one is above anyone...a sense of always being neighbours.
TC: Do you get the feeling that the environmental movement is different here than in BC?
ZC: Very different. The east coast is much more conservative, whether you're talking about moving towards different types of energy or talking about politics or anything related to climate change. Maybe it's not as conservative as it is cautious. I think that Nova Scotia has one of the biggest opportunities in the country to develop resources that are renewable and it's taken a really long time for the province to jump on board with that.
TC: Here in Halifax we pride ourselves on our recycling and composting programs, on being green. Do you think our pride is justified?
ZC: Oh, sure, 10 years ago when that system was developed it was very leading edge, and I'm very proud to say to everyone that I can put my compost on the curb, but that's one element of what this province is capable of...we're the only province in the country that depends on coal. I feel like we're 50 years behind. We're getting Colombian coal so a) we're not using our own resources and b) we aren't using renewable resources. Whether you're looking at wind or tidal or biomass, I think there are numerous elements that we can begin to work in. Even natural gas, which we're shipping to the US. A lot of people are working on these issues, it just needs a push forward.
TC: What do you most enjoy about summer in Halifax?
ZC: I'm a stickler all year around for Duncan's Cove. I went out there last night, when the day gets longer you can stay out there later. Lawrencetown Beach all through October. I love being outside and I love the ocean.
TC: Is there somewhere you like to go out to eat in Halifax?
ZC: I love The Wooden Monkey. They serve organic and local food, so that's fabulous. I am also a big fan of Tom's Little Havana. Both these places serve incredible chocolate dessert, which might be why I've chosen them. Tom's has the chocolate brownie and the Monkey has the tofu chocolate pie.
TC: What do you plan for this summer?
ZC: I'm working on a proposal with the provincial government (it hasn't been approved, but hopefully it will be) on developing various energy scenarios moving forward on renewable energy, what's the most economically, environmentally and socially viable options for the province. Working with a team of people at Dalhousie University and technical experts throughout the province on what that would look like. I'm also going to be involved in the United Nations Climate Change Negotiations, working from here but travelling to Bonn in the first two weeks of June.