UAlberta scientist named to 2021 Earth Leadership Program cohort

Marine conservation researcher Stephanie Green one of 21 scientists across North America selected for pioneering work in sustainability research.

Andrew Lyle - 27 January 2021

Stephanie Green, University of Alberta marine conservation scientist and Canada Research Chair, is one of 21 leading sustainability scientists announced as the 2021 North American cohort of the Earth Leadership Program (ELP).

The health of marine ecosystems has a ripple effect on communities and economies around the world, and Green’s research in the Department of Biological Sciences focuses on marine global change ecology and conservation. Issues such as climate change, overfishing, and habitat loss continue to affect these systems, which makes finding new and creative solutions of utmost importance. Her work was also recently recognized in Edify Edmonton’s Top 40 Under 40 feature.

The ELP supports outstanding academic researchers with skills, approaches, and theoretical frameworks for catalyzing change to address the world’s most pressing sustainability challenges, emphasizing new forms of individual and collective leadership. The program enables scientists to work collaboratively with diverse stakeholders to become agents of change within and beyond their universities.

Hear from Green on the sustainability topics that are top-of-mind for her going into 2021 and what the ELP fellowship means for her:

What environmental or sustainability challenge is top-of-mind for you and why?

We are depleting and redistributing ocean biodiversity at an unprecedented rate. I am interested in developing scientific tools that help decision-makers and communities forecast where the biggest changes will occur. What will our oceans look like in the future? How can coastal communities respond to adapt and sustain their livelihoods? Where might we be able to halt and reverse the most severe declines?

What was a key moment or an inflection point in your career where you made the decision to focus on the work you are now doing? 

My plans for a law career took a turn after spending a year researching Pacific salmon in coastal British Columbia, where I grew up. These mighty fish thread their way through a maze of industrial, urban, and agricultural development, only to find their spawning grounds fundamentally changed by a warming climate. The interdependence of our actions—local and global—and the deep relationships that formed between First Nations and scientists to understand such a complex system fueled my passion for bringing people together to understand and solve complex conservation problems.

Without worrying about what is realistic or time-bound, what skill or knowledge do you most hope to acquire from your fellowship year?

Through the program, I hope to build skills and collaborations to break down institutional barriers, effectively work across jurisdictions and cultures (especially those in conflict with one another and the environment), and take authentic action to attract and promote diverse leaders within my network.