The Environmental Leader Award criteria: “Everyone is talking about the carbon footprint, but this award celebrates a person who is walking their talk, whether it be riding their bike to work year-round, reusing and reducing, and taking great steps in setting an example for others to follow."
The 2020 Environmental Leader Award, sponsored by Absorbent Products, goes to Kathy Sinclair:
When Kamloops residents were changing their winter tires this past spring, Kathy Sinclair was switching over studded tires on her e-bike, having ridden year-round for the first time since giving up her vehicle.
She is a regular e-bike commuter to work and to her duties as a city councillor, though not so much in recent months, due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
Her councillor’s work has seen her working from home, connected through a computer screen.
Living in a 342-square foot micro-suite at The Station suits her lifestyle well.
“It’s perfect for one person,” she said. “It suits my lifestyle.”
That choice reflects her dedication to reducing, reusing and taking steps that others can follow.
“I was surprised and super honoured to be the recipient,” Sinclair said. “A lot of people in town are doing way more than me in terms of environmental activism and leadership. I want to tip my hat to them.”
Sinclair is passionate about increasing access to local food and supporting local farmers and food producers. Having recently taken on a community garden, she sees how the pandemic has created more interest in people being self-reliant to some degree for their food needs.
She is aware of her individual choices, like watching a show on Netflix, and how even it can use some amount of energy.
“We’re all living in the world and we’re all using energy and resources,” she said. “It’s not like any of us can just unplug completely.”
Sinclair said there is always something new for her to learn and ways to get better and be a responsible citizen of the planet. Her recent motion to move to double the city’s budget for active transportation was carried forward in a council vote, leading to a reduced time frame for the city to complete projects in its active transportation list.
Projects such as multi-use paths, bike lanes and pedestrian safety sidewalks will be accomplished within 15 years, instead of 25 years as initially planned.
“It definitely felt good to have some input in making things happen,” she said.