Emma Squires

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Emma is a second-year master’s student in REM’s Community Planning stream. Her research is exploring climate resilience and the role of NGOs and the charitable sector in mobilizing rural climate solutions. As a Research Assistant with the Adaptation to Climate Change (ACT) team at SFU, Emma supports communities across BC in implementing low carbon resilient approaches to climate action, which includes integrating adaptation and mitigation, advancing nature-based solutions, and identifying opportunities for multi-solving. Emma is Co-President of SFU’s Planning Student Association and a student representative on the Planning Institute of BC’s Board of Directors. She comes to REM with a Bachelor of Commerce from Queen’s University and professional experience working in marketing and change management consulting.

Supervisor: Dr. Sean Markey

What inspired your current research topic?
Rural communities in Canada are on the frontlines of climate change impacts, yet they often have limited resources to prepare for or mitigate them. As somebody who hopes to live rurally, it is scary to imagine how increasing risks of wildfires, floods and other extreme weather events may impact my future. Now, more than ever, rural communities need to tap into new streams of capacity and resources and take an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach to climate action. While governments play a central role, the IPCC has noted that NGOs and other non-state actors hold significant potential to contribute to climate resilience. As somebody with an affinity for creative thinking and problem solving, I am eager to explore the innovative partnerships and cross-sector collaborations between governments and the non-profit sector that can contribute to enacting transformative change.

Why do you think this topic is important?
The coming decade is our last window of time to make a tangible difference on our planet that will last for generations to come. The speed and scale at which communities must respond to climate change demands innovation, collaboration, and conversation. No single person or organization can be solely responsible–we must tap into and mobilize all available partnerships to achieve lasting and holistic results. Understanding potential partners in rural places and the nature of their capacity is crucial to effectively collaborating on common goals, maximizing limited resources, and improving outcomes for all Canadians, now and into the future.

How will the Canadian Pacific/Teck Resources Award & CIP Thomas Adams Scholarship help you achieve your research goals?
I am sincerely grateful to have been selected as a recipient of CIP’s Thomas Adams Scholarship and the Canadian Pacific/Teck Resources Award. These awards significantly alleviate the financial pressures of being a graduate student, allowing me to focus more on my research as I strive to contribute to the fields of planning and climate action. A heartfelt thank you to SFU, CP/Teck and CIP for selecting me for these awards.