Creating space for transformative conversations

Merran Smith

Fellow, Clean Energy Canada

Merran Smith leads a team that is working to transform Canada’s energy systems to reduce fossil fuel dependence and the risks of climate disruption. A former environmental and human-rights activist, she now regularly meets with and convenes private, public, and civil society leaders from Bay Street, to the nation’s provincial capitals, to the House of Commons.

Merran’s team conducts original research and modeling to understand the opportunities for Canada in the global low-carbon economy, and shares those findings with policy makers and the public via high-impact communications products.

In her previous career, Merran led collaborative efforts with conservation groups, logging companies, and First Nations to protect Canada's Great Bear Rainforest. That work culminated with a landmark 2006 conservation agreement that today protects more than five million acres of intact ecosystems in coastal British Columbia and provides economic development support for the First Nations communities that depend on them. The social justice focus of her forest conservation efforts—like her clean energy work today—evolved naturally from her early years as a documentary filmmaker and human rights activist in Central America.

Merran is an infectious optimist, driven by a belief that we can transcend our current constraints to build social and economic systems that better serve us over the long term. She is a 2014 recipient of the Clean 16 Award for leadership in clean capitalism, and serves on the board of the Canadian Climate Forum.