Blog: Faces of CELA, Pelly Shaw

1) What is your role and how long have you been with CELA?
I’m a communications intern at CELA and I’ve been with them since the beginning of 2021.

2) What inspired you to get involved in environmental law and public policy?
I have always been passionate about protecting the natural world, and public policy seems to be one of the strongest avenues for doing that. As a young journalist I aspire to write about environmental policy and report on what our governments are doing to combat climate change and preserve our beautiful land, or what they are not doing, as the case may be.

3) What’s the most rewarding part of working/volunteering with CELA?
The most rewarding part of working here has been seeing the hard work and dedication of the people around me and realizing that they are taking tangible steps to act against global temperature change and to help protect our most vulnerable populations from the effects of climate change.

4) What do you think is Canada’s biggest environmental challenge today?
Our biggest challenge is reframing the way we think about economic success and prosperity to incorporate the natural world. Costs of planning ahead and protecting what we have should be built into the framework of any development taking place.

5) How do you think we can best approach this challenge?
It starts with giving land back to Indigenous people and then sitting back and listening and learning from them how we can properly care for each other and the land. Then, as I said, we need to come up with an economic model that looks at success and prosperity from a more rounded perspective. Aspects such as green space, natural infrastructure systems, and clean air and water need to be considered when we look at the economic success of a city, province or country. A more equitable, balanced social system will help solve the environmental crisis.

6) If you were the Leader of the World, what environmental law or policy would you implement?
I would immediately turn governance and land rights back to Indigenous people the world over.

7) When you’re not working on environmental legal issues, what do you like to do?
I spend a lot of time writing stories or working on the podcast I host; Toronto Nature Now. I love to spend time outside – whether it’s surfing, hiking, swimming or just walking the dog that is my happy place. I also spend a lot of time reading books. I just finished ‘Nervous Conditions’ by Tsitsi Dangarembga.