Faces of CELA with Communications Intern Julie Mutis

What is your role and how long have you been involved with CELA?

I am working as a communication intern at CELA as part of my final year at the Ryerson School of Journalism. I have been in this position since January, but I also had the opportunity to work with CELA last winter through an investigative journalism class.

What inspired you to get involved in environmental law and public policy?

I have always been interested in reporting about public health, but I really realized the interconnectedness of environment, policy and health outcomes while working on the Toronto Star’s Tainted Water series in 2019. After that experience, I wanted to keep digging deeper into environmental health issues and CELA was a great fit for me!

What’s the most rewarding part of working/volunteering with CELA?

It has been really great to write stories that showcase important work, spread community awareness and help people understand how these seemingly inaccessible legal and policy issues can make a difference in their lives. It has been extremely educational and energizing to work alongside CELA staff and community organizers. Their ability to create meaningful change has inspired me to continue working towards a career that can help people in a similar way.

What do you think is Canada’s biggest environmental challenge today?

I have learned a lot about environmental law and policy while at CELA, but one thing that seems to be a recurring challenge across all of their work is a lack of responsibility for polluters. This pushes all of the adverse health outcomes and responsibility on communities who have to convince the government to remedy a problem after it has already happened.

How do you think we can best approach this challenge?

I think the best approach is to try to get all levels of government to work towards more proactive environmental policies. Improving legal tools for concerned citizens and investing in thorough environmental research could help strike down some of the economic and political barriers standing in the way of more stringent environmental policies.

If you were the Leader of the World, what environmental law or policy would you implement?

I would try to target the biggest polluters by setting stringent and enforceable pollution caps. This would hopefully not only cut pollution, but encourage advancement in clean technology so that the caps could continue to be lowered as time goes on.

When you’re not working on Great Lakes issues, what do you like to do?

I like to keep up with the news by listening to probably too many podcasts. While I’m listening to these podcasts, I like to cook and go for walks. I also enjoy spending time with my friends and frequenting board game cafes with them.