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Ecology North leader moving on after nearly six years

Craig Scott is the executive director of Ecology North. NNSL file photo

Craig Scott, executive director of Ecology North, is moving on.

The leader of the NWT's largest non-profit environmental organization started in the role in June 2014.

Craig Scott is the executive director of Ecology North. NNSL file photo
Craig Scott is the outgoing executive director of Ecology North. NNSL file photo

"It has been a while that I've been in the position and I want to try something different and give someone else an opportunity," Scott said in an interview this week. "It has been a really interesting and fun and rewarding experience and Ecology North is a pretty active and very busy place."

Before becoming executive director, he sat on the board of directors for the organization between 2002 and 2009 and had provided contracting services through his company CS Environmental from 2009 to 2012. He had also overseen a business called Arctic Harvest that he shared with Mike Mitchell and Dwayne Wohlgemuth.

Founded in 1971, Ecology North has grown into the NWT's leading non-governmental organization that promotes environmental awareness. The organization has five main focus areas in its operations that include climate change, waste reduction, local food sustainability and environmental education for youth.

"Some of the highlights for me are some of the climate change work I have been involved in with communities and starting some of the ecology programs with the school -- working with schools and getting gardens (with the students) and growing foods as well as a lot of of the waste management programs and compost programs," said Scott, who authors the Greening the North guest column in Yellowknifer.  

But climate change remains the greatest concern of all, even during the present time of the coronavirus pandemic, he said.

"Climate change is the biggest by far," Scott said of all the issues the organization deals with. "With Covid, (climate change) is a bit on the back of peoples' minds right now but it is still the biggest challenge globally for humanity."

Yet another issue is the concern about water, he said. The organization has a campaign called LoveNWTWater that promotes the protection of water resources and drinking local tap water instead of imported bottled water.

"We are always on watch for our waters because we have some of the most pristine and largest fresh water on the planet," Scott said. "We really need to protect and be aware of what we have because future wars will be over water. 

Advocacy role

The organization also has a political advocacy role, Scott noted, which has included attending city council meetings to promote campaigns such as Car Free Day and championing bike lanes and transit use.

The group has also created a coalition with other environmental organizations in the North to shape legislative policy. Some of the major ones have included being involved with the Mineral Resources Act and the implementation of the carbon tax.

"We do some advocacy for sure but for the most part we are not an outspoken advocacy group," he said, adding that the organization supports other non-government organizations with similar goals. "We try to really work closely in partnership with governments and communities and NGOs." 

Scott said there are about 200 members of Ecology North but there are many more who follow its activities and connect with its newsletter and information.