Tackling the climate emergency: micro-credential teaches fundamentals

Woman in green suit jacket smiling with the sun shining behind her

When Rachel Buskie completed her BSc in Forest and Land Management twenty years ago, her goal was to plant trees. 

“My mission was to establish new woodlands, putting back what was lost for biodiversity, for the earth and to address climate change,” Buskie says. “At that time there was so much hope for the future, there was an awareness about the seriousness of the problem and Gro Harlem Brundtland’s definition of sustainability was being globally adopted as ‘development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’, but there weren’t jobs like the ones I’m seeing today – it took twenty years for the world to catch up.”

What we experienced instead was a protracted period of governments and corporations more focused on denying climate change, rather than mobilizing to address it. She has spent the last 20 years gathering a global perspective on the issue; her career during the intervening years has spanned Scotland, USA, New Zealand, Australia and Canada.

The moment Buskie has been waiting for has finally arrived. The world now recognizes we are in a climate emergency and immediate action must be taken. 

Not that she hasn’t been working to address climate change and biodiversity in the meantime, including most recently at the City of Colwood, where she secured $11.5 million in grant money during her two-year tenure. The funds will help support sustainability projects including the recently announced multi-use Esquimalt lagoon pathway project which will help protect dune habitat and extend the lifespan of the lagoon while also providing a recreational trail for visitors.

It was during her work with the City of Colwood that Buskie enrolled in, and became the first graduate of, Royal Roads University’s Climate Adaptation Fundamentals Micro-Credential.

“As the world shifts to a low-carbon economy, climate adaptation will affect everything,” Buskie says. “It will impact all types of jobs. Mechanics, for example doing oil changes today, will need to make a shift and learn how to work on electric vehicles. And that’s just one element. When you look at the entire supply chain of one industry, like automotive, you can begin understand the magnitude of change needed.” 

The course work provided Buskie with the current terminology of climate action and what the environmental landscape looks like today, including a module on Indigenous Knowledge and Perspectives of Climate Adaptation course. “The Indigenous Perspectives module was excellent, and I think it’s a valuable course for anyone working to make a positive difference, and anyone involved in land management decision making,” she credits the latter with encouraging deep reflection on her connection to the land and giving her insight into the atrocities Indigenous Peoples have faced and how she can contribute toward the reconciliation process.

Her studies in the Natural Asset Management course bolstered her lifelong commitment to protecting biodiversity, a task made harder with habitat loss, rising temperatures and extreme weather.

“Anything we can do to reduce our use of resources will help biodiversity, like lowering your household energy and water use,” Buskie says.

But she insists it’s not just climate action professionals who can make a difference. “Every piece of plastic you bring into your home is a conscious decision. As individuals we have so much decision-making power and we all need to play a role. It will take all of us to make change and to get better outcomes.” 

Rachel completed Climate Adaptation Fundamentals micro-credential program in November 2022 and is excited to pair her new skills with her existing foundational knowledge. 

Interested in taking a micro-credential? You may be eligible for funding. Visit our Future Ready page to see further details.

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