Home > What Could Possibly Go Right? Interview Series > Episode 20: Tzeporah Berman: Racing Against the Clock

October 27, 2020

Tzeporah Berman has been designing environmental campaigns and working on environmental policy in Canada and beyond for over twenty years. She currently is International Program Director at Stand.Earth. She is an Adjunct Professor of York University Faculty of Environmental Studies and works as a strategic advisor to a number of First Nations, environmental organizations and philanthropic foundations on climate and energy issues. 

Tzeporah’s thoughts on What Could Possibly Go Right? include:

  • That we have the highest level of engagement around climate change than ever, as the former “invisible threat for the future” becomes tangible with impacts in our daily lives.
  • That recent changes in technology, renewable energy pricing and engagement from civil society is creating political space for decision makers to actually act and stand up to the fossil fuel industry.
  • The creation of a new global Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, “a campaign for something that is commensurate with the scale of the actual problem” and addresses fossil fuel production, not only emissions.
  • That moving to renewable energy is also about redistributing power; an entirely different model than that of fossil fuels on which industrial society was built.
  • That social change isn’t linear and many great moments in history happen at tipping points.
  • That more people lose their homes today as a result of climate change than war. 
  • “We need big bold breakthroughs, because we are racing against the clock… This is our moment to propose some significant bold shifts and new ideas to change the landscape.”

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About Tzeporah Berman

Tzeporah Berman BA, MES, LLD (honoris causa) has been designing environmental campaigns and working on environmental policy in Canada and beyond for over twenty years.  She currently is International Program Director at Stand.Earth,  the Chair of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Committee, and the Co Chair Globally Gas & Oil Network. She is also an Adjunct Professor of York University Faculty of Environmental Studies and works as a strategic advisor to a number of First Nations, environmental organizations and philanthropic foundations on climate and energy issues.  She is the former co-director of Greenpeace International’s Global Climate and Energy Program and Co-founder of ForestEthics (now Stand.Earth).

In 2016 Tzeporah was appointed by the Premier of Alberta to Co-chair the Oil Sands Advisory Working Group tasked with creating policy recommendations on how to implement the climate plan, address cumulative impacts of the oil sands and recommendations on meeting Canada’s climate targets between 2030 and 2050.  In 2015 she was appointed to the BC Government Climate Leadership Team tasked with making policy recommendations to meet BC legislated climate targets.  Also in 2015, she was awarded the YWCA Women of Distinction Award in British Columbia. Tzeporah was appointed by the Premier of British Columbia to the Green Energy Task Force in 2009 to design recommendations for the development of renewable energy in the region. Tzeporah was one of the experts in Leonardo Di Caprio’s environmental documentary 11th Hour, was one of six Canadian nominees for the Schwab Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award, has been profiled as one of 50 Visionaries Changing the World in Utne Reader and as “Canada’s Queen of Green” in the cover story for Readers Digest.  She was honoured by inclusion into the BC Royal Museum permanent exhibit of one of 150 people who have changed the face of British Columbia.

This year Tzeporah received the Climate Breakthrough Project Award, in 2013 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of British Columbia,  Corporate Knights named her one of the Top Women in Sustainability (Canada), and she was nominated for Climate Woman of the Year by Responding to Climate Change. She is the Canadian Ambassador for World Future Council Global 100%RE, a fellow of the Broadbent Institute and Planet in Focus’ 2014 Canada Eco-Hero.

Tzeporah was one of the creators and lead negotiators of the Great Bear Rainforest agreement and the Canadian Boreal Forest Initiative. Her work has contributed to the protection of over 40 million hectares of old growth forests.  More recently Tzeporah helped to design Greenpeace International’s Arctic campaign, the Volkswagen campaign in Europe and the Clean Our Cloud campaign that led to Apple and Facebook becoming international leaders in using renewable energy for their data centers.

In 2016 Tzeporah was listed as one of the 35 Most Influential Women in British Columbia by BC Business Magazine and awarded the Brescia University College Activist Award. Her first book, This Crazy Time: Living Our Environmental Challenge was published by Knopf Canada.

Connect with Tzeporah
Tzeporahberman.com | stand.earth | Facebook | Twitter


Download the transcript here.