Sierra Club BC welcomes environmental lawyer Hannah Askew as new Executive Director
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 5, 2018
VICTORIA, BC—The board of directors of Sierra Club BC is pleased to announce the hiring of environmental lawyer Hannah Askew as the organization’s Executive Director.
“2019 will mark the 50th anniversary of Sierra Club BC’s founding and we are excited to welcome Hannah as we transition into our second half century,” said board chair Jackie Larkin. “Hannah’s vision and experience at the intersection of settler and Indigenous law and in community-building will be a huge asset.
“Environmental justice will be at the core of our work as we confront the climate crisis and the cumulative impacts of reckless resource exploitation on species, ecosystems and communities.”
Prior to coming to Sierra Club BC, Askew worked as a staff lawyer at West Coast Environmental Law. Her work focused on cumulative industrial impacts, advocating for proactive and inclusive planning processes for the land and water. She has also been deeply involved in learning from Indigenous nations about their systems of law and governance.
“The opportunity to guide the work of British Columbia’s oldest environmental non-profit is a huge honour and responsibility,” said Askew. “As we experience accelerating climate impacts and increasing species and ecosystem collapse, our social institutions are being undermined and vulnerable communities suffer the worst consequences.
“We need to try new approaches and inclusive alliances that offer solutions and hope, while respecting and upholding Indigenous law and governance. I’m excited to work with the incredible team at Sierra Club BC to build on the organization’s impactful history, while adapting our approach to today’s unique challenges.”
Askew is deeply familiar with Sierra Club BC’s history, priorities and practice, having served for three years on its board of directors.
Askew holds Master of Arts degrees in history and anthropology from the University of Toronto and McGill University, as well as a law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School. She was born on Anishinaabe territory into a family of English and Scottish descent.
Editors: Photos of Hannah Askew are available upon request.
Hannah Askew | Executive Director | Sierra Club BC
“Hannah has years of successful experience working with community-based environmental organizations. She has also worked closely with Indigenous communities for many years, including my own First Nation. She is always respectful, open and engaged. Her ability to listen and respond with clarity is a real strength. She builds skill and confidence in others, and raises everyone’s vision through her work. It is a privilege to work with her.
“Hannah is deeply committed to sustaining the beauty of the world around us. She also brings out the best in people she works with. Her detailed legal knowledge, combined with her administrative gifts, will be a significant part of Sierra Club BC’s bright future.”
“Hannah brings invaluable experience and skills to Sierra Club BC developed through her engagement with Indigenous law and communities over the years. She is a thoughtful, creative, and collaborative leader.”
“Hannah is one of the smartest and most effective people that I’ve ever worked with. She brings a wealth of experience working for communities and First Nations across BC and Canada to achieve greater respect for land, water and air in law.
“Hannah’s energy, wisdom, sensitivity and passion make her an excellent leader for Sierra Club BC. She listens, she collaborates, she inspires and she leads. I’ve seen the transformative power of her leadership first hand. I think she will be an incredible leader not only for Sierra Club BC, but a public leader in BC on the Club’s issues.”
Hannah Askew: Biography
Hannah is the Executive Director of Sierra Club BC. She loves plants, animals, trees, water and rocks, and is passionate about ensuring healthy wild spaces for present and future generations.
Hannah is a lawyer and practiced public interest environmental law prior to joining Sierra Club BC. Her work focused on addressing the cumulative impacts of industrial development on ecosystems, and advocating for proactive and inclusive planning processes for the land and water. As a part of this work, she traveled to communities across northern BC to hear from people from all walks of life about the impact of industrial activity on their lives and about their hopes for the future of their communities.
Over the past ten years of her career, Hannah has also been deeply involved in learning from Indigenous communities about their systems of law and governance. She worked as a researcher on Anishinaabe and Coast Salish legal orders for the Indigenous Law Research Unit at the University of Victoria, and taught as an instructor in the Aboriginal Justice Studies Program at the Native Education College. She also researched Tsilhqot’in and Ktunaxa law as part of the RELAW project (“Revitalizing Indigenous Law for Land, Air and Water”). The knowledge received from Indigenous colleagues and mentors has been transformative for Hannah and influences every aspect of her work.
Hannah holds Master of Arts degrees in history and anthropology from the University of Toronto and McGill University, as well as a law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School. She was born on Anishinaabe territory into a family of English and Scottish descent.