Volunteer Spotlight: Caterina Lindman
By Flannery Winchester
Caterina Lindman’s awareness of climate change began during her 35-year career as an actuary at Manulife. “I worked on a committee that developed the Actuaries Climate Index,” she explains, which is a tool that informs actuaries, public policymakers and the public about climate impacts. “As I learned more about climate change, I became more concerned and realized that individual efforts to reduce energy consumption were not enough to reverse climate change.” She read James Hansen’s book, “Storms of My Grandchildren,” and discovered CCL in 2012. Today, she leads the CCL chapter in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. We caught up with her to find out what she’s working on and how she feels about the exciting news that Canada will implement a fee-and-dividend style climate policy this year.
What do you like about CCL?
I like CCL’s policy of carbon fee-and-dividend, and I am also impressed with the nonviolent approach that we use to build political will. I also like that the conferences offer vegan foods that are good for the environment, as well as being healthy and delicious.
In addition to your CCL work, what other climate-friendly efforts are you involved in?
I work on the Actuaries Climate Index, and a new index we are developing called the Actuaries Climate Risk Index. The new index will look for correlations between extreme weather and property damages, injuries and fatalities as a result of extreme weather.
I also learned about the great potential that a whole-food vegan diet has in reducing carbon emissions, and can potentially lead to lots of land reverting to forest, which would sequester carbon quite effectively. A whole-food vegan diet also has co-benefits of preventing and reversing many chronic diseases, which I think is key to having a sustainable healthcare system. I am part of an new organization, Actuaries for Sustainable Health Care, that educates actuaries about the evidence supporting the use of whole-food vegan diets to prevent and reverse many chronic illnesses. The organization will also support actuaries in making their customers and healthcare providers aware of the impact that whole-food vegan diets can have on chronic diseases.
Last fall, I also participated in an “Ongo” group within CCL. It was a 12-week process where we studied nonviolent communication and ongoing spiritual practices. It was very helpful, and I have now joined a group of people ready to support new groups of CCL volunteers that are interested in deepening their understanding of nonviolent communication and mindfulness.
How do you feel about Canada implementing a fee-and-dividend style policy? What does this mean for your CCL work in Canada?
I am very happy that carbon fee-and-dividend will be in place in four Canadian provinces, namely Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick. I am happy that it will apply in my home province of Ontario, which also happens to be the most populated province in Canada. We need to continue to build political will for this policy, and help people understand how it will be financially beneficial for about 70% of households, and super beneficial for all as we reduce climate pollution and spur clean, innovative technologies.
What keeps you motivated to do this work?
I find that building relationships with people is very meaningful, and that educating people about food choices is really good news to those suffering from chronic illnesses and to those wanting to reduce their carbon and energy footprint.