In part of an ongoing series, we meet the team behind Climate Connect Aotearoa. This week it’s Sarah Anderson, Programme Director.
Sarah! What do you do at Climate Connect Aotearoa?
I am Programme Director of the hub. My role is to bring Climate Connect Aotearoa to life — to establish the hub and connections, to build networks and partnerships, and prioritise the challenges we need to focus on for transformational, system-wide change.
What’s the problem you’re solving at Climate Connect Aotearoa?
It’s really about overcoming the barriers to greater collaboration and the scaling of work to deliver real change and action on the ground.
The issues caused by climate change can only be solved as a collective and the opportunities for innovation that come from diverse viewpoints and representation are huge.
Our goals at Climate Connect Aotearoa are informed by all our discussions locally, nationally and internationally. They look to address the real demand for better connections, sharing knowledge and delivering rapid, scalable and fair solutions.
What’s driving you? Why are you doing this?
I've worked in environmental and sustainability roles for over 20 years in academia, local and central governments as well as across European Union innovation programmes. I’ve been aware of the impacts of climate change since doing my PhD, looking at the twin pressures of climate and habitat fragmentation on several species around the world.
As I continue to learn throughout my career, the implications of climate change for our environment, economy, health and wellbeing are far reaching, and I want to be part of the change needed. I am passionate about systems thinking and ensuring that we have everyone involved in this work to make sure that we don’t leave anyone behind.
Okay, you must have down time. What’s your happy place?
I wish I had time for more hobbies! I have a six-year-old so time is precious, but I love exploring the beaches and the bush of Aotearoa New Zealand. I feel very lucky to live in this part of the world. It's just beautiful.
I grew up in the countryside in the UK surrounded by nature. It was my go-to place whenever I needed space and time to think. I’m incredibly lucky in that where I live in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland is surrounded by trees and native bush. It’s core to how I feel and connect with the world around me.