Siobhan Crawford believes making a positive impact on environmental protection includes making change within a company. That’s why she’s an environmental specialist for Spectra Energy – her role gives her the opportunity to make a real difference.
The native Manitoban now lives and works in Fort Nelson, B.C. “I love B.C.,” she said. “Northeast B.C. has a vibe different from that of the other areas of the province I have visited and lived in – the boreal forest reminds me a lot of Manitoba where I grew up.”
We spoke with Siobhan to learn more about how she spends her days. Here’s what she had to say:
Siobhan : Growing up in a rural community in Northern Manitoba, I spent a great deal of time exploring the surrounding forests, and I was always encouraged to value the wilderness and wildlife.
I went to university to study the sciences, and after my first year I got a job with Manitoba Conservation as a park interpreter. This solidified my passion for working with the environment. I found it fascinating how interconnected the different aspects of ecosystems are; how one change (positive or negative) can have a ripple effect on the entire system. I changed my university focus from general sciences to environmental science, and haven’t looked back since.
Siobhan: I help with the development and implementation of our environmental management program, and I help make sure we’re compliant with environmental permits, regulations and best management practices.
After a new pipeline is constructed, I assist with monitoring the re-vegetation and ensuring any invasive or noxious weeds are managed.
More important to my role is ensuring the maintenance work on existing pipelines and facilities is carried out in a responsible manner that protects the environment.
Siobhan: I had a few different summer positions while I was pursuing my Bachelor’s degree, but the focus area I found most interesting was land remediation. It’s basically a big puzzle to solve – we take this piece of land, give it a new start, and what can we do to bring it back to life?
Siobhan: I am passionate about ensuring compliance with the regulations (e.g. spill reporting and cleanup, permit requirements, etc.). It’s very important to me that we conduct our business in a responsible way so that we can continue to operate.
I also like the field work portion – I often joke with the operations employees that I have the best job in the company because I get paid to play in the dirt (taking soil samples).
Siobhan: I have worked for both government and private industry, and in my opinion, the best way to make a positive impact is to push for change from within the private companies. I help to ensure that no corners are cut and that environmental requirements are met, and I get a great sense of accomplishment when a change I’ve pushed for is accepted and carried out by the frontline employees.
In this day and age, most companies seem to recognize that in order to continue to do business and carry a social license to operate, they need to mitigate their impact on the environment as much as possible. Small changes in the way we operate can add up to big wins – it’s a snowball effect.
When Siobhan’s not at work she keeps busy playing in a women’s hockey league, camping and hiking with her fiancé, biking, cooking, running and walking her dogs. She has even dabbled in knitting and photography.
To learn more about the human side of environmental protection, check out our first post: Who’s protecting the environment around Canada’s pipelines? This guy, for one.
The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association represents Canada’s transmission pipeline companies who operate approximately 117,000 kilometres of pipelines in Canada. In 2014, these energy highways moved approximately 1.2 billion barrels of liquid petroleum products and 5.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Our members transport 97 per cent of Canada’s daily natural gas and onshore crude oil from producing regions to markets throughout North America.