Thompson Rivers University

Gaglardi student exemplifies women in science leadership

February 13, 2024

The need for leadership in environmental sustainability is an increasingly important global topic. So much so that this year’s  United Nations theme for the Feb. 11 International Day of Women and Girls in Science, is Women in Science Leadership: A New Era for Sustainability.

The Bob Gaglardi School of Business and Economics, faculty and students in the Master of Science in Environmental Economics Management (MScEEM) and Master of Environmental Economics Management (MEEM) programs are committed to preparing future leaders to take on upcoming challenges in environmental sustainability.

MScEEM student Claire McLoughlin has been taking the reins as a woman in science leadership. In 2020, not long after beginning her graduate studies, McLoughlin co-founded Friendly Composting Inc. At the time, her business was Kamloops’ first and only residential and commercial composting service.

As a weekly service, Friendly Composting collected food waste and delivered it to a local farm where it was composted into nutrient-rich soil, as opposed to breaking down in a landfill as methane — a potent greenhouse gas. The United Nations Environmental Program estimates that methane is responsible for more than 25 per cent of today’s global warming. Proper composting at home and at work is a simple way that people can do their part to mitigate climate risks. Through environmental leadership, McLoughlin helped make proper composting simple at a time when it wasn’t readily available.

McLoughlin sets a positive and inspirational path for other young women to follow. As a woman in science leadership, she has compiled some impressive accolades: in 2021, she made BC Business’ 30 Under 30 list, and one year later, she was named a Top 50 Changemaker by the Globe and Mail. This summer, she adds a graduate degree to her list of accomplishments.

McLoughlin says young women interested in pursuing careers in environmental economics should be encouraged to know that opportunity is brimming at the intersection of science and business.

On Feb. 11, the United Nations reminded women they are needed as environmental leaders: Tackling some of the greatest challenges of the agenda for sustainable development — from improving health to combating climate change — will rely on harnessing all talent. That means getting more women working in these fields. Diversity in research expands the pool of talented researchers, bringing in fresh perspectives, talent and creativity. This day is a reminder that women and girls play a critical role in science and technology communities and that their participation should be strengthened.”

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