KatieKish

Above all else, I am a mum to two wonderful children – Nora and Logan. The love and joy they bring to the world make it a lighter and more wonderful place. In return, I want to make the world a better place for them. Luckily they are growing up in one of the most accepting and progressive times in history. Unluckily they are entering one of the most unpredictable and precarious times for the future of stability and liberalism. I want to help figure out how their generation can best navigate that path.

I devote my labour to finding ways to improve the livelihood and wellbeing of all. Whether it’s working with communities on participatory planning, helping develop makerspaces, supporting local producers, or improving sustainability informatics for policy development, I work in order to help chip away at market capitalism and counter some of the failings it has brought to the lives of so many.


Journey through and out of academia

After finishing high school, I jumped around a lot. I went to the University of Toronto for a minute, the University of Guelph for 10 minutes, the University of Victoria for an hour, and finally landed at York University where I transferred all my credits from the various institutions and got a Bachelor of Environmental Studies with an emphasis on Politics and a minor in English Literature (not purposefully, I took all the children’s literature courses and it added up to enough to declare a minor).

I stayed at York and started my Masters of Environmental Studies which was really a Masters of Systems Thinking. I devoted the entirety of my degree to reading the history of systems theory, becoming intimately familiar with systems methodologies, and applying systems thinking in the real world.

Immediately after finishing my master’s, I went to the University of Waterloo for a Ph.D. in Social and Ecological Sustainability. My area of expertise developed in local production, makers, and transition studies.

Despite the nagging sense that academia was not for me, I got a post-doctoral research position with Economics for the Anthropocene at McGill. This is a wonderful group of researchers and people, but this is when I learned that I am not willing to uproot myself for academia and that the vast majority of sustainability research is not making a dent in the real world because of bureaucratic issues, infighting, lack of vision, or simply being out of touch. It also normalizes coercion, exploitation, over-working, hierarchy, and growth.

I realized that the whole notion of being a “successful academic” is so on par with what is currently used to measure a “successful economy”. The world measures the success of a national economy by looking at its GDP – a high GDP is a good thing, regardless of suffering or social wellbeing. Academia measures the success of an academic by looking at its CV – a stacked CV is a good thing, regardless of suffering or social wellbeing. So, I decided to stop….

Now, I am a full-time Stay at Home Mom who is radically committed to labour-life-love balance. On the side, I am a lecturer of Ecological Economics at the Haida Gwaii Institute through the University of British Columbia and a Research Associate with the Ecological Footprint Initiative supported by the Footprint Data Foundation and Global Footprint Network.


Hobbies

  • Powerlifting! I pick up heavy things and then put them back down. As a woman, I’ve found this sport to be incredibly empowering.
  • Saving our local bee habitats. I am a community advocate for leaving lawns alone and allowing people to let wildflowers and weeds grow all summer. We’ve had a couple of big battles with the municipal government, but luckily… the bees always win.
  • Casual web-development and programming. I have taken courses on basic web development (HTML, CSS, Java Script) and functions/array methods.
  • Elder visitations. I got my dog certified by the local fire department and now she and I visit long-term care facilities. She gets pets/treats and I get stories about other dogs/treats.
  • Maker Culture. I make things by myself (woodworking, painting) and with my kids (spaceships, whole other universes).
  • Trivia! Ever since the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020 I’ve started holding monthly online Trivia nights that have grown from 2-3 teams the first couple of times to 7-10 teams. I’ve loved planning and running these.
  • Marvel! I watch Marvel movies and TV shows on a loop.