Canada's First On-Air P.Met Claire Martin on Science and Ethics in the Environmental Industry

Janelle Pagnucco | April-26-13



Speaking to an audience of more than 120 Environmental Professionals (EPs) does not faze Claire Martin – and it is hard to guess what would – considering her first job entailed observing weather in the northernmost parts of the Northwest Territories with the Canadian Forces.

Claire Martin, P.Met - CBC News: The NationalClaire Martin is Canada’s first on-air Professional Meteorologist (P.Met) and three-time winner of the “Best Weather Presenter in the World.” She delivers national forecasts and reports on breaking-weather stories for the CBC News: Weather Centre and is the chief meteorologist for CBC News: The National.

At ECO Canada’s fifth annual Vancouver networking event on March 26, 2013, Claire spoke candidly – with both humility and humour – about weather broadcasting and shared tips for professionals working in the environment sector.

Hurricane Katrina changed weather broadcasting

Timely, broadcasted weather information saves lives. The need and importance of comprehensive weather coverage on the news was made crystal-clear when Hurricane Katrina struck. Claire spent time in Louisiana and returned to Canada dedicated to improve how weather information is shared with Canadians.

The CBC approached Claire to consult her about adding weather to the CBC News. Claire said this was a “no-brainer” as weather is of considerable importance to Canadians. With Claire and other leading professionals on-board, the CBC News: Weather Centre was created to forecast, track and report on weather events, and distribute timely information to cities across Canada for regional news broadcasts.

P.Met certification offers a level of assurance and ethics

“It was time for us to have a bar – it is now easier to recognize, within our own community, those that have met a level of academics, experience and ethics,” said Claire. “Environmental professional’s jobs have become political and we must approach them with a standard level of ethics.”

Designations set standards, define appropriate levels of professional competencies and are an important way to screen for qualified employees. Claire said P.Met is a way to “weed through the applicants and put them through the process right off the bat.”

Claire plans to show the P.Met designation on-air and expects other professionals will follow suit. 

Career opportunities for environmental professionals 

When asked about the job market for young professionals, Claire said there are opportunities “bar none” and noted that environmental jobs now exist within almost every major firm. When Claire hires staff, she looks for individuals on the fringe – people who have unique specializations.

Claire suggested that as corporations see diminishing returns from traditional activities, growth and desired profit margins will be driven by innovation and green energy projects. Individuals that have the ability to integrate new ways of doing things and create completive advantages will be in demand.

Learn to defend and communicate science

Claire’s tip for environmental professionals: deliver science that is unequivocal and be able to defend and communicate clearly. Scientists rarely have the opportunity to speak and it is important to be engaged. “As a community we have to have a voice,” says Claire.