Joan Baxter recognized by elders

Joan accepts CARP-NS Stewardship Award on behalf of “all of those people who have fought so long and hard in Nova Scotia to do something good for the environment”

Photo courtesy of Richard Vinson

Joan Baxter, perhaps best known recently for her book The Mill, but a life long advocate for social and environmental well-being, recently received the CARP-Nova Scotia Stewardship Award. (CARP is the Canadian Association of Retirees and Pensioners.)

From the introduction:

CARP Nova Scotia is a very effective, active advocacy group. This success is hard work as it is challenging to sift through all the information that the world makes available. To stay informed, we often turn to highly respected, investigative researchers and writers that have dedicated their lives to helping us understand the diverse connections between our physical and mental health, and the environment…

Tonight’s recipient is Joan Baxter. We wish to honour her extensive life’s work to date through this year’s Environment Stewardship Award. Joan Baxter is a journalist, award-winning author, and development consultant. She has raised two children and worked in seven countries in Africa. In recent years, she has written, reported and spoken widely on issues such as foreign direct investment, extractive industries, land rights, food sovereignty and sustainable farming.

Joan grew up in Nova Scotia graduating from University of King’s College with First Class Honors in Journalism. After working for the CBC in Halifax on the daily radio programs, Information Morning and Mainstreet, she headed to West Africa. Joan was the Executive Director of the Nova Scotia – Gambia Association which promoted health education.

Her non-fiction work, A Serious Pair of Shoes – an African journal, won the Evelyn Richardson award for best non-fiction work published in Atlantic Canada.

In 2006, The Hermit of Gully Lake: the life and times of Willard Kitchener MacDonald, topped best-seller lists in Nova Scotia for nearly a year. Her most recent publication, The Mill: Fifty Years of Pulp and Protest is catching the media’s attention across the Maritimes!

Previous recipients of the award are Silver Donald Cameron, Bob Bancroft and David Patriquin.

Said Joan in her acceptance:

…It’s almost 2 years ago that I started writing The Mill. It wasn’t by choice, it came calling, it came to my house one morning, 40 km away, i couldn’t breathe because the air was so bad.

One thing led to another and I started writing a book. I never thought I would win awards for it, mostly I wrote it because of splitting headaches. The deeper I went into it, I realized how much tax money has gone into the mill and how much environmental damage it has caused.

But what was so inspiring was that met so many Nova Scotians old and young who have worked tirelessly since before the mill opened to try to get to clean up its environmental act, people who fought clearcutting, the spraying of herbicides, to get the air pollution reduced, people who fought to get Boat Harbour cleaned up.

It’s so inspiring. Therefore I would like to accept this award in the name of all of those people who have foughtso long and hard in Nova Scotia to do something good for the environment.

Congratulations, Joan & Thanks

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