Congress Keynote

Dr. Colleen Mercer-Clarke

Chair of IFLA Working Group on Climate Change

Dr. Mercer Clarke (M.Sc., M.L.A., Ph.D.) from Newfoundland, Canada is an interdisciplinary scientist specializing in advancing resilience and sustainability in a changing world. Trained first as a marine ecologist and landscape architect, Colleen is the Chair of both the Task Force on Climate Change Adaptation (Canadian Society of Landscape Architects) and the Working Group on Climate Change (International Federation of Landscape Architects).  With over thirty years' experience in private practice in Canada and internationally, Colleen's portfolio is a mixture of planning, design and environment management centrally focused on the creation of innovative spaces and the conservation of natural environments. 

Since 2009, she has been active with interdisciplinary community-university alliances advancing adaptation in coastal communities already at threat from sea level rise, severe weather and a changing climate.  In 2012 she was appointed to the National Advisory Committee on coastal adaptation at the Climate Change Directorate of Natural Resources Canada, and was one of the primary authors for the award-winning 2016 science based assessment of adaptation along Canada’s marine coasts. 

As the weather shifts, climates alter and populations migrate, Colleen believes strongly that the delivery of useful, rapidly emerging science will demand curiosity, challenge established assumptions, and push innovative thought and action.  Working across disciplines and sectors, the challenges posed by the changing environment can provide myriad opportunities to harness ingenuity, to improve resilience in society and in environments, and to transform communities into centres of well-being and sustainability.