Ruth Harper

10 Jun , 2021

James Norman

Ruth has always been very motivated by preventing climate change and protecting the environment.

Ruth Harper moved to the small town of Boolarra in the Latrobe Valley with her family about eight-and-a-half years ago from Ocean Grove.

“We decided we wanted to give the kids a bit more of a country upbringing. And we also wanted to have a bit more land so that we could grow more vegetables and have chickens and all that sort of thing,” she says.

As a scientist Ruth wanted to live in a location that offered good soil and rainfall predictions and was more resilient to climate change impacts. “So, we started looking, and we found a block in Boolarra.”

Ruth now works in the renewable energy sector on a proposed wind farm focusing on community engagement and environmental approvals.

“I’ve always been very motivated by preventing climate change and protecting the environment,” she says. "One of the most important things in navigating the energy transition is listening to other’s perspectives rather than sitting in judgment."

“So obviously for me, for the Latrobe Valley to get out of coal is pretty massive. We need to transition to where we utilise the skills and knowledge that we have in the Valley, directed towards building a healthy, happy, vibrant community that protects the environment.”

Ruth Harper (Credit: Esther Lloyd)

Despite being very concerned about the impacts of climate change we are witnessing now, Ruth says she draws hope and inspiration from many active people she sees in the community.

“I’ve met some absolutely amazing people and heard about and been involved in some really inspiring projects in the region. There are a lot of people for whom making this energy transition is front of mind. Who are working so hard and passionately to implement this across our communities. So to me, that’s really helpful.”

Ruth says one of the most important things in navigating the energy transition is listening to other’s perspectives rather than sitting in judgment.

“You’ve got to be very respectful of the fact that this is a massive change. It takes people time to come to terms with it,” she says.

“It’s a process, you’ve just got to work through that process with people. The more people who can help others work through that process and have these conversations, the better we’re going to be as a community rather than judging people.”