Inka Milewski


Special Series: Twelve Canadians

Force of Nature

By David Kattenburg

I met Inka Milewski for the first time in the early 1990s, down in the fishing village of St. Andrews, on the edge of Passamaquoddy Bay, tucked into the crook of one of Earth’s richest marine ecosystems, the Bay of Fundy. She was the marine science adviser for the Conservation Council of New Brunswick at the time. The UN Convention on Biological Diversity had just come into force, and Inka had thoughts to share for my Earth Chronicles series.


Time passes slowly. Some years ago, Inka moved home to the town of Miramichi, on the edge of another remarkable but star-crossed body of water. Although she continues to do research on Fundy issues (e.g. the impact of industrial salmon aquaculture on the floor of Shelburne harbor, in Nova Scotia), these days Inka devotes her time to researching the human health impacts of mining, smelting and other dirty industries.


Inka was a marine biologist, not a public health researcher or epidemiologist, when she received the call from worried residents. As is often the case with energetic people of conscience (and a famous role model of hers), Inka Milewski took up that call. She had no choice. It was something she had to do.

Twelve Canadians is a multimedia series about women and men who’ve been devoting their lives to social, economic or environmental justice, and to the healthy development of Canadian communities and the world. Each episode examines a specific issue or situation, through the voices of people who’ve been active in that area. Lots more than just twelve. Thanks to the Social Justice Fund of the Canadian Autoworkers Union for their generous support. Thanks as well to CKUW, University of Winnipeg Radio.

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