Beca - Technical Director, Planning and Environment
Cushla Loomb's career has taken her to all but two South Pacific nations, seen her take leadership of major infrastructure projects in New Zealand, and driven policy change.
Cushla is a Technical Director – Planning and Environment at professional consultancy firm Beca, based in Tauranga where she specialises in coastal management, planning and assessment in New Zealand and across the Pacific. As technical director she leads multidisciplinary teams, working with clients to understand the challenges they face and finding solutions that add value.
Most infrastructure and vulnerable communities are located on the coast, particularly in the Pacific islands. Cushla undertakes environmental and social impact assessments on various projects and advises on managing those potential impacts.
She says it was her work in the Pacific that drew her into the area of climate change and the pressing challenges in that area. New Zealand isn’t doing enough, she says. “We’re not making the hard decisions we need to. We’re making decisions on the basis of trying to keep everybody happy when in reality, with climate change, there is one thing that is certain, there will inevitably be losers. We need to prepare now to make sure the loss is minimised, equitable and fair and doesn’t put our vulnerable communities at greater risk.”
“Everybody is grappling with this ‘wicked problem’,” she says. She’s “absolutely delighted” the University of Waikato will offer a Bachelor of Climate Change. “If they’d been offering it when I studied, I certainly would have done it as it presents one of the greatest challenges we are facing globally.”