Jessica Herrera Betancur, Community Engagement Officer

Jessica Herrera Betancur

When Jessica and her family first immigrated to Canada in 2001, they moved from province to province in search of good-paying jobs. In 2005, her father found a job as an oil and gas trade worker. At this time, Jessica and her family made one final move; the destination: Edmonton, Alberta. In Edmonton, Jessica grew up with the understanding that it was every oil and gas worker’s job to adapt to the booms and busts of the industry and to accept the risks that may come along with the job (job insecurity).

Jessica soon realized, however, that this burden was neither sustainable nor fair. So, in 2020, 4 years after obtaining her BA, and working abroad, she began her master’s in environmental studies at Queens’ university. Through her research, she seeks to better understand the complexities of a transition away from fossil fuels, the impacts on workers like her father, and the impact on other Albertan/ Canadian families, whether they are directly or indirectly connected to the industry.

Jessica is excited to join Iron and Earth, to connect with workers and to help create strong and positive bridges between stakeholders so that the burden of the transition may be better understood and shared among us all.


Iron & Earth was founded and operates on Indigenous land within Treaty Six Territory and Métis Region 4 in amiskwaciy-wâskahikan (in Nehiyawewin/Cree), so-called Edmonton. The home of many Indigenous Peoples including the Nehiyawak/Cree, Tsuut’ina, Niitsitapi/Blackfoot, Métis, Nakota Sioux, Haudenosaunee/Iroquois, Dene Suliné, Anishinaabe/Ojibway/Saulteaux, and the Inuk/Inuit.

We pay our respects to all Indigenous Peoples of this land. Through their spiritual and practical relationships with the land, a rich heritage for our learning and our life as a community has been created and maintained. We recognize that the transition to a low-carbon future must be led by Indigenous Peoples and that there will be no justice unless we acknowledge and repair our relationship with the land.

We are committed to responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action and upholding the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and acknowledge that we are always learning and unlearning practices that minimize harm and lead to the development of trust between us and Indigenous Peoples across Nations and urban centers.