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Who is WIlli Nolan

Who is WIlli Nolan



“Truth, integrity, responsibility, bravery and collective wisdom are impossible to defeat. 

It is getting easier to slay the sacred cows of the destroyers. 

The People of the Earth are a force more powerful now.” ~ Willi Nolan July 2014

With 40 years as an activist and eco-preneur, Willi (Wilhelmina) Nolan, is a mixed blood descendant of African slaves, the Mi’kmaq First People and Anglo-Celtic settlers. Her life’s work is the prevention of the destruction of human and ecosystem health using citizen action, ancestral teachings and education as key tools.


Willi’s diverse administrative, business and community skills include: ecosystem and human health research and advocacy, marketing and graphic advertising, non-profit administration, public speaking, program and policy development, grassroots advocacy, front line community organizer as well as Media and Public Relations.

In 1998, Willi proudly accepted a position as Project Coordinator for the INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE OF CONCERN FOR PUBLIC HEALTH (IICPH), under world renowned epidemiologist, the late Dr. Rosalie Bertell. The Institute assists communities to substantiate environmental health risks where environmental disasters have occurred or are impending. Nolan’s work as senior staff with IICPH involved providing medical, scientific, environmental, organizational and other professional resources to meet the needs of communities concerned about exposures to hazardous substances. Willi continues to work with IICPH on an ad hoc basis to assist community-based citizen groups and contribute to the integrity of the Institute.

Ms. Nolan attained Vice Presidency of the SOCIAL PLANNING COUNCIL OF METROPOLITAN TORONTO over the years 1993 to 1995. She served as spokesperson for the WOMEN’S CED NETWORK of TORONTO (Women’s Community Economic Development Network), which supports and promotes sustainable financial opportunities for women of low income. In 1992, Willi received Ontario’s first cross-appointment to the CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES and CUSTODY REVIEW BOARDS.

In 1993, Willi became a co-chair of the COALITION FOR A GREEN ECONOMIC RECOVERY, founded by the late Jack Layton and which supports alternatives to replace environmentally hazardous industrial, technological and manufacturing processes. In 1994, in collaboration with ENVIRONMENT CANADA, the COALITION and GREENPEACE, she opened “Green Clean,” Canada’s first Multi Process Wet Cleaning operation — an alternative to the pollutant releasing processes used in conventional dry cleaning. Subsequent to participating in this initiative, Willi received a federal appointment to the ENVIRONMENTAL PARTNERS FUND.

In 1991, Nolan achieved success in socially and environmentally responsible business with the launch of BIO BUSINESS INTERNATIONAL INC. The company marketed “terra femme” safer, environmentally friendly, non-chlorine feminine care products and demonstrated a high standard in public menstrual health education campaigns.

Committed to women’s issues, Willi is founding President of PROJECT ESPERANCE/PROJECT HOPE NON-PROFIT CORPORATION, which has provided supportive housing and services to women and children survivors of family violence in Toronto since 1987. In 1997, women from the Canadian “Shelter Movement” honoured Wilhelmina Nolan with its REMARKABLE WOMAN AWARD. Ms. Nolan walks with the traditional Native teachings that she has earned all through every day of her life and work.

She lives in rural New Brunswick, which she believes is one of the least contaminated places on the Earth.







  • Over 30 years of experience in Marketing, Promotions, Electronic and Print Advertising.
  • Abiding respect for, knowledgeable and practised in Aboriginal Cultural and Spiritual Traditions.
  • Highly effective organizer with extensive administrative and grassroots experience.
  • Well developed skills in working with communities, especially capacity building.
  • Proven administrative expertise in developing networks for successful, sustainable community projects.
  • Solid reputation in Sustainable Community Economic Development.
  • Particular interest in Product Stewardship as related to Environmental and Human Health issues.
  • Over 25 years of progressive leadership with local, national and international organizations.


Community Work


1995 – present. International Institute of Concern for Public HealthToronto (iicph.org-see employment). Program Manager. Coordination of front line services related to international public health concerns from community environmental issues e.g. Land, Air and Water pollution, Human and Ecosystem Health Protection, Human Rights. Served as senior staff for IICPH from 1997 to 1999.

2008 – present. Grandmother-Elder, Elsipogtog Youth Council (EYC). Provided Volunteer Consulting services for founders of this organization for aboriginal youth. Duties include Event Coordination, Organizational Development, Ongoing Support to individual members.

2005 – 2007. Board Member, Sierra Club of Canada. Chair, Marketing Committee; Member, Ecological Justice Committee; Grandmother, Sierra Youth Coalition.

Woman warrior meme flag

2001. Water Protection Society– Consultant, Elsipogtog (Big Cove). Provided Community Consulting services for fledgling environmental health organization. Responsibilities included Public Relations, Event Coordination, Organizational Development.


2000- 2001. Big Cove Restorative Justice Initiative – Member, Community Justice Panel, Elsipogtog (Big Cove); a community-based alternative justice delivery initiative. Panel members receive training and become resource persons for traditionally based Restorative Justice Healing Circles.

1986 – present. Project Esperance/Project Hope Non Profit Corporation – Founding President, Toronto. Headed the development of a $16 million, 111 unit supportive residential community to provide safe, affordable homes for women and children. Esperance is dedicated to fostering and nurturing peaceful family life, safe housing, and the protection and well-being of children. This Toronto organization also delivers referral and support services for women and children survivors of family violence. Managed the affairs of the non-profit, including staff, media, volunteer and government relations; lobbying; administrative and financial management; negotiations, contracts, and conflict resolution; fundraising; marketing and promotion; casework.

1993-1995. Social Planning Council of Metropolitan Toronto – Vice-President, Board of Directors, Toronto. Committees: Social Assistance Policy Reform Group; Executive Committee; Organizational Capacity Task Team; Advisory Committee on Relationships and United Way.

1993 – present. Coalition for a Green Economic Recovery– Member and Co-Chair, Toronto. The Coalition promotes community based, sustainable, and ecologically sound business development to create wealth for local economies. Established “Green Clean,” a pilot alternative garment cleaning operation sponsored by Environment Canada; the Multi-Process Wet Cleaning operation successfully demonstrated a financially viable alternative to conventional toxic, chemical-based dry cleaning.

1995. Environmental Partners Fund – Member, National & Regional Evaluation Committees, Toronto. Member under Federal Appointment, Canadian Environment Minister. Reviewed, selected and allocated funding for environmental remediation projects.

1994 – 1995. Child and Family Service & Custody Review Boards (cross-appointments), Ontario, Canada. Member by Provincial Appointment, Order-In-Council and Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. Reviewed applications from Ontario youth in correctional, residential, emergency and secure treatment facilities, day nurseries and adoption licensees. Was a voting member of judicial tribunals for the resolution of the cases, completed annual reports and provided ongoing recommendations to Ministers and policy makers.


Business and Employment Experience

2005 – 2008, Host, Good Life Gathering – For 4 consecutive years, the Gathering provided opportunities for youth, Elders and community leaders to share knowledge and increase their abilities to live in harmony with nature and society. Spiritually and environmentally focused, participants gathered together for summer events and continued to work on projects throughout the year.

1999 – present Wilhelmina Nolan, Consultant– Private Consultant, Kent County, New Brunswick. Provides services to communities, businesses and individuals. Services include Consultation, Marketing and Promotional services, Sustainability & Resilience for Communities Economic and Organizational Development, Fundraising, Event Coordination, Public and Government Relations.

1997- 1999 International Institute of Concern for Public Health (IICPH), iicph.org. – Project Coordinator. IICPH is a private non-profit organization whose mandate is to provide assistance to communities whose health is threatened by exposures to hazardous substances. Recipient of the 1986 Right Livelihood Award. Worked as Senior Staff directly under founding member the late Dr. Rosalie Bertell. Duties included finance, administration, spokesperson, fund raising and front-line project work with Board, citizen groups, environment, industry, government, science and medical professionals.

1992- 1999 Bio Business International Inc.– Contract Services – General Manager, Toronto. Directed the Marketing, Promotion and Administration for the corporation, spokesperson, major shareholder. Conceived import/export and marketing plan for body-friendly health and beauty products, public health education campaigns. Developed marketing strategy and materials for lines of body-friendly personal care products, including trade and Internet promotion for the company.

1988 – 1990 Women In Transition Inc. – Program Counsellor (Senior Counsellor), Toronto. Emergency shelter for women and children: Front-line counsellor, facilitated transition from crisis and return to the community. Provided referrals, advocacy, housing and support services. Served as Outreach and Liaison worker for the organization to government and sister agencies.

1988-1989 Metropolitan Toronto Association for Community Living– Crisis Intervention Worker, Toronto.Resource development, advocacy, education, appropriate housing, residential placements and crisis intervention for developmentally handicapped adults for MTACL’s Client Services Department.

1972 – 1998 Python Marketing & Promotions & Versatel Corporate Services – Contract Services, Toronto.Marketing, Print & Graphic Advertising services. Marketing support for G.H. Halpenny, a principal of both companies. Executive sales and production of marketing tools. Accounts included Ronald McDonald House, Labatt Breweries and Benson & Hedges. The development of marketing packages for product manufacturers and developers.




1971 – 1973: Street Child

1974 – 1976: Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada. Major: Social Sciences, French Language.

1983 – present: Mother, Grandmother.

Recent Certificates: Natural Step – Sustainability Step By Natural Step; Sustainability 101 – Practical sustainability education aimed at businesses, governments, communities and individuals that want to move strategically towards sustainability. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) Electoral Officer; INAC Elections Investigations.

Personal Interests


Traditional culture and healing medicines, dance, music, literature, gardening, crafts, cooking, simple living.



  1. A T
    Nov 15, 2015 @ 02:14:56

    Mrs Nolan

    I tremendously admire all the work you do for our environment.

    I’m wondering if you could give me some suggestions? I’m looking for help assessing the possible health risk this could pose to our drinking water supply. My well is only 45 ft deep and my water is coming thru the gravel layer (same as tested).
    I live in Northern rural .

    There is some industrial waste (sludge, fly and bottom ashes) from the Cell pulp mill (name snipped), stored 50 m from my well.

    I just recently received some information proving that the groundwater has very high levels of nitrate + nitrite 12.7 mg/L (211.6 times greater than FWAL), ammonia 170 mg/L (77.27 times higher than FWAL), cadmium 0.13 ųg/L (1.44x), copper 31 ųg/L (7.75 x), arsenic 6 ųg/L (1.2 ×), lead 13.3 ųg/L (1.17 ×)…dioxin and furan (in the waste) 4.10 pgTEQ/g…

    I can gladly forward the “Risk Assesment Report”. is not pro-active AT ALL in this case. I have been seriously on their heels for the past year.
    I will take any advice you can share.

    Thank you for being so dedicated.
    Forever grateful!

    A T


    • Annie Theriault
      Nov 15, 2015 @ 02:16:40

      I didnt realise this would be posted. If possible, please just forward privately to Mrs Nolan

      Thank you


      • Willi
        Jan 25, 2016 @ 17:19:51

        Your message has been received and a reply has been sent.


  2. Nigel Powell
    Apr 10, 2016 @ 09:39:03

    Heya Willi, this is Nigel (from Paris). 🙂 Need your email to say hi and catch up. 🙂


    • Willi
      Nov 19, 2016 @ 15:58:30

      Hi – just use the contact links Nigel… looking forward to hearing from YOU too!


  3. Heather Awen
    Oct 18, 2016 @ 03:28:22

    You are amazing! I’m grateful for your living.

    I have severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivities and Lyme disease with babesiosis (malaria). Although I have lived in Toronto for seven wonderful years I am now south of Québec in northern Vermont. I have a website SafeCanaryNest.org which is the largest international resource list for people living with MCS. There is also the only MCS Vermont resource list. We know that MCS is more common with indigenous people. Of course this connects to environmental justice. Many people in the environmental justice movement do not seem to be aware of MCS. The chemical injury information network has a lot of helpful information. http://ciin.org/mcs.html

    I am sharing this with you because I don’t know if the Abenaki community here is aware of MCS . In the United States the most common way to get MCS is exposure to pesticides, making it actually more of a rural problem them that in urban centers. Another common way is sick building syndrome which can happen in a building anywhere. Many times people think that “the countryside” is much safer when really the soil is filled still with DDT and other horrible chemicals as the farmers are also using pesticides and GMO seeds.

    Much to my surprise the MCS community has not made alliances with other groups concerned about the same issues . Mostly it is ” mommy groups” who are more aware of MCS issues because of the information we have now about chemicals being linked to asthma and pollution being linked to autism. We know that mothers milk from indigenous women around the St. Lawrence Seaway is something like seven times more toxic than that of people not living on the reserve and that the most toxic breastmilk is that the most removed people in the world, the Inuit, MCS is very much related to indigenous issues.

    That there has not been much education in the environmental justice community about MCS and other environmental illnesses has been quite shocking to learn. Then again I was working very concerned about environmental justice for years as an activist and didn’t know about MCS until I was poisoned. I am very ill right now but I wanted to create some sort of bridge if possible . Toronto’s woman’s college health center does have some information about environmental illnesses and in Nova Scotia there is a center , one of the reasons being that the land is very toxic there. The main problem is that the only treatment is avoidance chemicals. That means that almost all modern housing with pressboard, carpet , VOCs, plastics etc. is not safe so this has contributed to a large homelessness problem of people called “environmental refugees.” In the United States many live outside in the Rocky Mountains alone because everyone has different sensitivities in national parks and it is not safe to go into town to get food so people still are very ill. In the winters people find a way to get to the Arizona New Mexico desert. A lot of women have been raped being so vulnerable . Canada has created seven MCS apartments that are safer in Ottawa. Halifax has banned secondhand fragrance, as a wide range of synthetic chemicals in “fragrance” are incredibly toxic and one of the main ” barriers to access” for those of us with MCS. I immediately go into seizures for example.

    With your work not only with indigenous populations, environmental justice, but also the safety of women and children I thought it would be a good person to notify. Once upon a time before I got sick I was a staff reporter for the Toronto Star. My name then was Heather Royce-Roll. Linda Sepp has a blog “seriously sensitive to pollution” and she lives in one of those Ottawa apartments and is a really good reference person although the MCS has become many more illnesses .

    MCS is connected to fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue and immune deficiency syndrome, sharing the same awareness day May 12 with the symbol of a green ribbon. Disorders of Porphyrinopathy seem to be the common factor which is also found with Gulf War syndrome which is another form of MCS and also silicone breast implants issues. Most of the first responders to the World Trade Center on 911 have some form of MCS today. It’s very common with firefighters as well. However there are links to estrogen being a problem and we know that pesticides and plastics turn into endocrine disruptors which often just turn into estrogen. This may be why women seem to have MCS more than men do although I personally have met a lot of men who due to their former occupation have MCS but don’t know if that is what is called.

    I have not read about any studies about MCS with migrant farmworkers but I am sure there must be a strong connection and that would qualify as environmental justice. I do some alternative spirituality support for people in prison where 1% of our population lives in institutionalized racist work camps. A doctor who is a political prisoner in one of the prisons told me that MCS is very common in the prison because it is the ideal sick building syndrome setting. Anywhere with poor ventilation (winterization of houses really caused an upswing in MCS rates) and a lot of chemicals is a breeding place for MCS which seems to often lead to autoimmune illnesses. MCS is not an immune illness , it is more about neurology, endocrinology and the detoxification pathways. However people with Lyme disease , chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus etc. commonly develop MCS.

    Where I live I am in the number one state for the Lyme disease epidemic. It is very hard to treat and the typical test the Western blot is only 55% accurate. I had it for seven years without ever tested positive and had to pay $600 for the only accurate test in the United States, iGenex in California. They take Medicare strangely enough but no other insurance. I don’t know how southern Québec is with Lyme disease, because it is farther north but the Hudson Valley is another place with an epidemic. As it is so hard to diagnose and the treatment is hard because the doctor must check for a lot of coinfection I wanted to share that as well. It’s no longer deer that are the main tick carriers, but mice. In Vermont 50% of ticks test positive for Lyme.

    I’m really impressed with you and also your website ! You are connected to so many communities that share a higher than average chance of MCS I just wanted to give you some information and also some links. The babesiosis I have is potentially fatal and I’m really out of it with fevers and “brain fog” so I’m not of much use other than informing people . I hope that some of this that I’ve shared will help somebody that is connected with you . The MCS community I have found is not very good at grassroots activism. Before I got sick I got my degree in nonviolent social change and then did the community worker program at George Brown College. So I have an edge including work experience but I’m still very surprised there hasn’t been much outreach with groups that share common ground.

    Because MCS means I cannot leave my safe room not even to stand barefoot outside ever again I started making and sending large information packages for people in prison in nature focused religions such as African Diaspora traditions, animism, Wicca, Celtic polytheism, and lots more with also handouts about communication, consensus, group work skills, distress tolerance, the pagan 12-step program, with a strong focus on value based living . I know what it’s like to be alienated and very removed from the world. It doesn’t require a lot of thinking now that they have been put together so that is where I’m doing most of my activism although I still try to help white pagans understand things like black lives matter, invisible privilege and other things I really wish they knew about. 🙂 Not to mention actual ecology which in my opinion should be central to anyone who is calling themselves someone in a nature based religion. Of course I leave the Native American spirituality to actual Native American elders although my mother and I were adopted by a Cherokee chief for work around saving burial mounds that my mother did with her when I was focusing on Leonard Peltier support. Where I live there are a lot of “shamanic practitioners” who have a “Native American spirit guide” but they can never tell me from which nation. Anyway that adoption make changes in my life – not the superpowers the wannabe tribe would suspect but actually an obligation to speak out to people who are practicing cultural misappropriation especially for profit.

    By the way, I found your website from Wikipedia because I am studying Abenaki history and culture again . As a bioregional animist it’s important to me to know who the spirits of the land are and also to honor the ancestors of this place. Of course none of that is preventing genocide so the greatest offering anyone can make is actual political alliance with the indigenous people. And that is what brought me to your website!


    • Willi
      Nov 19, 2016 @ 15:56:35

      Thanks for your comments. I know that many peoples will be interested in the links between disease and exposures to hazardous substances.
      I wish you all the good health, peace and joy that Life can offer.


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