Born in Vancouver, Vancouver City Councillor Carr earned a master's degree in urban geography under David Ley and Walter Hardwick from UBC in 1980, writing her thesis on the role of citizen groups in building community spirit and shaping development in the neighbourhood of Kitsilano.
Councillor Carr taught for 12 years at Vancouver's Langara College, serving on the Langara Faculty Association Board and, for several years, as chair of the department of interdisciplinary studies.
In 1989, she left teaching to join the executive team at Western Canada Wilderness Committee, a group founded by her husband, helping it grow into one of Canada's largest membership-based conservation groups. From 1989 to 2000, she headed WCWC’s fundraising and grant programs, edited most of WCWC’s hundreds of public education publications, and led several key WCWC campaigns. She is known both for establishing and leading WCWC’s international WILD campaign—including work on the international Biodiversity Convention—and for playing a pivotal role in helping resolve the conflict over oldgrowth logging in Clayoquot Sound, having been asked by the Central Region Chiefs of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council to be a liaison between them and the key environment groups engaged in the issue.
During the early 1990s, Carr also served as a committee member of the Canadian International Development Agency’s Environment and Development Support Program as well as a member of the Canadian Government’s Biodiversity Convention Implementation Committee.
In 1983, Carr co-founded the Green Party of British Columbia, the first Green Party in North America. She served as the party’s first spokesperson until 1985. She was re-elected as the party’s leader in 2000 and became the first Green Party leader in North America invited into a leaders’ debate in the 2001 provincial election. In 2002, Carr headed the non-partisan Citizen’s Initiative for a Proportional Representation Electoral System in B.C. Although it fell short of sufficient province-wide signatures to be considered for implementation, it is credited with resulting in the B.C. Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform. In 2006, Carr left provincial politics to be appointed by Leader Elizabeth May as Deputy Leader of the Green Party of Canada, leading national fundraising and election training campaigns over the next 5 years.
For several years starting in 2009, Carr also co-chaired the Canadian Women Voters' Congress non-partisan Women's Campaign School.
In 2011 Carr was elected as Vancouver’s first Green Party City Councillor. She topped the polls in both the 2014 and 2018 Vancouver city elections. During the COVID Pandemic, Carr initiated and headed Council’s COVID Recovery Committee. She currently serves as the Chair of the city’s Policy and Strategic Priorities Committee, as a Metro Vancouver Board member, as well as Chair of Metro Vancouver’s Climate Action Committee.
Councillor Carr has two adult children, two young grandchildren, and lives in Vancouver's West End with her husband Paul George.