One Earth Director Vanessa Timmer interviewed environmentalist, entrepreneur and author, Paul Hawken. The interview was for Greater Vancouver TV at the Gaining Ground conference (October 2009). During the one hour interview, Paul spoke about responses to climate change, the role of governments and cities in the transition to sustainability, the power of dialogue and collaborative leadership, and the drama and opportunity of this moment in history.
One Earth was a partner in the Gaining Ground conference (Resilient Cities: Urban Strategies for Transition Times, Vancouver, Oct 20-22), helping cities manage transition times. North American cities are facing transformational challenges in sustainability, economy, and urban management, leaving them scrambling to comprehend and manage the shift toward ecological practices and greater resilience.
The conference advances thinking on innovation in sustainability governance and best current practices for managing sustainable urban systems; capturing opportunities in the green economy; building widespread sustainability collaborations that engage the community level. Bill Rees presented a keynote address in which he outlined a vision of a self-reliant, self-producing eco-regional city states which differ fundamentally from the parasitic modern city.
One Earth hosted a workshop building on this keynote presentation entitled “Rethinking the Good Life in Cities” which featured Bill, Vanessa and Nicole from One Earth as well as Vincent Tan (VP, Ayala Land) and Mariken van Nimwegen (Graphic Recorder). The workshop addressed the question: how can we redesign our cities to be regenerative and resilient with healthy, vibrant communities, economies and lifestyles? It also explored ‘how’ we can work more effectively on complex, systemic issues like transforming our cities, including some cutting-edge methods and ‘social technologies’ currently being tested in the field.
One Earth’s Emmanuel Prinet and Bill Rees presented their latest work at the SCORAI (Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative) conference at Clark University on October 15-17. Emmanuel presented “Advancing Sustainable Household Consumption: Insights for Effective Policy Development” and Bill spoke about “What’s Blocking Sustainability? Human Nature, Cognition and Denial.” SCORAI explores sustainable consumption and the impact of changing individual household patterns, bringing together top academics and practitioners from the US and Canada. A central conclusion was that because of the scale and the urgency of the changes needed, households cannot significantly advance sustainable consumption on their own, but require systemic solutions and coordinated actions by many stakeholders, including grassroots initiatives, institutional changes, government policies, and political reforms.
On June 22, One Earth launched a report with key elements for a Canadian policy strategy on sustainable household consumption with partner, the Consumers Council of Canada. Examining what sustainable household consumption means in a Canadian context is important insofar as the average Ecological Footprint of Canadians is significantly larger than what the Earth can sustain in the long term; indeed, were everyone around the world to adopt a typical Canadian lifestyle, four Earth-like planets would be necessary to support this way of living. The challenge is great: to maintain–and even enhance–quality of life of all Canadian citizens, while reducing by some 80% their material and energy demands. Household consumption is at the heart of these concerns, and should therefore be an integral part of any national sustainability plan in Canada. The report makes a case for emphasis on collective solutions such as better public transportation to achieve greener consumer behaviour. This project is funded by Industry Canada’s Office of Consumer Affairs.
One Earth launched the Eco-Strata Guide for reducing the ecological footprint of existing multi-family dwellings in Metro Vancouver. The project is focused on the opportunities for advancing sustainability, particularly as a result of economies of scale. Launched on April 8th at a private event, the practical guidebook (and website) assists strata councils, cooperatives, developers and management companies. Partners include the Condominium Home Owners’ Association (CHOA) with funding from the Real Estate Foundation of BC. The action ideas outlined in the guide offer win-win solutions for existing apartments, townhouses and condos. They help conserve natural resources as well as provide significant economic savings. Download the PDF, 3.8MB or dialogue at www.eco-strata.com, a space for sharing insights, lessons and resources.
One Earth participated in the first meeting and dialogue for North America (Canada and USA) on sustainable consumption and production, held November 6 and 7, 2008, in Washington D.C.; a second follow-up meeting is anticipated in Canada. The aim of this meeting was to define a regional approach to advance sustainable consumption and production in North America that also contributes to the global Marrakech Process. The meeting provided a platform to shape North American needs and priorities for achieving SCP, to identify success stories, best practices, lessons learned and gaps. UNEP Regional Office for North America's website features a page on the meeting that includes more details and information, key documents, etc. IISD's Reporting Services features a descriptor of the meeting: http://www.iisd.ca/ymb/sdwsc/html/ymbvol156num1e.html.
The RCEN held its AGM in Toronto on Oct. 24 to 26, 2008. The topic this year was “Health and the Environment”, and was addressed through the many workshops, plenary sessions and presentations. Click for more information about RCEN.
The UN’s Marrakech Process made available a first draft of a document that will serve as input to the UN Commission on Sustainable Development on a 10-Year Framework of Programmes (10YFP) on Sustainable Consumption and Production. One Earth was one of the partners who commented on the first draft. Comments and the draft can be downloaded from the Marrakech Process website as well as the NGO Forum website.
On October 21st, Vanessa Timmer spoke to urban leaders, scientists and innovation experts from around the world at Futuropolis 2058 in Singapore. It is easier to transition to urban sustainability if we can picture what sustainable cities look like. Future scenarios help us think and plan in more innovative, rigorous and adaptive ways. In her talk, “Imagining Sustainable Cities: Scenario Planning for City Management,” Vanessa argued that we shouldn’t just gather information (“what do we know”) through trend analysis and other tools but also expand our understanding of our options (“what is possible or imaginable”).
The Canadian Centre for Pollution Prevention (C2P2) held its 12th Canadian Pollution Prevention Roundtable in Edmonton, Alberta, on June 11th and 12th, 2008. The goal of the roundtable was to bring together the strongest pool of Canadian pollution prevention expertise, exchange information and discuss pollution prevention and sustainable consumption in Canada. Emmanuel gave a presentation on “Taking inspiration from the European Union, and moving forward on SCP in Canada”. His talk was followed by the projection of two short videos on Malmö and Vancouver.
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