Urban Citizen

I have seen first-hand how great cities are created by engaged and active citizens – people who get involved to make their city a better place. Urban citizens are innovators, change makers, city builders. With two thirds of the world’s population estimated to be urban dwellers by 2050, we need to get cities right – for people, governments and budgets. More than 80% of Canadians already live in urban environments where there are endless opportunities and possibilities to grow smart, sustainable, and resilient cities.

 

We get the governance culture we design

Most people don’t think they are interested in the topic of governance.  But we talk about it all the time. Creating value is the goal of good governance.  Corporations create value for shareholders.  Credit unions and cooperatives create value for their members.  For governments, it is about serving citizens. However, good governance is about more than creating value. …

Basic Annual Income lifts more than living standards

The Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW) will soon release updated findings for 2015. In preparation, they recently brought together individuals with experience in each of the eight wellbeing domains. Together, we explored the connections between domains and what new policies  would give the greatest lift for Canadians. Basic Annual Income quickly rose to the top.  The positive impact on…

Canada’s GHG reduction targets fall short

Top Asks for Climate Action: Ramping up Low Carbon Communities was released in June.  The report recommended the federal government put a national price on carbon.  A national price would serve as a baseline for all provinces and territories. This action would establish a level playing field across the country while respecting regional differences in the…

Accelerate the energy transition

Multiple systems must change to address climate change. Likely, a sequence of energy transition pathways will be needed to achieve a low carbon future.  However, the problem is time.  We don’t have much.  Intentional and coordinated interventions from outside of a system can help accelerate change.  They begin with the end in mind. Systems are always changing.  While continuous…

Sustainability pushes systems to change

Sustainability pushes systems to change.  And that is not easy.  Seth Godin put it so well in his blog post “Bureaucracy, success and the status quo”: “When you show up offering change, understand that the status quo isn’t the enemy of the bureaucracy, it is their entire reason for being.”  Every day, we interact with…

Sustainability is a disruptor

Sustainability is a disruptor because it fundamentally challenges the way we live, work and play. Many of the systems that have evolved over the last century promote short-term decision making.  These systems tend to put aside the consideration of broader social, economic and environmental impacts. Climate change, and the externalized costs associated with the release of carbon into…

Provincial policies support thermal energy

Thermal energy is a growing theme in provincial land use policies. I attended a workshop last week on two far-reaching provincial policy documents.  The two documents were Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) and  the review of the growth plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. That is to say, Ontario’s developing land use and climate policy framework was the focus of the…

Elephants in the room

Positive Energy hosted a workshop recently on public confidence in energy decision processes.  The conversation focused on public authorities because energy regulators are struggling to engage communities and civil society. The organizers introduced several “elephants” into the room because new social forces are impacting traditional decision processes.  These forces impact many sectors not just the energy world.…

Principles lead the way to low carbon future

It is easy to get distracted during disruptive times – there are shiny new objects at every turn.  How do you wade through the different options?  Tried and true principles. QUEST (Quality Urban Energy Systems of Tomorrow) held their annual strategic planning session in early June, engaging staff, board members and regional caucus chairs in a well-facilitated two…

Top Asks For Climate Action released today

Canada must act quickly if we are to meet our international climate change commitments, and local governments are central to achieving our goals. Local governments influence over 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. The reality is clear: Canada can’t be a leader without local government action.  I was thrilled to be asked to work with…