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.

 

Energy transition needs to engage people

In my virtual twitter world, everyone gets climate change and is working on solutions to prevent further global warming.  They are busy figuring out how to manage the impacts we are already experiencing and to be better prepared for what is coming down the pipe. Mind you I follow @climateoutreach, @350, @OntarioClimate, @MAC_Climate among many others. …

Local governments should have our backs on energy security

I am in the final stages of a project for a client.  It is a toolkit for local elected leaders to build more resilient, sustainable and prosperous communities for all Canadians by taking action on climate change. I had the good fortune of talking to a friend about this work who pointed me to the…

Accelerating the transition to low-carbon cities

There is an urgent need to accelerate the transition to low-carbon cities. Despite the best efforts of many cities and supporting organizations, we have not seen the uptake or progress we need to help meet Canada’s international climate change commitments. We are great at planning and pilots. We need scale and we need it fast.…

Low carbon cities contribute to our wellbeing

Part of my presentation yesterday at the Big Ideas, Better Cities conference on climate change focused on the many co-benefits that come with the transition to low carbon cities.  The theme was echoed by several others presenters. When I talk about wellbeing, I like to use to the Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW) as my starting point. …

It’s the low-carbon economy, stupid

With an economy heavily dependent on fossil fuel extraction, Canada has struggled to find a credible path forward on climate change. Our emissions are among the highest in the world and are projected to increase without significant intervention. There is a substantial gap between Canada’s current greenhouse gas reduction targets and what will be necessary to…

Energy disruption no fantasy

Guelph’s community energy plan has been in the news lately.  Understanding why is instructive.  This is my take on it. First, a community energy plan (CEP) is nothing more than a tool to help a community figure out how to use less energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while driving local economic development.  Guelph’s CEP aims…

Farmers fuel cities

There is a saying I see around town printed on bright yellow posters – Farmers Feed Cities.  Today that means more than food.  It also means energy – wind, solar, biomass, and bio-gas.  Farmers fuel cities too. While in Kingston last week, I took in a discussion on rural communities and renewable energy.  The focus of the…

Our Common Future

There was an obituary in the Globe and Mail yesterday celebrating the remarkable contribution of a Canadian civil servant to global thinking on sustainable development and climate change.  His name was Jim MacNeill and he was one of the authors of Our Common Future published in 1987. This was an important report in my life and for many people around me…

Solution-focused leadership

Someone recently sent me this great graphic about the difference between a boss and a leader.  Personally, I would say “tyrant” rather than “boss” because they are very hard on an organization. I  have also seen this management style referred to as “toxic leadership” in management books. I can think of many stories that are illustrative…

More than pricing carbon

Some of the proponents of the BC carbon tax are only telling part of the story. I am not weighing in on the right mechanism to price carbon. Whether it is a tax, cap and trade, or fee and dividend, we need to price carbon in Canada. There are pros and cons with each approach…