The day started with the sun beaming in through a wall of glass looking out over Edmonton’s North Saskatchewan River. The discourse on cities was hopeful- tinged with periods of critical thought and realism. Presenters, including the Mayor of Edmonton, Don Iveson, talked about the need to track consumption-based GHG emissions; but the mechanisms that cities require to influence consumption of their citizens are both politically and legally limited. Many speakers talked about green jobs and low-carbon cities as engines of economic growth and development, while others reflected that economic development itself is the source of GHG emissions. Irrespective of the pathway forward, there is no question that the role of local governments and cities is gaining prominence and an increasing focus of UN agencies and other entities in the world; if cities can’t dramatically bend the curve, then there is no way that the world will achieve the necessary reductions of 1.5 degrees. Mayor Iveson emphasised this point with a story about UNFCCC COP 13 in indonesia; as a deputy mayor his option was to represent a non-profit organisation at a side event of a side event. Luckily, times have changed: urban areas are now a primary focus with an IPCC focussed conference on cities. Read more
In conversations with new recruits, with potential clients, partners, press, we are often met with confused faces puzzled by our inability to limit SSG and our potential to one area of work, one sector, one job. In a description for UBC from a couple of years ago, Director Yuill Herbert charts our trajectory, why and how we do the work we do, why we compete on the threshold of constant change and innovation. All the while keeping our feet firmly on the ground in being held to account not only by our cooperative members but by the grassroots; the communities we work closely with and for. Meaningful change is nothing without their participation and education around the decisions that ultimately matter to them.
“Our task is to look at the world and see it whole”, EF Schumacher
“SSG was founded in 2001 on the basis that meaningful solutions to critical societal issues needed to overcome the silos and stovepipes that characterise scientific study, design professions and design practice- and we have applied the idea of whole systems to the areas in which we work- building, planning, strategy, research and policy. Our portfolio spans energy planning, water planning, green building, urban design, waste analysis, climate change mitigation and beyond to health planning, adaptation and transportation modelling. Our dedication to this approach is such that we have embedded collaboration in our organisational structure, incorporating as a workers co-operative. Read more
Thank for listening to Lindsay’s inspiring webinar and fruitful discussion after. Here is the recording for those who missed it and her presentation too.
On Wednesday 4th November at 13:00 EDT we have the next in our series of Associate webinars. This time we will be hearing from Lindsay Cole, co Founder of SSG and now Operations Manager with CityStudio Vancouver, with some brilliant work in between (see her bio below). The session will be informal with plenty of discussion about Lindsays approach and work.
Lindsay is a co-founder and former director with SSG, that left to take a position as the Greenest City Planner with the City of Vancouver. Upon completion of that planning and public engagement work, Lindsay moved to the Vancouver Park Board to lead the implementation of the Greenest City plan for that organisation. Her work included scoping and planning “Rewilding Vancouver: an Environmental Education and Stewardship Action Plan” for the Park Board, as well as the initial resourcing and implementation work. She is now the Operations Manager with CityStudio Vancouver, and is still connected to the Rewilding Plan (amongst other) City of Vancouver priorities. She’ll be briefly presenting the Rewilding Strategy, and looks forward to a lively discussion.
In the autumn crunch, we are a hive activity here at SSG and are keen to share our work and our resources with you.
Here are our latest webinars up to January next year for you to join. We will be taking a break in December whilst at COP21 Paris for the UN Climate Talks.
1. We have our monthly Associate webinar on Wednesday 21st October 13:00 EDT, this time with Brennan Vogel on ‘Sub national approaches to climate change adaptation’
You can simply register here
In our first in a series of Associate Webinars, Lindsay Telfer, Associate of SSG and National Project Director of the Canadian Freshwater Alliance will share an engagement methodology she has developed to broaden and deepen freshwater engagement across Canada.
When: 10th September 13:00 EST
Here is the inspiring presentation by Lindsay that she walked us through ‘Strategies, tools and tips for meaningful community engagement in British Columbia’
Here is the recording too for those who missed the session, or need to recap on all the information she shared with us!
Lindsay Telfer, Associate of SSG and National Project Director of the Canadian Freshwater Alliance will share an engagement methodology she has developed to broaden and deepen freshwater engagement across Canada. In describing the approach she will reference case studies of her recent work building engagement for the new Water Sustainability Act in British Columbia and driving collaborative engagement around solving Lake Erie’s toxic algae problems.
Lindsay uses an organizing methodology that builds a base of engaged support for change. Much of that approach is applicable for creating engaged communities for sustainability, whether it be community groups, municipalities and residents. Akin to “engagement organizing” the approach marries tried and test strategies in organizing with new technology tools to aid in broadening and deepening relationships with 100s or 1000s of supporters.
More info on the Canadian Freshwater Alliance:
The Freshwater Alliance is a national capacity building initiative that builds, connects and supports freshwater constituencies across Canada.
Twitter: @H2OAlliance / #ourhomewater
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Since 2008, SSG has been involved in sustainability consulting and LEED Certification for the socially-assisted housing project 188 East 1st Avenue. Listen in for ways SSG helped bring sustainability, efficiencies and wellbeing to this building and it’s residents.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has named Vancouver Convention Centre West (VCCW) among its 2011 Top Ten Green Projects, announced last month. Sustainability Solutions Group, the sustainability and LEED consultant for VCCW, led the project to a LEED Platinum rating, the highest level of certification by the Canada Green Building Council. VCCW is the only Canadian building on AIA’s list and is the only LEED Platinum convention center in the world. Read more