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Join Us For Our Summit: Cities Taking Rapid Climate Action Now

Enough talk! It’s time to act. Join us on Wednesday, November 3, on the sidelines of COP in Glasgow to explore how cities are quickly and effectively moving from planning to implementing climate action. Our Summit—Cities Taking Rapid Climate Action Now—will bring together urban climate action leaders to explore what more municipalities and local governments can do to accelerate climate action. To register to join us in-person or virtually, sign up for a ticket on eventbrite. More details about the event, including the speakers and schedule, are provided below.

Lunch and snacks will be provided to those attending in Glasgow. The event will end with a reception featuring special musical guests.

The link to the online livestream can be found here.

All attendees must provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within 48 hours of the event.

Summit Overview

As the impacts of climate change accelerate, cities must urgently move from declaring climate emergencies to taking climate action. Join us for a series of panel discussions and participatory problem-solving sessions in which we will hear from cities that have effectively moved from planning to implementation, as well as urban climate action experts from Sustainability Solutions Group and beyond. We will explore transformational moves, as well as creative and scalable solutions, including carbon budgets, rapid multi-building retrofits, andclean air zones. We will learn about what is effective and working, and discuss how to create an accelerated response to climate change at the local level.

A special focus of the Cities Taking Rapid Climate Action Now Summit will be 1,000 Cities for Carbon Freedom, a project and report focused on climate action best practices from UK Cities.

Summit Schedule and Speakers

Panel 1: Carbon Budgets: Accounting for A Net-Zero Future

Time and format: 11:00am UK time, in-person and live broadcast

Overview: This panel will explore how cities are using carbon budgets as an accountability mechanism and tool to align municipal and community actions with climate action goals. Come and gather insights into how you can implement a carbon budget in your community!

Speakers:

Andrea Fernandez, Director of Climate Planning, Finance, and Partnerships, C40

Andrea Fernández serves as C40’s Director of Climate Planning, Finance and Partnerships. Andrea is responsible for overseeing C40’s climate planning, finance programmes and driving new strategic priorities and partnerships. Before joining C40, Andrea worked as a consultant at Arup for 11 years. In this role, she led high-profile engagements related to sustainability and climate change in the urban environment, with a focus on policy, funding, governance and delivery strategies.

Yuill HerbertYuill Herbert, Principal, SSG

Yuill Herbert is a co-founder and principal of the Sustainability Solutions Group, a climate planning consultancy that has designed climate action plans and conduction emissions analyses for more than 80 municipalities, ranging from City of Toronto and City of Vancouver. Yuill led the development of some of the first carbon budgets in North America for the City of Edmonton, the Region of Durham, and the Town of Whitby.

 

Panel 2: Creative Solutions for Decarbonizing Transportation

Time and format: 12:00pm UK time, in-person and live broadcast

Overview: How can cities quickly and effectively decarbonize transportation? This session will explore novel solutions beyond electric vehicles and transit planning, such as Clean Air Zones, car shares, and decreasing last mile shipping emissions with electric cargo bikes.

Speakers:

Stephen Arnold, Head of Clean Air Zone, Birmingham City Council

Stephen is Birmingham City Council’s Head of Clean Air Zone and is responsible for its delivery and operation.  The introduction of the zone is just one of the measures that the Council is taking to improve air quality across the whole of the city as part of its Brum Breathes initiative.  Importantly, the Clean Air Zone is seen as an enabler of a number of other changes in the city which include encouraging more people to adopt active modes of travel and public transport, especially for shorter journeys.

 

Jack Skillen, Placeshaping Director, Team London Bridge

Jack has worked for 15 years in fields of urban regeneration and sustainable transport since completing his MSc in Cities, Space and Society. He is focused on achieving the placeshaping strategy for the London Bridge BID, including a vision for cycling, the ‘Low Line’–London’s new walking destination–and a sustainability strategy to make London Bridge one of the greenest and most civic minded business districts in the world.

 

Ben Knowles, CEO of Pedal Me

Ben Knowles is currently Rider and CEO of Pedal Me – the world leading cargo bike operator, transporting people and their goods around London, outcompeting motor vehicle based logistics for the vast majority of urban movements.  Before this he was a transport planner and worked on a variety of projects – including leading on introducing School Streets to London.

 

Panel 3: Taking Retrofits to Scale

Time and format: 1:30pm UK time, in-person and live broadcast

Overview: In order to achieve net zero, cities must retrofit virtually all existing buildings for energy efficiency. This panel will explore novel approaches to retrofitting en masse and at scale, while keeping equity in mind.

Speakers:

Marianne Heaslip, Associate Principal, URBED

Marianne is an architect and Associate Principal at URBED with interests in urban design, sustainability and participative design. She holds an MSc in Advanced Environment and Energy Studies from the Centre for Alternative Technology, and is a Certified Passive House Designer. Marianne has more than a decade of experience on live retrofit projects and is also involved in the development of policy and tools to support better retrofit. Much of this work is carried out in collaboration with Carbon Coop, through the development of tools like Home Retrofit Planner and projects like the Community Green Deal. This wealth of experience now informs the People Powered Retrofit service, designed to support individuals in the retrofit of their homes. She also delivers training, development work and design work for a variety of community energy and community-led housing organisations, whilst working on scaling up retrofit in social housing – from TSB Retrofit for the Future, through work with housing associations and local authorities across the country to achieve real world decarbonisation and user-friendly outcomes.

Michael McLaughlin, Digital Lead, HACT

Michael joined HACT in January 2020, having previously accrued 16 years’ experience in various social housing roles, much of which has involved developing and managing Digital strategy and policy.  Having lead a programme on measuring impact of social housing for Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA), which uses the wellbeing approach to social value aligned to the UN Sustainable Development goals, Michael has a keen interest on the the ways in which this can be increased within communities. He currently leads HACT’s sector-leading UK Housing Data Standards initiative environmental module to create a common dictionary, model, and process of data exchanges, and recently co-authored a paper on The Impact of Social Housing: Economic, Social, Health and Wellbeing.

Panel 4: Mobilizing Communities for a Just Transition

Time and format: 2:30pm UK time, in-person and live broadcast

Overview: Broad public support is key to climate action. In addition, local communities can invest in and help cities advance climate action. This session will examine how communities can get involved with climate action from planning through to implementation.

Speakers:

Dirk Vansintjan, President, European Federation of Citizen Energy Co-operatives, REScoop.eu

Dirk Vansintjan is an expert on community energy who has been working in the renewable energy sector since 1985. He is the Co-founder and President of REScoop.eu, the European renewable energy cooperative federation. He is also the Co-founder and a board member of REScoop Vlaanderen, the Flemish federation for renewable energy cooperatives and the Co-founder and Vice-president of REScoop.be, the Belgian federation for renewable energy cooperatives. He has also co-founded Molenforum-Vlaanderen, a federation of mill conservation societies in Flanders, as well as ODE-Vlaanderen and Ecopower, a renewable energy cooperative in Flanders that has 60 000 members and supplies 1.6% of Flemish households with green electricity.

 

Jonathan Atkinson, Co-founder, Carbon Co-op

Since completing a degree in Environmental Biology, Jonathan Atkinson’s career has crossed boundaries and disciplines. He worked at two research co-ops, Ethical Consumer Magazine and Corporate Watch and in 2002  co-founded UHC Collective, a multidisciplinary art and design project. Jonathan’s interests lie at the point where urban development, art, community and politics meet. Throughout his career he has explored the potential for co-operative and collective action to create change. He is a co-founder of Carbon Co-op, a board member and staff member,  developing and project managing innovative, new low-carbon projects.

Sal Wilson, Stokey Energy

Sal worked as an architect for 10 years before training as an environmental designer at Atelier Ten, where she gained experience in a wide range of sustainability strategies. She tutors sustainable design in London at the Bartlett and the Architectural Association, and has been involved in editing the recently launched LETI Retrofit guide. Sal has been working with Stokey Energy, a local community energy group based in Hackney in London, as the group works to establish its presence in the community and seek out opportunities to reduce carbon at multiple scale across the neighbourhood.

Session 5: Open Space – Participatory Discussion on Accelerating Climate Action

Time and format: 2:30pm UK time, in-person only

Overview: What is the best way for cities to rapidly decarbonize with the resources they have at hand? How can cities and local governments accelerate climate action in the climate emergency? Summit participants will be invited to propose topics for discussion in breakout sessions facilitated by the summit organizations. The outcome of this session will inform the development of a City Climate Action Handbook that documents the insights from the summit.

Closing Reception With Bill McKibben and Tenzin Choegyal

Time and format: 5:15pm – 7:00pm UK time, in-person only

Overview: We will wrap up the Cities Taking Rapid Climate Action Now Summit with an evening reception, featuring a keynote speech by renowned climate activist Bill McKibben and tunes by the award-winning musician Tenzin Choegyal. If you would like to only attend the reception, sign up here.

Featured guests: 

Bill McKibben, Founder, 350.org

A man who needs no introduction: Bill has been a part of the climate movement for decades, writing multiple books since The End of Nature in 1989, and going on to found 350.org. He is an environmentalist, author, activist, and journalist who was awarded the Gandhi Peace Award in 2013, is the Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College, and has been named one of the most influential people by Foreign Policy magazine, MSN, the Boston Globe, and many others.

 

Tenzin Choegyal, Grammy-nominated Tibetan/Australian Artist

Tenzin is a Tibetan/Australian artist, composer, activist, musical director and cultural ambassador. While proudly continuing the unbroken nomadic lineage which is central to his music, Tenzin also embraces opportunities to take his music into more contemporary, uncharted territory, both in the studio and on stage.

Tenzin has nine independent albums, three of them with his fusion band Tibet2Timbuk2, and regularly performs with Camerata Brisbane’s acclaimed Chamber Orchestra. His collaborative albums include The Last Dalai Lama? with Philip Glass and the 2021 Grammy-nominated Songs from the Bardo with Laurie Anderson and Jesse Paris Smith – a moving interpretation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

 

Sustainability Reporting for Co-operatives: A Guidebook

International Co-operative Alliance & SSG Present: Sustainability Reporting for Co-operatives: A Guidebook

Sustainability Reporting for Co-operatives: A Guidebook, prepared by SSG for the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA), explores the different types of reporting frameworks used by co-ops globally, the process of developing a chosen framework and how a co-op can then communicate results to members and interested stakeholders.

The Guidebook also provides guidance on how co-operatives can track their contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

You can read more about the report on ICA’s website, or you can download the report directly.

We’re recruiting!

SSG is looking for two inspiring additions to our team as we expand and require additional support.

  1. Finance Coordinator and Administrator: 3 days a week* to start on Thursday 10th March 2016
  2. Communications Specialist: 5 days a month to start Monday 14th March 2016

*Candidates in Ottawa interested in a full-time position should specify this in their covering letter. One of SSG’s partners La Siembra is hiring a part-time bookkeeper as well and opportunities exist to build full-time hours between the two organisations: http://www.lasiembra.com/camino/en/careers

The deadline for applications is 26th February 2016 midnight in Eastern Time.

Please contact rebecca@ssg.coop if you have any queries.

As a workers cooperative, we believe it is the most equitable, accountable and active business model that enables cultural change from within. Our members’ expertise crosses disciplines, cultures and generations to create a different working experience that makes essential sustainability impacts possible.

Mao and Radishes: 21 Stories of Transition @COP21

The common thread through tonight’s event, as asked by Rob Hopkins, the founder of the Transition Towns movement and host of this evening, was the humility, lack of ego and localised thinking. In communities across the world from South Africa to Brazil, the collective brain of the community instinctually and creatively solved a single issue, that spiralled into easing a host of wider problems, as a result of this collaborative effort. The more actors you have in the decision making, the more needs are satisfied. Of the fifteen projects featured from his book 21 Stories of Transition and those we heard from, highlights were a project in France that not only brought together the diversity of seeds, but also diversity of language by including labels for the plants in Latin, in French and the local dialect, that reinvigorated the community again. Read more

The International Co-operative Alliance issues statement on climate change for COP21, Paris

Statement of the International Co-operative Alliance General Assembly to the world leaders involved in the COP21 in Paris

We, the delegates of the 44th General Assembly of the International Co-operative Alliance, gathered in Antalya, Turkey, on the 13th of November 2015, emphasize to the heads of state and government that will meet in Paris in December 2015 for the COP21 that:  

  1. The International Co-operative Alliance, celebrating this year its 120th anniversary, represents one billion individuals, members of more than 2.5 million co-operative enterprises worldwide that provide for the livelihoods of or directly employ 250 million people.
  2. Co-operatives are sustainable enterprises and their important role in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals has been recognized in several global policy initiatives, such as the Rio+20 outcome document, the Financing for Development Outcome Document and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  3. Co-operatives are active in many sectors of the economy, such as agriculture, retail, insurance, housing, banking and energy, among others, and can therefore be a vehicle to implement the Sustainable Development Goals across different fields, the fight against climate change included.
  4. The International Co-operative Alliance has urged its members to continue and step up their initiatives to fight climate change.

Therefore,

The International Co-operative Alliance urges the heads of state and government, present in Paris for the COP21, to agree to effective and ambitious measures against climate change and to take into consideration the co-operative movement as a partner in their implementation.

Canada: worker cooperatives taking action to address climate change

(Repost from CICOPA: dated 31st October 2015)

In the Sustainability Solutions Group (SSG) document it is underlined that co-operatives are showing leadership by joining together to develop a co-operative solution to climate change.  CWCF member Sustainability Solutions Group (SSG) has put out a call to action to engage cooperatives in climate change activities, including in their publication “A Co-operative Solution to Climate Change”: 

“Co-operatives represent something special for the climate change challenge. It is a combination of experience and a proven track record, resilience, an unrelenting dedication to universal values, the ability to achieve multiple outcomes at once, and flexibility and versatility.”[1]

The concept of sustainability is embedded within the seven co-operative principles.  By their nature, co-operatives put societal and member concerns ahead of short-term profit.

CWCF recently adopted a Statement on Climate Change[2] which begins as follows:

“From November 30 to December 11, 2015, the nations of the world will come together in Paris, France to negotiate a global treaty on climate change. The Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation (CWCF) is an organisation representing worker co-operatives across Canada, and Principle 7 of the Co-operative Principles states that “Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members”.  Climate change unequivocally threatens not only sustainable development, but the survival of millions of people around the world through undermining food security, extreme weather events, sea level rise, ocean acidification and other impacts. CWCF is therefore mandated on behalf of our members to advocate for meaningful action on climate change according to the co-operative values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In so doing, CWCF joins a diverse and growing movement within society.

To this end, CWCF calls for an agreement in Paris that includes the following elements:

Commitment to 100% renewable future by 2050: In order to stabilise the climate at safe levels as called for by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the world needs to transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy by 2050[3]. This also means that more than 2/3 of all present commercially viable fossil fuel reserves will need to stay in the ground[4].  …” 

The Pathway to Paris, co-organized by SSG, is a collection of artists, activists, academics, musicians, politicians, and innovators coming together to make their voices heard in the context of the UN climate talks in Paris in December 2015.  SSG has been participating in the UN climate negotiations for several years, and the meeting in Paris this December is a unique opportunity to agree upon a coordinated international response to climate change. The meeting is unique because of a coalescing of acknowledgement by heads of state, particularly China and the US, that substantive action is urgent.

Many Worker Co-operatives in Canada in addition to SSG are working towards sustainability and climate justice, including the following:  

  •  Forêt d’Arden is a worker cooperative in Quebec, which provides education about the environment.
  • EnerGreen Builders Co-operative located in New Brunswick, is committed to building and maintaining high quality sustainable buildings and they endeavour to use environmentally friendly building materials and practices.
  •  Aster Group Environmental Services, also in New Brunswick, is a worker co-operative that delivers environmental consulting services.
  •  The Fourth Pig, a worker cooperative in Ontario, is a construction company that doeshome and commercial renovations and building. Their work is based on natural and green building techniques and materials. 
  • Vancouver Renewable Energy Co-op (VREC) sells, installs and provides consulting services for renewable energy systems in British Columbia.
  •  Natural Cycle Worker Co-op Limited is a group of enterprises, located in Manitoba, Canada focused on human-powered transportation.  They have four worker co-operative members including a courier business, a bike shop, a fabrication company and a distribution company.
  • Urbane Cyclist Workers Co-op is a bike shop located in downtown Toronto that includes retail and service. Urbane Cyclist supports all pedal-powered cycling and their shop services all kinds of bicycles.
  •  Old Town Glassworks in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories is a community of workers and artists who create hand-crafted glassware from recycled bottles.
  • Urban Eatin’ Landscapes, located in Manitoba, transforms underutilized space into beautiful edible landscapes. 
  • Tourne-Sol Co-operative Farm, in rural Quebec, is a farming cooperative that is committed to producing the highest quality organic products in the most sustainable ways possible to nourish our local community and enrich the landscape.

Yuill Hebert of SSG noted that, “Cooperatives are very active around the world in addressing climate change; from renewable energy cooperatives to car sharing, from low-carbon housing to providing critical financing but certainly they can do more, much more. The unique value proposition is that cooperatives, unlike many other models of enterprise, can enable the transition to a fossil fuel-free society while combating inequality, enhancing democracy and ensuring local involvement and control, thus simultaneously achieving different aspects of the sustainable development goals- a win-win-win solution. If we attempt to solve climate change with unrestrained capitalism, the result may be reduced emissions, but there are also other social and economic problems that must then be addressed.” 

Co-operatives in Canada and elsewhere are already implementing sustainable business practices and services.  CWCF urges all co-operatives to get involved in working together to address climate change.  This can be done by adopting a Climate Change Statement, advocating with governments, creating climate-related policies, participating in Pathways to Paris or similar activities, implementing more sustainable business practices and services and collaborating to encourage other co-operatives, community organizations, and businesses to address climate change issues

The Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation (CWCF) is a national, bilingual grassroots membership organization of and for worker co-operatives, related types of co-operatives (multi-stakeholder co-ops and worker-shareholder co-ops), and organizations that support the growth and development of worker cooperatives.  CWCF’s e-newsletter is available free of charge to anyone with an e-mail address and an interest in worker co-operative developments in Canada.

By Kaye Grant, CWCF
Image from Sustainability Solutions Group

See our report: “A Cooperative Solution to Climate Change”

December concert tickets on sale

— FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE —

“PATHWAY TO PARIS” TICKETS ON SALE FOR FINAL CONCERT EVENT AT LE TRIANON, PARIS, DECEMBER 4th 2015 WITH THOM YORKE, PATTI SMITH, FLEA, BILL MCKIBBEN, NAOMI KLEIN, VANDANA SHIVA, JANE FONDA AND MANY MORE

Pathway to Paris is an initiative in partnership with 350.org that brings together musicians, artists, activists, academics, politicians and innovators to participate in a series of events and dialogues to help raise consciousness around the urgency of climate action and the importance of establishing an ambitious, global, legally binding agreement at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December 2015.

Co-founded by musicians Jesse Paris Smith and Rebecca Foon, Pathway to Paris kicked off with an intimate evening of music and speakers at Le Poisson Rouge immediately following the People’s Climate March in New York City in September 2014, with a series of similar events unfolding in New York and Montreal over the ensuing year. The final Pathway to Paris concert will take place December 4th 2015 in Paris and will include the musicians and speakers listed below (among others still to be announced):

PATHWAY TO PARIS December 4th 2015

Le Trianon, Paris FR

BILL MCKIBBEN • NAOMI KLEIN • VANDANA SHIVA

PATTI SMITH • THOM YORKE • FLEA • DHANI HARRISON • JANE FONDA
TENZIN CHOEGYAL • JESSE PARIS SMITH • REBECCA FOON

Doors: 18:30 Show: 19:30

Tickets are on sale now!

www.pathwaytoparis.com

For ticket info and to book them follow this link to FNAC

All participants donate their time, skills and talents; while the primary aim of P2P is consciousness-raising and call-to-action, the events also raise funds, with all proceeds going to 350.org. Supported by Ben & Jerry’s, Pathway to Paris is a collaboration with 350.org, with additional support from Tree Laboratory, Sustainability Solutions Group, Modo Yoga NYC and The Flux.

For more information:

Production and French media requests: Alain Lahana pathway.to.paris@gmail.com

Coordination and interview requests: Rebecca Foon rebecca@ssg.coop

Communication related to 350.org: Jamie Henn jamie@350.org

www.pathwaytoparis.com

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The pressure mounts with 87 days to go until #COP21

A biweekly climate briefing for municipalities

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In this Issue #15

  • A UN meeting in Bonn with [mostly] hopeful results
  • Country commitments are falling way short of expectations
  • Under 1.5C is cheaper than high carbon business
  • Islamic scholars follow the lead of Pope Francis II
  • Overcoming the gap: is the solution in non-state actors?
  • News from other networks
  • Featured network: Compact of States and Regions

 

On the road to Paris; a UN meeting in Bonn with [mostly] hopeful results

Negotiators met in Bonn this week to continue narrowing in on the elements of the Paris agreement, with nation states putting forward their preferences for a formal agreement. A series of high level meetings will follow where ministers seek to overcome a number of roadblocks. On the sidelines, campaigners joined climate vulnerable countries to ask to prioritise the loss & damage sections of the agreement that provide compensation to countries which experience the impacts of climate change, for example those who are displaced. Many developed countries have opposed the loss and damage mechanism but the discussions are increasingly constructive. The general tone as a result of the Bonn meetings is hopeful for a meaningful agreement in Paris. For a detailed review, see this press conference. Similarly, if you wish to see more and catch up with other webinars and ongoing, see this page for recordings.

Read more

SSG Newswire June 2015: How does our work at the provincial level affect the bigger picture?

A monthly newsletter on news and inspiration at the nexus of sustainability

[Recently completed]

Future Oxford: our plan is endorsed by Council

“Community’s vision for its future emphasizes education and creativity, a growing sustainable economy, and environmental leadership”.

A year and a day after the Community Sustainability Plan Steering Committee was announced, the final draft of Oxford’s first Community Sustainability Plan was tabled and endorsed at County Council last week. We have worked with them and our partners InDeco since 2014 in a thorough and ambitious public engagement process. Online, this included a website futureoxford.ca (http://www.futureoxford.ca/) and related social media tools and offline, World Cafe’s and a competition for community members and students to envision Oxford County life in 2030, using video, artwork or writing. They also recently gained attention for their aspirational target to be 100% renewable by 2050! Read more