I'm back from Globe 2006 conference. Frankly, looking back at the previous post, I wish I had taken the time to post my summaries at the end of each day, instead of just the first. I feel a little overwhelmed by the huge amount of information I heard and read.
What I would like to do here is to give a broad overview of what I think, at this point, might be the broad takeaways for a possible environmental strategy for Kamloops. But first, here is the complete seminars I attended:
- Corporate Sustainablility Plenary: Leading the Sustainability Economy
- Balancing Regulation and Profit: Developers and the Planning Department
- Innovative Financing for Sustainable Infrastructure
- Green Procurement Policy: Settting Parameters for Change
- Energy and Environment Plenary: Transitioning to a Low Carbon Economy
- Municipal Governance in Action: Making Daily Decisions with Sustainable Goals
- Partnering for Sustainable Economic Development: Lessons Learned
- From Green Buildings to Equitable Neighborhoods: The Space Between Buildings
- Sustainability Cities Breakfast
- Urban Plenary: Bridging to the World Urban Forum and the 2010 Olympics
- Creative Financing for Brownfield Development
Here's my broad level overview of possible takeaways:
The global business leaders who spoke at Globe 2006 - leaders of British Petroleum, Dow Chemicals, Swiss Re Insurance, and Honda - all echoed the point that climate change, global warming, and resource depletion are massive problems. And they all claim to be proactively working to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.
Cities, across the world, are also taking leadership roles in being part of the solution. As well as being environmentally sensitive, there is very likely strong money saving and, in fact, revenue generation opportunities for cities in being more green. Vancouver, for example, is creating a "sustainability precinct" that will be heated by sewer heat and that is actually forecasted to generate surplus energy that the city will be able to sell. Chicago has saved hundreds of thousands dollars by installing solar panels on city facilities. And Richmond has saved thousands by tunings its ice refrigeration systems in it's arenas.
The University of British Columbia is leading provincial efforts to show that green building techniques (also known in the "biz" as LEED certified) can be employed for the same or even for less cost as conventional building techniques. In the US, cities like Chicago have offered expedited building permit processing to green building projects.
Various cities are also working to decrease the environmental footprint of their own operations. Goals like zero waste and strong anti idling policies were mentioned. Vancouver has embarked on a extensive public education campaign to get Vancouverites to live more in concert with the planet - onedayvancouver.ca.
If you don't like the term "green", you can use a more an all encompassing "sustainability". If you don't like the term "sustainability", you might even use the even more all encompassing term "common sense". The Resort Municipality of Whistler has incorporated common sense principles into its whole philosophy - an example of which is the creation of affordable housing for those working in the resort, thus creating vibrant year round neighborhoods and less green house gas emissions from car travel.
I consider my thoughts very much a work in progress. If you have any thoughts, please email me or leave a comment below.