Views from the Edge

Welcome to the CRC blog, where we discuss bleeding edge issues around sustainable community development. The term ‘bleeding edge’ connotes the idea of our failure to somehow or other convince the publics about the urgency of responding to climate change now, and that we need to better communicate the principles and practises of sustainable development to the wider publics. So, yes it takes courage to be 'at the edge', and sometimes one 'bleeds' a lot, but let's start the conversation now. I encourage our students and former students to use this blog and share what they are learning out in the real world.   Ann

Indigenous Leadership

A new national survey shows nearly one fifth of the country's power is provided by facilities fully or partly owned and run by Indigenous communities. The author of the report, Chris Henderson, says the real surprise for him is the amount of employment that clean power is creating — 15,300 direct jobs for Indigenous workers who have earned $842 million in employment income in the last eight years. There are now 152 medium to large renewable energy projects with Indigenous involvement. That's up from approximately 20 projects in 2008.

Six trends shaping city life

70% of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050, what the former premier of British Columbia, Mike Harcourt, refers to as the urban tsunami. Clearly, the design and re-design of our cities for greater sustainability is critically important. Key questions like what is the optimal density, can we re-introduce biodiversity and food hubs integrally into our daily lives, and many others will determine our collective liveability?

Gibbons Park Montessori School Food Forest Project

Blog by Joanna Chin, Doctoral Student, York University-Environmental Studies

Changing the Frame

Continuing the conversation, this is a very enlightening short video about a National Geographic photographer and a ‘deadly predator’.  The language we use and how we frame the issue, as foe or friend, determines whether or not we have a relationship or not.

Language and Framing

Our research shows again and again how important framing an issue is, and even more importantly, it has the power to disempower or empower people. Those communities who are farther along in implementing climate innovations initially framed the issues to politicians as energy efficiency and once those benefits were demonstrated, then moved on to the larger sustainability lens. Similarly, the language we use to describe the environment and our impacts on that environment are equally powerful.

Coding Endangered Species

As digital literacy becomes a key skill of the 21st century, more and more classrooms are integrating coding lessons into their curriculum. As a result, many children are now learning how to read and write while practicing HTML and CSS.

Eliminate Fossil Fuel Subsidies

Moving towards a carbon neutral economy requires a first major step to open up space for even more climate innovations. This article argues that world leaders should stop directing some $600 billion a year to fund fossil fuel subsidies instead to renewable sources and speeding even great take-up of innovation.

The Beauty of Trees

Last summer, University of Utah biologist Nalini Nadkarni fell out of a tree. One of the world’s most knowledgeable experts on trees, this short film is captivating. The benefits of trees to human vitality are manifold--from absorbing carbon to mental health benefits. And people on streets with on average ten trees rated their health comparable to an increase in annual income of $10,000 (The Guardian, July 10, 2015). 

Nature Needs Half

I try to blog most of the time on the amazing innovations and ideas that are happening on the ground in Canada and internationally. This movement, led by Harvey Locke, is a simple and yet very elegant idea, namely that Nature Needs Half.

Expanding the Political Imagination

This blog by Alex Himelfarb, a former clerk of the Privy Council, is a thoughtful analysis of the drivers behind the recent election to the South. He mentions the need to transform government, and this is one of the things my research team is studying, what we mean by transformative change versus incremental and transitional change.