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What Comes Naturally: Putting a Face on Sustainability in Canmore

The opening of Canmore's sustainability photo exhibit / community celebration - What Comes Naturally - was held Wednesday evening (February 18th) at the Town Civic Centre. I wish you all could have been there for it.  The show comprises 31 large, colourful photographs and hanging banners distributed from one end of the Civic Centre to the other, and features dozens of Canmorites who are working to make their home a more sustainable place on the planet.

Ontario Champions Gather in Markham

In early January 2009, decision makers and sustainability champions convened in Markham, Ontario to hear Whistler, BC Mayor Ken Melamed share his lessons learned on the road to community sustainability and discuss Whistler’s plans to host the most sustainable Olympics in history.

Using The Natural Step Framework, Whistler created an award-winning integrated community sustainability plan, Whistler2020. The planning process engaged citizens in creating a vision for the community and identified the individual steps that would be needed to move Whistler towards its vision. Whistler expects to realistically wean itself off fossil fuels by 2060, increase food safety through more local and sustainable purchasing, and continue to provide adequate affordable housing for its citizens, among many other initiatives.

Corporate Knights Sustainable Cities Rankings

With our global economy in crisis, increasing food shortages in the developing world and reports of unprecedented ecosystem decline around the planet, it’s easy to feel disillusioned with the state of world. However, when we look closer to home there are indications that change is afoot.

Corporate Knights, an independent Canadian-based media company, conducts annual sustainability assessments of small, medium and large cities across the country. They choose indicators to measure the socio-ecological and economic wellbeing of cities by using publically available data and sending surveys out to municipal staff.

This year, in an effort to improve their rankings, they invited The Natural Step Canada (TNS) to participate on an advisory committee. As lead advisor, TNS researched how Corporate Knights could apply systems thinking and backcasting to help define success and strategically inform their indicator selection.

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