A blog focused on sustainable business issues and challenges

Archive for July, 2012

Building Environmental Awareness in Teens

July 24, 2012 | No Comments →

More than 300 teens enrolled in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program around the world will gather at the University of British Columbia (UBC) to consider how the landscape of environmental awareness is changing.

A five day conference, ‘The New Green: Making Things Better, Not Just Less Bad,’ organized by the IB and UBC, will be held at the university’s Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) from Monday, July 23 to Friday, July 27. The event is open to all students enrolled in the IB’s Diploma Program; over 300 participants from 37 countries are registered to attend.

The focus of the conference is ‘regeneration,’ sustainability strategies that go beyond harm-reduction and look to achieve actual improvement in environmental systems. The conference location, UBC’s Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) is one of the world’s greenest buildings and is sustainably designed to have a net-positive energy consumption impact on the environment.

Participants will hear from keynote speakers at the cutting edge of sustainability thinking, including CIRS Director, Dr. John Robinson, environmental activist, Severn Cullis-Suzuki, international philanthropist, John McCall McBain and National Geographic photographer, Paul Nicklen, as well as UBC students.

The students will have the opportunity to get involved themselves, by using advanced interactive technology to investigate different models for achieving regeneration around the globe. Feedback for their efforts will be excitingly immediate; the CIRS modeling technology is capable of running proposed solutions and playing them out in real-world conditions. If successful, this empowering simulation will show how today’s good decisions can lead to significant benefits tomorrow.

Twenty-one students won scholarships sponsored by donors through the auspices of the International Baccalaureate. A World Student Conference organized around the theme of social entrepreneurship was held earlier in July at IE University in Segovia, Spain.

IB World Student Conference Program: http://ibwsc2012.sites.olt.ubc.ca/program/ Twitter Hashtag: #IBWSC12

UNDP Equator Initiative Announces Equator Prize 2012 Winners

July 16, 2012 | No Comments →

The UNDP Equator Initiative’s 20120 Equator Prize recognizes 25 outstanding local initiatives that are working to advance sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities. Following an extensive¬†evaluation¬†process, the Equator Initiative’s Technical Advisory Committee selected 25 winners from a total pool of over 800 nominations from 113 countries.

Equator Prize 2012 winners were selected based on:

  • Impact: Initiatives that have improved community wellbeing and local livelihoods through sustainable natural resource management and/or environmental conservation of land based and/or marine resources.
  • Sustainability: Initiatives that can demonstrate enduring institutional, operational and financial sustainability over time.
  • Innovation and Transferability: Initiatives demonstrating new approaches that overcome prevailing constraints and offer knowledge, experience and lessons of potential relevance to other communities.
  • Leadership and Community Empowerment: Initiatives demonstrating leadership that has inspired action and change consistent with the vision of the Equator Initiative, including policy and/or institutional change, the empowerment of local people, and the community management of protected areas.
  • Empowerment of Women and Social Inclusion: Initiatives that promote the equality and empowerment of women and/or marginalized groups.
  • Resilience, Adaptability and Self-Sufficiency: Initiatives demonstrating adaptability to environmental, social and economic change, resilience in the face of external pressures, and improved capacity for local self-sufficiency.

The Equator Prize celebrates outstanding community efforts to reduce poverty through the conservation of biodiversity. As sustainable community initiatives take root throughout the tropics, they are laying the foundation for a global movement of local successes that are collectively making a significant contribution to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

For a complete list of winners, visit: http://equatorinitiative.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=684&Itemid=702

Four ‘C’s for Well-planned and Sustainable Urban Development

July 03, 2012 | No Comments →

Over 100 governors, mayors and top leaders from 98 cities and regions discussed challenges and innovative solutions to build liveable cities and foster harmonious communities at the World Cities Summit Mayors Forum (WCSMF). At the forum which was themed “Liveable and Sustainable Cities”, Chairperson of the Forum and Minister of State for National Development and Trade & Industry Mr Lee Yi Shyan highlighted the four ‘C’s as hallmarks of well planned and sustainable urban development:

- Courage to do the right things and take risks, sometimes against public opinion so as to build the foundations of a good city;

- Capacity of municipality and cities in terms of organisation, financial resources and competence;

- Continuity to ensure consistency of policy; and

- The need to engage the Community to engage residents and seek public support

City officials echoed Mr Lee’s sentiments about the importance of continuity of strategic plans and policies and the need to take a long term view. They also shared the need to involve all stakeholders such as government, civic organisations, academia and the private sector to discuss socio-economic issues in relation to transparency and trade-offs in the planning process. Compact cities, rather than sprawling cities, represent a good model for achieving economic growth, social inclusion and environmental sustainability as they promote connectivity and mobility. Lastly, officials agreed that community engagement is required to build trust between people and the government through feedback and ideas from residents.

To document the sharings and knowledge gleaned from the WCSMs, the Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC) has compiled a collection of member cities’ best practices into a publication titled “City Portraits”. City leaders who wish to continue remain in touch with their peers or solution providers after the Forum can do so via a new virtual network called “Connect@WCS”.