Archive for October, 2015

En Route to Paris: From the Ground Up – How Small Businesses are Cutting Carbon and Growing the Economy

Guest blog by Elizabeth Sheehan, Founder and President, and Michelle Bonner, Vice President and Training Manager, Climate Smart

 

It’s official. Pretty much everyone and her sister is going to Paris.

 

Provincial leaders are already working to upstage one another at the forthcoming COP21 climate summit. Senior executives will be talking up their renewable energy leadership. Expect rock stars, rap stars, and a full-on media circus.

But one band of climate warriors will likely be staying at home here in Canada: the entrepreneurs who run small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) across the country. Instead, they’ll just keep on doing what they have learned to do—drive down carbon emissions across the value chain.

Here in British Columbia, where I live, these businesses constitute a stunning 98 percent of the province’s private sector, and employ more than one million people. The sector largely flies under the radar, but it’s arguably Canada’s true innovation engine. These companies are driven by passionate, committed entrepreneurs who know how to get things done and make things better.

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Does it matter if young people don’t vote?

Guest blog post by Caro Loutfi, Executive Director, Apathy is Boring

Disclaimer: the views expressed in the following blog are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Foundation. 

 

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Many of us are aware that 18-24 year olds in Canada are voting at the lowest rates, when compared to other age groups, during federal elections. We also know that this trend of youth-disengagement from the electoral process has been happening, and deepening, since the 60s.

What we might be less aware of is that not voting is shown to be habit forming. This means that if a young Canadian does not vote in the first two elections they are eligible to vote in, the likelihood is that they will not start voting later on in life. No mortgage or tuition bill will change that habit.

By losing first time voters, we are losing generations of Canadian voters for years to come. If the current trends continue, we will arrive at a situation in which routinely less than half of the Canadian electorate is voting.

Without electoral participation from Canadian citizens, we are putting into question the legitimacy of our democracy, and moreover the policies that are created by our democratic institutions.

What can we do about it?

The research is clear that face-to-face interactions are the most effective way of breaking down barriers that young and first-time voters may have when attempting to participate in the democratic process. While social media has provided a form of community that most youth engage with, it does not have the same impact as face-to-face engagement.

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En Route to Paris: Getting to an agreement to catalyze our economies’ transition toward decarbonization

 

Guest blog post by Hugo Séguin, Cérium Fellow and Senior Consultant, Copticom – Strategy and Public Relations.

Disclaimer: the views expressed in the following blog are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Foundation.

Climate issues have been at the heart of negotiations for over two decades now. It has been a long, difficult journey, rife with harsh disappointments. And yet, paradoxically, we can all agree on the essentials.

There is consensus on the urgency to act, on the goal to achieve (to keep the temperature rise below two degrees Celsius), on the importance to protect the most vulnerable countries from climate change, and on the need to decarbonize our economies and phase out fossil fuels, which constitute the leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions.

It is now time to distribute the work and the responsibilities. And again, therein lies the rub.

Most signs point to the signing of the Paris agreement. The two biggest producers of greenhouse gas emissions, China and the United States, are working together and have finally committed to decarbonization. Last July, the G-7 leaders set the goal of decarbonizing the world’s economy by the end of the century.

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Bringing WellAhead to Life: Launch Week in British Columbia

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Note: This piece was originally published on the WellAhead website. It has been posted here with permission from the author.

vani-authorIf you’ve been following the development of the WellAhead initiative, you’ve probably asked yourself the very reasonable question, “what will this actually look like?” We, too, have struggled at times to bring this concept – using a social innovation lab approach to integrating wellbeing into schools – to fruition. Thanks to a stellar team, some great advice from experts across the country, and incredible passion and interest on the ground, it has finally happened.

In July, we selected six BC communities to take part as pilot districts in the first year of WellAhead (out of a total of 41 applicants, representing 2/3 of all school districts in the province!). Since then, we’ve been working with these six districts – Alberni, Coquitlam, Nisga’a, Okanagan Skaha, Sea to Sky and Victoria – to take them through the first stages of the social innovation lab process. This process begins with “building the foundation” – examining data and hearing from stakeholders to understand the local context. In each district, we are working with a WellAhead Community Liaison and a Local Planning Team who are leading the process with support from the WellAhead team.

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