Are your new city councillors keen on community wellness for the long term? Do tell!

My afternoon was invigorated by a teleconference with sustainability leaders from the Okanagan region today. People who care about the well being of their community, including clean and livable cities, effective health care and a healthy environment and climate. And they are keen to do more than talk – they are convening for action.

Joanne de Vries was the convener. She is a well networked, highly respected leader whom I hear about in various circles of climate action around British Columbia. It’s no surprise why, when you get the chance to meet her. She is an attentive listener and she exudes a can-do spirit that could inspire the biggest cynic. (More about Joanne’s organization: Fresh Outlook Foundation).

Joanne is the kind of person you would want to see on your city council. Which leads to my real reason for writing today.

Across BC, new local government council members have been elected. I imagine that in some cases, these new appointments will be good for fostering a holistic approach to sustainability (social, economic and environmental). In other cases, the outlook may not be so great. For the rest, it may be too soon to tell.

I think for a council member to be effective, they must be able to lead others to support or take action. Leadership is earned when people decide to follow you on a path you believe is good for them, guided by a vision they believe in.

So if there is one piece of advice I may offer them, it is this: pay attention to the community sustainability  leaders. 

These are typically people that have a balanced approach to promoting action that leads to community well being. They are seasoned in appreciating the self interest of citizens (you have to be when you are focused on advancing the well being of all). Most of all, they don’t take their responsibility lightly: sustainability leaders are ethically driven to do the right thing for even others not like them (not something we can say for all elected members in various levels of government…).

Now, for those interested in convening for action, there is a simple way to ensure decision makers spend their time advancing down a path that will lead to well being in your community for the long term. Ask them:

  1. Are they in support of SMART Growth?
  2. Are they committed to the Climate Action Charter?
  3. What does citizen engagement look like to them?

If they don’t know what the heck you are talking about… send them to my blog. If they do, leave a comment and tell me who they are and I will be happy to personally send them a thank you note… they are making my job easier 🙂

To a new world waiting,



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