For the Sports Fans

I am NOT a sports fan.  Let’s just get that out of the way now.

I love the concept of sports: health, friendly competition, self improvement. I even like to watch the occasional match of almost anything (UFC and probably cricket excluded). I cycle nearly every day (though won’t be caught in fancy branded spandex). I have even lent myself to coaching mini minors soccer and baseball, and to being laughed at on a court/field/pitch for adult purposes occasionally.

However, don’t ask me to recite team names and associated locations or playbook rules.

At most, I could describe a sports figure scandal or two.

My aversion to sports has developed slowly over the last 10 years from watching some people around me lose sight of more important things and sit on the couch for more hours than (in my opinion) are reasonable.

And then there is the “opiate of the masses” concept, in which my field of sustainability, sports has been a detractor from more important things… like rallying around car share coops and community gardens. *Sigh.

But the push for sustainability is slowly being outweighed by the pull. 

Organizations of every size, type and objective are existing on the same planet, in the same human  society myself and friends are trying to save. The truth is, if your clients need mobility, to eat and to have a disposable income, they will need a low carbon and climate resilient community/economy/society.

So join the team. The Green Sports Alliance team.

The Green Sports Alliance is a non-profit organization with a mission to help sports teams, venues and leagues enhance their environmental performance. Alliance members represent over 170 sports teams and venues from 15 different sports leagues.

We’re talking carbon neutral games, partnerships with transit authorities, and competition crushing waste management strategies. *the crowd goes wild*

Here’s the call to action

Friends of mine are organizing a conference (September 26-27, Vancouver) to facilitate peer-based learning about greening sports operations (facilities, teams, matches). If you fit this profile:

  • Athletic directors, administrators, sustainability officers, researchers, recreational programmers, facility managers
  • Professional sport teams, sport venues owners, amateur sport bodies, government and non-government sport organizations, sustainability organizations

Or know someone that does, check out “Think Tank 3 – Sports & Sustainability: Universities as agents of change

If you are a sports team representative of any kind:

 If you work in the world of sports, please join us to share your insights and learn valuable strategies that will accelerate the environmental evolution of professional and collegiate sports.

And for the sports fans:

  • Make your home based sports watching energy efficient
  • Take transit/cycle to live games.
  • Find a local sports team to join/watch and spend your time cheering on your community members.

Go greenies go!


Sea Level Rise in #yyj: what will it look like?


Gorge waterway rising

Gorge at Admirals1 | Flickr – Photo Sharing!.

Consider this a teaser… as the King Tide Photo Initiative is gearing up for the coming high water/storm season on the Pacific Coast of North America!

BC was the first jurisdiction in in North America to take on this initiative where citizens visit their favourite coastal hangouts during extreme high tide events and take pictures. We encourage people to load these images, as creative commons, to flickr. The end result is a gallery of�fantastically�horrifying images of pending continuous coastal flooding… and geo-tagged references for local governments to take note of where they might want to put some taxpayer dollars.

That’s right. Your dollars. Its one thing to lose your favourite beach. Another to watch your property taxes go up as a result of skyrocketing infrastructure costs in your municipality.

To finish on a positive note, its a fun and exciting time on the coast and a good opportunity to flex your point and shoot muscles!

Stay tuned for more on how to participate!

via Sea Level Rise in #yyj: what will it look like?.

Building Sustainable Communities Conference: closing thoughts & thanks

Wow. Where do I even start. I suppose I should just express some gratitude for a full size keyboard after tweeting my finger tips off the last four days from my iPhone! (Find the crowd-sourced micro-blog here.)

This last day kicked off with a keynote by Peter Comrie of Full Spectrum Leadership, who appropriately used our supremely heroic and passionate conference organizer, Joanne de Vries, as an example of someone who is taking full responsibility for her life’s experience and impacts. Joanne is someone who asks “what more can I lovingly contribute?”  We could all stand to be a lot more like Joanne.

My favourite quote Peter provided went something like:

In times of change learners will inherit Earth, while the knowers will find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.

– Eric Hoffer

This plainly strikes me as beautiful. Perhaps because I consider myself a learner, and it feels like a pat on the back… but also because it summarizes the imperative that Dr. William Rees spoke to: that we must re-evaluate our current worldview and associated paradigm. That a reality where we can infinitely grow our economy, and derive ongoing well-being, does not exist.

Hard knocks, for sure. But us learners will get over it.

A very close second was along the lines of:

In the sands of time, one who sits idle will not leave footprints… and who wants to leave butt prints?

I spent the last couple years questioning my commitment to footprints, due to an influence of “knowers”. I let the judgement and expectations of people close to me steer me away from a passion and true sense of self…

I respect everyone’s right to their own world view (which does conflict at times with the urge to give a littering bigot a somewhat violent shake), but I feel compelled now to re-acquaint myself with mine. This conference gave me a fresh outlook on this.

I will not leave butt prints. I will take full responsibility for my life’s experience and impacts.

What makes me feel even better about this, is that I am not alone. The 5th BSC gave me the opportunity to admire a variety of footprints, of all shapes and sizes. I’ll share a few here in brief, and hopefully will find time soon to elaborate more on each in future blogs.

  • Midway.  I have a hard time typing that without a throat lump and tear.  Want to be one of the first to see the catalyst for a movement that will change the way we live every day?
  • Wes Kmet. This friendly Kelowna citizen shared with me his passion for holding his local government accountable. How does he do it? He gives away business card sized contact lists for all city council members… and encourages citizens to be responsible for their lives impacts 🙂
  • Youth need space. Eric Brown from Sustainable Cities International shared some insights for youth engagement. A striking irony for me: youth don’t have the funds to patronize commercial and other public spaces, so are driven out (“no loitering”), and forced into dark basements with video games… then criticized for it. Youth need safe public space!
  • Bus me there, Scotty. Public transit and active transport routes really are the future – for significant health, environmental and economic reasons. Lots of smart people working on this.
  • Sustainability needs a succession plan. There are variety of gaps in the workforce needed to deliver sustainability solutions.
  • Food security. It really is as critically important as I have been going on and on and on about for years. Next: to explore my potential contribution.

Okay, I really could go on… but it’s getting late. I think in closing, I’ll share a tweet stream of some random food security concerned tweeters that stumbled upon in the #5thBSC feed:


Looks like a good conference going on in Canada under #5thBSC Discussing food security, agriculture, sustainability, great topics
@shmeedieEdie Irons

.@NYFarmer Thanks for that! I’ve been looking for good Canadian food and farm tweeps to follow, and #5thBSC is a treasure trove.

@Schmeedie We hit the motherlode of info with #5thBSC Edie @arzeena @RealEstateFdn
To a new world waiting,

What I learned today at the #5thBSC

I spent today actively listening to ideas and experiences shared by people working on matters related to social well being, with a focus on culture and the arts. It really was a Fresh Outlook for me, as I typically hang with the climate science and carbon emissions crew. Admittedly, as a social scientist at heart, I felt very “at home” with the content shared by presenters and speakers. So much so, I didn’t take away very much new information. But I did gain perspective.

I distinctly noticed differences in the language, tone and orientation of the thoughts shared. This is healthy.

And so thinks my friend Stacy Barter of BC Healthy Communities, whom I shared this observation with. New perspectives, no matter how slight, lend new energy and possibility. It also forces us to step out our our jargon and bias.

I learned more than this today, but I think it is very key: I benefit every time I step out of my comfort or expertise zone.

And this is probably just an extension of the call for “more interdisciplinary efforts”, more “cross-pollination”, more “integration across sectors”… a trend in my work these days, and a key theme I hear emerging from the conference.

Aw, what the heck… I’ll share some of the other stuff I learned too.

As I wandered around and met with other sustainability practitioners I learned:

  • Qualicum Beach has a kick ass green team – and they are surprised to find out that they are quite ahead of other local governments in encouraging their staff to work on corporate GHG emissions reductions. Not only that, they are saving money hiring staff that are making their operations more efficient.
  • My heels are not as comfortable as I thought they were.
  • Climate Smart is working with some great companies to help them reduce emissions, environmental impact and to save money. They’ve got fun videos that tell the story of these businesses as well.
  • The BC Sustainable Energy Association delivers climate change workshops across BC to grade 4 and 7 classes. They are achieving measurable GHG reductions helping communities to reach their climate action targets!


Building Sustainable Communities: A conference for winners

I’m not really a big Charlie Sheen fan, but there is something to be said about #Winning… especially when you are surrounded by sustainability practitioners and advocates that are doing just that.

After the first day of the 5th Building Sustainable Communities conference, I can say that I’ve already been inspired by the “can do” mindset of some of the delegates.

Of course, this “can do” mindset also is backed up by the “must do” mindset – as was eloquently communicated by Bill Rees who key noted a session I was in.

He communicated the imperative for a transition to a new worldview that does not involve pretending we can continuously achieve economic growth without depleting earths resources to the point of disaster. Sad, but true: we have to change.

The rest of the day was spent hearing about ways and means for making that transition. And I expect to hear more on the coming days.

When I’m recovered from the travel, I’ll put some more time into sharing some key learnings and resources. In the mean time, if you attended BSC, and have something to add, please have at it in the comments box!


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