Promoter of Community-based Sustainability
Started his early career in social and community work, while much of his later work focused on conservation. Worked with people at local, national and international levels. Putting this together, James developed a model for sustainability of urban-centred regions through involvement, individual initiative and sharing. This is being implemented through a non-profit organization. His objectives are to make sustainability accessible and universal in Ottawa, and to share this model with other cities.
Culture of Sustainability
Finding practical solutions to sustainability challenges and building resilience in different tracks require an adaptive social-environmental system embedded in the biosphere. The most effective way to produce this system is to create a culture of sustainability. This will prompt governments, businesses and community organizations to maximize their sustainability involvement. Ordinary people create culture, by living their lives, solving problems, and sharing information, historically and today. Cities must be the focus of sustainability efforts because of their environmental footprints, influence over long distances, and the needs of millions of city dwellers for healthy environments. Planning has produced impressive results in dozens of cities, but most of the world’s over 3000 cities do not have the resources or time to achieve sustainability through planning. Engagement of human capital can create a culture of sustainability. When a threshold of involvement is reached, this culture will grow automatically. The Biosphere Eco-City approach, tested in Ottawa for eight years, is a simple affordable approach to engage people in sustainability. It uses ten Themes that encompass all action areas for sustainability. Discussions on individual Themes, with diverse participants, can lead to solutions fostering innovation and resilience. Collectively Themes address the conference tracks of environment, biodiversity, energy and water. Four Biosphere Eco-City Tools engage people through understanding, involvement, innovation and sharing. Experience in Ottawa shows the Themes and Tools are easy to use and effective. This approach is available to anyone. Whatever method used, let’s create a culture of sustainability in our cities.