The Way We Green
JULY 30 | 2010 | 11:45 AM
Vital Engineering was invited to participate in the recent rounds of stakeholder consultation for the City of Edmonton's environmental strategic plan, "The Way We Green". Over the course of four workshops, Vital staff contributed to the vision of Edmonton as a sustainably operated city. The process was notable for the breadth of issues covered from urban agriculture, to transportation plans, zoning bylaws, alternative energy technology, governmental legislation and water quality, amongst others.
The City has committed to mapping out a progressive strategy that, "paints a picture of how we imagine our city will look in 2040... it is the way that the City's administration will work towards change and improvements to bring our City Vision to life." To shape that vision, the City involved world-class experts to write discussion papers for the stakeholder consultation workshops. Some of the topics covered are listed here, and all of the papers can be found on the City's website at: http://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/city_wide_initiatives/environmental-strategic-plan.aspx
Environmental Sustainability: What is a Sustainable City?, by Richard Heinberg, Post Carbon Institute
Food Security: Food Security for Edmonton: Is it really something we should care about?, by Becky Lipton, Lipton Research & Consulting
Alternative Energy Options & Priority Strategies for Edmonton: Greener Energy Opportunities & Priorities for the City of Edmonton, by Tim Weis, Pembina Institute
Transportation Systems that Promote Environmental Sustainability: Towards a Sustainable Transportation System, by Aryn Machell, City of Edmonton
In the video section of the website you can listen to lectures by some of the foremost thinkers in sustainability. Richard Heinberg is the Senior Fellow-in-Residence of the Post Carbon Institute and is widely regarded as one of the world's foremost Peak Oil educators. He says that, "fossil fuels are right at the core of many of our unsustainable practices as a society. Energy ,which is what fossil fuels give us, is the essence of life. Without energy we do not survive, nothing happens, but as we develop the ability to use fossil fuels, the scale of our energy consumption dramatically increased over, even100 years ago, when most of what we did in society was by harnessing muscle power...today the contribution of muscle power to our economy is virtually immeasurable it's so insignificant."
His point is not to suggest that fossil fuels are inherently evil, but that they allow such cheap access to energy that we are able to accomplish growth beyond what we can sustain within the naturally renewable cycles of the environment. The spin-off of this cheap access to energy is a shift in our idea of what a modern lifestyle entails. Thus the challenge to sustainability is to promote healthy, productive and enjoyable lifestyles that are not dependent upon fossil fuels. This requires a new way of accessing energy and using energy, so that we use less and use it in a smarter way (waste less).
The mandate of Vital Engineering is to be a leader in this way of thinking. We are challenging the status-quo of engineering practices in the design and operation of our workplaces, residences, and gathering places.
We recently began promoting this cutting edge mix of services through the release of, "Help Change the World" -a Vital Engineering video production, narrated by Tricia Helfer. You can find the video on our website, and also as a feature in this newsletter. We invite you to watch it and become inspired by our vision of an approach to striking a balance in our way of life; between economic stability and environmental sustainability.