Climate Change

What is sustainability - some internet resouces

This is a list of some of the interesting websites focused on sustainability and ways both individuals and communities can measure their ecological foot print.

Federation of Canadian Municipalities provides a good beginning point into the field of ‘Ecological Footprint Analysis’ (EFA). It also provides links to other sites. The FCM have established ‘The Quality of Life Reporting System’ (QRLS) of which the EFA is one aspect. The purpose behind the QRLS is to “...bring a community based perspective to the development of public policy and to monitor the consequences of changing demographics, as well as shifting responsibilities and fiscal arrangements.”

Global Warming is a backgrounder on global warming, in effect it is a ‘climate change 101’ with good links.

Principles of Sustainability: A Compilation prepared by Brook University provides links to reports which discuss principles associated with sustainability. One of the reports (Ontario Round Table on the Environment and the Economy ORTEE) suggests the following principles: A sustainable community is one which: employs ecological decision making (e.g., integration of environmental criteria into all municipal / government and business decision-making processes); recognizes that growth occurs within some limits and is ultimately limited by the carrying capacity of the environment; uses renewable and reliable sources of energy; minimizes harm to the natural environment; fosters activities which use material in continuous cycles; values cultural diversity; makes best use of local efforts and resources (strives for local self-sufficiency and nurtures solutions at the local level); has respect for other life forms and supports biodiversity; does not compromise the sustainability of other communities (a geographic perspective); does not compromise the possibilities of future generations by its activities (a temporal perspective); has shared values amongst the members of the community (promoted through sustainability education).

The Global Footprint Network is an excellent resource site. The vision is to advance the use of the ecological footprint measure of our demand on nature.

Redefining Progress is an excellent starting point for general information about ecological footprints and gives access to other ecological footprint sources.

International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives , Local governments for Sustainability is a good source. It includes information about ecological footprint calculations and related publications. It also has information about what is happening around the world.

Earth Charter Initiative is an interactive site with a great deal of information on achieving sustainable conditions with an ethical foundation. The Earth Charter is a declaration of fundamental principles for building ‘a just, sustainable, and peaceful global society for the 21st century’.

The Earth Charter Initiative encourages endorsement of the Earth Charter as a starting point for further action toward a sustainable future.

City of Toronto is a window into all things sustainable in Toronto. It gives access the report “Snapshot of Sustainability 2001” which looks at sites and programmes in Canada and around the world about achieving sustainable conditions. This site is useful but somewhat dated. Currently (Spring 08) the City of Toronto is reviewing their sustainability effort.

Canada Green Building Council is a window into the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program on building design and development. The LEED program provides certification for projects meeting their requirements in the following areas: sustainable sites; water efficiency; energy and atmosphere; materials and resources; and indoor environmental quality.

Sustainable Measures is about indicators of a sustainable community. It has ways to measure how well a community is meeting the needs and expectations of its present and future members. One of the primary goals of the site is to explain what indicators are, how indicators relate to sustainability, how to identify good indicators of sustainability, and how indicators can be used to measure progress toward building a sustainable community. There are lists of indicators and training and resources to support the indicators and their use.

Affiliated with the Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability this up-to-date deals with the issues and trends shaping Canada’s health, economy and environment. There is a ‘News and Views’ section and one on ‘Measuring Sustainability’. It is a site worth visiting as it provides a portal into things sustainable in Canada including indicators and measurement. Also links to other sites.

Canadian Sustainability Indicators Network (CSIN) aims to accelerate progress toward sustainable development by furthering sustainability indicator best practices in Canada. Using CSIN tools and resources, Canadian sustainability indicator and reporting practitioners exchange ideas, data and methods, and circulate announcements. Based on a community of practice approach, new and experienced practitioners share lessons learned, and discuss relevant issues of theoretical, strategic, technical and practical importance.” This site also lists upcoming events on the subject.

Sustainable Community Indicators Program (SCIP) is an Internet-based reference guide to help communities and organizations develop indicators of sustainability and establish a sustainability indicators program.

Besides providing indicator development guidelines, the SCIP site provides tips, tutorials and examples of how you can produce indicator reports. It also provides templates that you can fill out to document your indicator program, as well as an model template you can use for an indicator report.

This is a joint project of Environment Canada, CMHC and Federation of Canadian Municipalities.