Can a Movement Reinvent Itself?

In 2012, after 30 years in the environmental and conservation movements, I stood back to take a look at the trends, where they might take us, and what we could do about it.
What I found was both disturbing (the downward trends and entrenched approaches) and encouraging (the creativity and organic change).

Out of it all has come new ideas, and a new initiative that may shape how we approach the biggest challenges that still lie ahead. Read on.

The Research (2012-14)

Stuff’s gonna happen
People will deal then adapt
Live better with less

The Next Wave, a 90 page research paper, documents disturbing environmental, economic trends but also shows how they are interconnected. Guaranteed, no one else has referenced Johnny Rotten in their analysis of the movement (p.5), or included a haiku summary, but the conclusions show that a new approach is needed if we are to stand a chance against the challenges that lie ahead.

There are many recommendations, but the key point is that we need to integrate social benefit into environmental solutions. Change is inevitable. We need to do our best to make sure it happens by choice, and not by crisis.

Global Travel (2014-15)

A year travelling with my family showed just how important culture can be, both in causing problems and in implementing solutions. It can be both the barrier and the opportunity. Through a series of articles for Alternatives, I probed the cultural connection to shaping a better future.

You can find the full series at Alternatives Magazine community blogs and the full travel blog here .

It turns out the answer is simple

If our culture (the way we respond to issues) is at the heart of both the problems and the solutions, can we foster a more positive conserver culture in Canada? Can we learn to live better with less?

The simple answer is to find solutions that improve our quality of life. Canada is a great place to live, and we all want to keep it that way -- great neighbourhoods, in great communities and a great country. Focus on the quality of our lives, and things fall into place. And suddenly, the environmental movement has new allies and tremendous strength when we look at solutions that will save people money, improve their communities, and create a better future for all Canadians.

A simple answer with huge ramifications for public policy, funding, and campaign strategies.

New Directions (2015)

Flowing directly from The Next Wave came a series of short papers that look at where we need to go next. In short, we need to combine climate action with social benefit. Turn the power of carbon pricing into the mechanism for creating the future we want instead of the future we fear.

The papers are on the Research page.

From research to action

This is where I think we can make a difference - by integrating social benefit into the our approach to fighting climate change.  With climate change, we have one last chance to do it right - to use carbon pricing as the means to create a better future.

I have created Climate Action Canada as a practical example of how we can link social benefit with environmental solutions. And I am also available to help organizations, companies, or governments improve their plans. Either way, it's time to act.


Climate Action

Help create the future we want. Get involved at Climate Action Canada.

Strengthen your action plan

Looking for help in designing climate programs and public engagement strategies? Drop me a line.