About Us

[toggles class=”blue_style” t1=”Welcome to Canada Conserves” t2=”Phase One: Research (completed)” t3=”Phase Two: Action” t4=”Phase Three: Transformation”]

[t1]greenarrowtextCanada Conserves is an initiative to build a common voice across Canada that says conservation – living better with less – can be the foundation for a completely new way of looking at society, economics, and governance.

We believe a better future for Canada is possible, but only if we focus on solutions that help us live better with less – solutions that save us money, create local jobs, and improve our communities and quality of life.

We believe it is time to focus on the future we want.


In 2012, we started out on an ambitious agenda – to be a catalyst for the next wave in environmental and sustainability leadership.

The project was initiated by Chris Winter, a 30 year veteran of the conservation movement in Ontario, backed up by an impressive advisory committee, and hosted as a collaborative project through Tides Canada.

Our research yielded interesting results:

  • The environmental, economic, and social trends are all negative, and they are interconnected.
  • Culture is at the root of both the problems and the solutions. We need to address the root causes in order to create a culture of change.
  • We can build deep cultural support by focusing on creating a better future for Canada via solutions that help people live better with less.
  • There is a  gap between environmental activism (lobbying for change) and empowerment (helping people to act). They are two separate movements when they should be one.
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Our last report in the research series, “Achieving the Future Canadians Want“, proposed a new approach based on a cycle of change and three major points of intervention: collaborative leadership, leading to major catalytic initiatives and community-based support for organic, voluntary change.  Policy empowers action which builds support for leadership.

Time now to shift to action.  “Achieving the Future Canadians Want” lists twenty ideas for action – from stronger support for community action to a national collaborative vision of the future we want.  These are common sense recommendations, but they also require commitment and leadership.

There are actions we can take now, and these have become Phase Two of the Canada Conserves initiative. The deeper, transformative initiatives become Phase Three of the initiative – a sign of a deeper commitment by our social, business, and political leaders to long-term sustainability in Canada.


Building a better long-term approach to sustainability is a team effort. We all need to look at the role we play in empowering  change. Here’s how we can help.

Consulting (governments, business, organizations)

Work with our project director or a team of advisors to develop new approaches.

Short term: If you need advice on how to integrate cultural sustainability into your organization strategy and programs, please drop us a line.  We can provide you with an overview of opportunities.

Medium to Long Term: we can help design overall strategies and programs to maximize success in supporting a voluntary transition and building deep cultural support.

Projects (Organizations)

Develop specific projects to build capacity for voluntary change.  Contact us for details.

Count Us In: As the federal and provincial governments draft new climate plans, it’s time for a campaign to promote plans that include people as part of the solution.

Community Action: help design a whole new level of community engagement, including community networks, community projects, public outreach, and social ventures. There’s a world of activity out there – what’s missing is the national campaign to integrate this activity as part of the transition to a sustainable future.  A national collaborative project would pick up on the ideas in “Achieving the Future Canadians Want“:

  1. Create community-based action plans
  2. Create a national community action network
  3. Host community town halls – the Future We Want
  4. Initiate national campaigns on signature issues
  5. Develop a national community ambassadors program
  6. Establish a National Green Corps
  7. Create a national green directory
  8. Create a national green leadership recognition program
  9. Create a national green card
  10. Create community innovation centres
  11. Create a national schools sustainability challenge
  12. Celebrate our Sesquicentennial

[/t3][t4]These are the high-level initiatives identified in “Achieving the Future Canadians Want“. They are beyond the immediate scope of this initiative and will require leadership from senior organizations in Canada.


  1. Create a national collaboration
  2. Craft a national vision
  3. Convene a national high-level conference on The Future Canadians Want
  4. Draft a national strategy: The Future Canadians Want
  5. Initiate campaigns to promote specific solutions

Catalytic Interventions

  1. Create Ministries of Environment and Sustainability
  2. Create government Future Funds
  3. Rethink charitable funding and fundraising