Yearly Archives: 2008

A Poverty Reduction Plan for BC

Despite having a strong economy for the last decade, British Columbia has the highest poverty rates in the country. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) has laid out a Poverty Reduction Plan that would reduce poverty in the province by one third after four years and eliminate street homelessness within 5 years. The plan calls for action in 7 key READ MORE

Growing Canada’s Economy While Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

A preliminary report released by the Pembina Institute and David Suzuki Foundation has shown that by following the science-based model of reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 25% below 1990 levels, Canada can still expect economic growth of 20% over the next decade.The report is based on research by M.K. Jaccard and Associates using an economic READ MORE

Through the Green Glass

“Through the Green Glass: Climate Change Tools for Education Leaders” is the third volume in the Columbia Institute’s Going for Green series. This collection of presentations is based on a conference held in January 2008 that brought together over 20 experts to speak on a variety of education-related sustainability issues. In this book you will READ MORE

Majority of Canadians Believe Governmnet Should Act to Reduce Poverty Levels in Canada

According to a recent poll conducted by Environics Research for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives ( CCPA) , an overwhelming majority of Canadians believe action should be taken by all levels of governmnet to reduce poverty levels. Among the key Findings • Above all, Canadians believe now is the time for action: 77% say that in a recession, it’s more important READ MORE

11 Ways to Create Affordable Housing in Vancouver

Author and developer Howard Rotberg’s new book Exploring Vancouverism: The Political Culture of Canada’s Lotus Land (Mantua Books) offers 11 key steps in creating affordable housing. Many of these strategies have been employed to great success in other provinces, most notable Ontario. Some of the key steps include: levying a business tax on unoccupied condo READ MORE

BC Government Announces Green Games for Schools

Shirly Bond, BC’s minister of education has just announced a new environmental school initiative. Individual students or groups of students are being offered prize money if they can design and implement school-based brojects that benefit the environment. The Government has so far commited $160,000 to the Green Games .The prizes are available to grades k-12 and are READ MORE

Candian Centre for Policy Alternatives Reports on Livable Wage for Metro Vancouver and Victoria

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) has just released a living wage calculation that includes “basic expenses for a two-earner family with two young children (such as housing, childcare, food and transportation), and government taxes, credits, deductions and subsidies. It finds that each parent would need to work full-time at an hourly wage of $16.74 READ MORE

Berkely CA May Allow Homeowners to Pay for Solar Energy Sytsems Through Property Taxes

In 2006, Berkley California passed "Measure G,"mandating the city to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 80%. In order to meet this ambitious target the city has adopted several innovative approaches to reducing emissions. Tomorrow council will vote on a plan to allow homeowners to pay for solar energy conversions for their homes through property READ MORE

Campus Report: Disappearing Water Fountains

As more municipalities consider banning bottled water from municipal facilities, Canadian university and college campuses are moving in the opposite direction. A new report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) titled “Corporate Initiatives on Campus: A Snapshot” reveals that since the implementation of beverage exclusivity contracts with Coke and Pepsi, drinking fountains are on the decline.

California on the Verge of Passing Smart Growth Bill

A new bill has been introduced in the California legislature that establishes "Smart Growth" as a key strategy in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The bill would require regions throughout the state to adopt a "sustainable community strategy" to encourage compact development. In return, the state would lighten beuracratic red tape and ease up zoning regulations, but the READ MORE

Ontario Farmers Receive a $400,000 Grant From the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation

In Febraury 2005, Ontario’s provincial government designated 1.8 million acres protected greenspace. Called the Greenbelt, this area encompasses some of the richest farmeland and natural habitat in Canada. This week, a new development will help secure a legacy of sustainable farming for the area. The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation awarded local farmers a $400,000 grant to diversify READ MORE

Carbon Disclosure Project

ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability) and the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is teaming up with 30 large American cities, including New York City, Las Vegas, New Orleans, and Denver, to help them voluntarily report GHG emissions and other climate data. The cities will use ICLEI’s Local Government Operations Protocol and software tools to assess their GHG emissions from fire, ambulance, and police services, READ MORE

San Francisco to Mandate Businesses Promote Transit to Employees

San Francisco is considering a proposal that would require businesses with more than 20 employees to provide commuting alternatives to the personal vehicle. The move is an attempt to reduce air pollution in San Francisco as well as reduce GHG emissions in the city. Under the new law, businesses would be given three options to READ MORE

4 Day School Week for Rural American Students

Many rural school districts across the U.S. are considering switching to a 4-day week mainly to save on transportation costs. 100 schools in 16 states have already made the switch. One school district reports saving $65,000 on transportation alone. Other districts report better student performance and improved school attendance. Read an article about the switch over .

Climate Change Challenges Municipal Infrastructure

The number of severe storms and occurences of unusual weather in Canada and the United States is increasing, which is weakening municipal infrastructure such as sewage systems. Extreme weather events are making some areas more prone to chronic flooding and sewage backups because of more extreme storm events driven by climate change. This article in the Vancouver READ MORE

Happiness Linked to Sustainability

The New Economics Foundation has released its latest Happy Planet Index , which shows the relative efficiency with which nations convert their natural resources into long and happy lives for their citizens. The more efficiently they do this, the better the score. The top 6 scorers on the Index (in order) are: Vanuatu, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Panama, READ MORE

International Local Government GHG Emissions Analysis Protocol

Since November 2007, ICLEI has been working with many organizations including the UN Environmental Program, the International Energy Agency, FCM and ICLE cities and stakeholders, to develop an easily implemented set of guidelines to assist local governments in quantifying GHG emissions from their internal operations and from their community as a whole. The document consists READ MORE

Human Rights and Affordable Housing in Ontario

Report on the Consultation on Human Rights and Rental Housing in Ontario was released by the Ontario Human Rights Commission in mid-June 2008. The report finds that all levels of government, as well as public and private sector landlors, discriminate against immigrants, refugees, single parents, the disabled, aboriginals, and the mentally ill. Such discriminating acts READ MORE

Slower Economic Growth for Canada’s Small & Mid-Sized Cities

The Conference Board of Canada has released its Summer 2008 Metropolitan Outlook, a ranking of the economies of small and mid-sized census metropolitan areas (CMAs). The report finds that all small and mid-sized CMAs except Thunder Bay and Saguenay will experience slower growth this year. The cause for the economic slowdown is blamed on the READ MORE

Plastic Bag Reduction Strategy in Fremantle, Australia

In 2004, the City of Fremantle, Australia (population 26,000) adopted a strategy aimed at drastically reducing the use of plastic bags, which the city has made available on its website. The Strategy to Achieve a Plastic Bag Free City includes a timeline, tools to achieve its goals (ie. education programs, reusable bag alternatives, branding of the campaign), plan of action, and budget. A useful READ MORE