Yesterday was Canada Day and it got me to thinking about our neighbors to the north.
“I was only in Winnipeg for two days, and in a fairly isolated environment, so maybe I shouldn’t generalize my observations,” said my friend, Jason, who recently traveled there on business. “My biggest impression was that it isn’t much different than suburban Washington, DC. Philly is more of a culture shock.”
What did it look like?
“It was unremarkable, generic without much unique character, and spread out quite a bit with large expanses of open land, like between the road and commercial buildings. Maybe that’s so they have somewhere to pile the snow! It’s flat and a little marshy, with sandy soil and a lot of reeds growing in low spots. It reminded me a lot of the beach, actually.”
What about their sustainability quotient?
“They are much more environmentally and energy conscious than us, with recycling bins as plentiful as trash cans, dual flush toilets, and auto-off room lighting, and all the taxis are Priuses. I really liked that.”
Why, do you think, they are more environmentally and energy conscious than us?
“Maybe it’s becuase it’s so cold that they have to conserve energy more than us. Also, they are a bit more pragmatic and humble, less ostentatious in their thinking. In many ways Canada is probably more like Germany and England than the United States.”
A quick review of the literature seems to support Jason’s assertions.
In fact, Canadians participate in large numbers each year in Environment Week activities. One of the most popular components is the Commuter Challenge, a nation-wide event that promotes friendly competition among organizations and cities to see who can get the highest percentage of employees out of single occupancy vehicles and into healthier and cleaner modes of commuting such as walking, cycling, transit, carpooling, vanpooling and teleworking.
Greenest City 2020
Although it already has the smallest carbon footprint of any major city in North America, Vancouver has a new goal: to become the greenest city in 2020. Through a number of green programs focused on sustainability, eco-density, green homes, and more, Vancouver plans to continue on a path to becoming a leader in green building, planning, and technology.