Big cities may reverse climate change
Meanwhile, in a giant leap forward, Calgary and Hamilton have elected more progressive mayors. Traditionally conservative Calgary elected Naheed Nenshi, a Harvard grad whose platform was based on limiting urban sprawl and environmental protection. Likewise, Hamilton’s new mayor, Bob Bratina, has maintained the reputation he gained as a city councillor for supporting urban core development by increasing downtown density. These developments leave many people asking if today’s underdogs could leave Toronto behind next year?
With so much at stake, should we be waiting for government to lead the way on sustainability? Our cities are taking initiatives to explore renewable energy and sustainability frameworks that are far beyond Canada’s anemic national commitments. Yet the uncertainty over Transit City is a good example of how even well-intentioned, longterm municipal projects are at the mercy of regime changes.
Indeed, Vancouver writer and consultant Sanjay Khanna, Corporate Knights' choice representative for social well-being, believes that resilience in the face of environmental collapse begins not in council, but deep within the self.
Our cities will need all kinds of innovation—especially the unconventional sort—if they are to come up with solutions that will allow them to grow sustainably in the long term. Cities are our most environmentally- friendly places to dwell, as well as our biggest cause of rampant consumption and waste. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With dedication and implementation, Canada’s cities can help resolve the urban paradox and make our urban metabolisms healthy.