Anyone who thinks Vancouver is quite green enough thank you very much had better hang on. We ain’t seen the half of it. But that means more green jobs and a better economic outlook in the long term.

So says Sadhu Johnston, Vancouver’s Deputy City Manager, at a presentation put on by the Board of Change September 14th.

It was part of his launch of the city’s ‘Talk Green To Us’ campaign, which asks residents to submit suggestions for how Vancouver can meet its goal of being the ‘Greenest City In The World’ by 2020. By some standards we are already getting there, reports Johnston.

“As a city we have already reduced our C02 emissions to pre-1990 levels” he says, “while supporting an 18% increase in jobs.” This, Johnston claims, puts to rest the idea that we have to choose between jobs and the environment. He even went so far as to elaborate specifically on the groups and sectors where the city wants to support job creation. (For more on this, see the video clip above)

So what else is the city doing to reach our greenest goals? Focusing on cycling is one direction. “Cars are no longer the priority” Johnston states unequivocally. “We need to get the cyclists who are not comfortable in Spandex… The 66% who say they are interested but afraid.” To this end, Johnston supports the new separated bike lane on Hornby St, but knows it faces challenges. He made it a point to ask the crowd of businesspeople to show their support with letters and emails to City Hall.

The admittedly green crowd then peppered Johnston with challenges and opportunities in waste diversion, muni/provincial politics, and small business support.

For my part, I commented that their definition of ‘small & medium business’ as those with 500 or less employees, left something to be desired for the majority of city businesses who probably have less than 10 employees. (On a side note, Maureen Cureton from Vancity Community Investment later emailed me with some info on ClimateSmart programs for smaller businesses… but more on that later)

Johnston encouraged everyone to submit ideas to, and vote for those they feel most strongly about. For my part, I officially submitted my ‘Green Capitalist’ suggestion (Green Briefs Blog, Nov 6th) so feel free to vote early and vote often.

The Green Briefs 2 Bits:
Talk Green To Us is a good idea, with nice branding. It may be one too many brands for the public to absorb, however. What would have been wrong with extending the Green Capital brand for more consistency and participaton? ‘Green Capital Ideas’ for instance, would link the local initiatives with our global Vancouver brand.

green cementThe visual of the cement mixer spreading foliage is very well crafted and engaging, but may paint the real issues and challenges a bit lightly. Sadhu Johnston’s presentation style and personality are strong, and an asset to the city’s brand. I would like to have seen him on the video. Overall a good campaign IMHO. I look forward to seeing how they follow it up, especially with those of us who took the time to Talk Green To Them.

By the way, if you like this kind of Green Business Model thinking, you should consider joining the Board of Change. Their events are inspiring for greenies and capitalist weenies alike.

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