This Week In…..April 13, 2018

Sustainable Cities/Rainwater Management

Depave paradise, a program of Green Communities Canada has received, $740,000 over 36 months from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to depave 36 sites across the province. Depave Paradise engages local volunteers to tear up unwanted pavement and replace it

Hardy perrenial species grow in a ditch designed to slow down stormwater runnoff next to a busy residential street.
An example of a rain garden installed beside Sunnyside Ave in Ottawa.

with gardens planted with native species. In addition to creating green space, depaving helps restore the urban water cycle and reduce runoff pollution. “This Grow Grant funding allows us to build on the proven success of this program,” says GCC Director of Water Programs Sharyn Inward.

Depaving projects such as these not only create oases for native plant species within urban environments while helping manage storm water, they also increase biodiversity of all the species that rely on native plants, beautify urban spaces, and reduce urban heat island effects.

Recycling

Sustainable Brands , a global community of sustainable business innovators, released a feature on how recycling contamination is costing Canadian municipalities and taxpayers millions of dollars. “Put simply, we are recycling wrong,” summarizes author Hannah Furlong in the piece.

In addition many municipalities struggle to find markets for collected recyclables – demonstrating once again that reducing really is the most important of the 3 Rs.

In Ottawa, many residents improperly recycle cartons, single-use coffee cups, and plastic bags. To check if you’re disposing of these items correctly, visit the City of Ottawa Waste Explorer page.

A municipal recycling and garbage disposal chart.
Chart courtesy of the City of Ottawa.

Education – Sustainable Development Goals

A free course on Sustainable Cities is underway through the SDG Academy. The online course uses the edX platform, a popular online learning site for many years now, and can be taken at your own pace so long as it is completed before the course end date in July. The combination of video lectures, readings, and discussion forums was put together by top experts from around the world. …..

Low Carbon Economy

Moving stuff takes energy, and we often need to move stuff – it’s part of our economy, our quality of life, and our jobs. Buying local can only do so much, and currently increases in freight emissions are expected to offset decreases in passenger travel emissions. Fortunately the Pembina Institute has 5 New Ideas for a Competive Low Carbon Freight Industry in Canada, which you can read about here.

A freight truck and cargo train crossing a bridge.
Canada’s current freight industry is highly dependent on fossil fuels. Photo: Pembina Institute.

 

Have you ever taken an online course? What would you do to make cities more sustainable? Let us know in the comments.

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