If you grew up with Sesame Street, and chances are that you did, you will remember Kermit the Frog lamenting, “It’s not easy being green”.
My, how times have changed! Just look at the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. In 10 short years, we’re hoping to accomplish so much.
Not only are we hypersensitive about how to accept each other’s personal differences but we are also working together as communities and as a nation to ensure that “green” becomes a colour that is expected within our urban centres, common areas and residences, and that green building is a common practice.
Let’s step back for a moment and examine what “green” is really alluding to.
Basically, being different or choosing to think “outside the box” can be difficult.
The new generation is much more accepting of differences and of the reality that there is a lot we can learn from each other and from other nations.
Our education systems encourage group learning and most industries include team-focused projects, knowing that collaborative initiatives are usually a much more successful way to approach urban design, product design and projects.
In Canada, we live in a diverse multicultural society. Hesitant to call it a “melting pot,” as everyone is encouraged and supported to keep their cultural and religious identity while living together as proud Canadians.
Due to the diversification of the population, group/team projects and designs incorporate a wide range of elements often taken from successful implementation around the globe.
As Canadians, we are becoming more and more accepting of including sustainable products, technologies and designs which have originated in other countries.
Our European neighbors have focused on including green infrastructure and sustainable building products and techniques for decades.
It is exciting and encouraging that people who have lived in Europe and are comfortable and confident with green infrastructure and LID (low impact development) technologies are now involved in local projects bringing their experience and expertise to Canadian projects and helping to expedite the acceptance of green building.
A recent article in the Toronto Star reinforces the movement towards green building. There are no questions asked, rather, it is a statement, “…how we live, will get greener”.
The next logical questions are:
How will it get greener?
What can we do as individuals? As communities?
What green products/designs have the biggest impact?
Where should we focus our energy?
Moving towards the global 2030 agenda towards sustainable development and focusing on our neighborhoods and our country, the natural next steps in my mind include:
- Stormwater management (including permeable paving), green roofs, rain gardens and bioswales
- Reducing carbon emissions
- Focusing on farm to table and supporting local businesses
- Increasing the ability to recycle all types of plastics and other materials
- Incentifying on all levels, the use of sustainable products, green infrastructure and LID
It is my hope that this generation, our children and our grandchildren won’t understand what Kermit was singing about; their response will be, “but Mommy, it is easy being green, everything around us is green”.
Together, let’s make the 2030 agenda for sustainable development a reality and let our grandchildren grow up in a “green” world.