Unit 3

Overview

Unit 3 concludes your study. You have learned that humanity faces significant challenges. Despite the improvements in efficiency whether in car mileage or lighting offices, the absolute increase in the use of resources continues as does the disposal of new products associated with this increase. The long term challenge is moving towards a world in which there no longer is any waste, performing much as nature functions, in which products find new uses, or are re-tooled for different purposes. As this diminishes impact on waste disposal so also does it make individuals and organizations more resilient by their constant reuse or retooling of products, with an associated reduction in the need for new resource use.

By mid century there may be over 10 billion people on earth, up from today’s total of seven billion. While more of them will live in cities with opportunities for greater efficiency in providing products and services, people’s increasing prosperity will drive even more consumption.

The final section of this module focuses on what this means for you, your career and the place in which you live and work.

Agenda for Unit 3:

  • Today’s Workplace and the Environmental Imperative
  • My Preferred Choices
    • Green Citizen Lifestyle Survey II
  • Lecture: Our Current Opportunity
  • Talking Heads Video: Todd Latham
  • Exercise: My Career
    • In-class discussion
  • Conclusion and Green Card Validation

Agenda for Unit 2:

  • The Human and Environment Connection with PowerPoint Presentation: Where do we fit in?
  • Videos of Leading Thinkers
  • Lecture: My Environmental Impact (Carbon and Ecological Footprint)
    • Exercise 1: Ecological Footprint
  • Lecture: Where I live
    • Exercise 2: Walkscore.com
  • Talking Heads Video: Gord Miller

Today's Workplace and the Environmental Imperative

30 to 40 years ago items such as health and safety, human rights, and other matters might have been on the periphery of workplace and community concerns – acknowledged but not always acted on – today this in no longer the case. Even though in many cases they constitute a small part of the total workplace obligation, failure to address their significance will not only sabotage your career but may fatally harm the organization employing you. Likewise the same attentiveness is increasingly being paid to the environmental imperative – acknowledged but not always acted on – but this is changing. Organizations are examining their impact on the environment from the following perspectives:

 

  • Regulatory – rules, laws, practices, standards, legal requirements etc. increasingly guide everyday life, professional practice, and organizational obligation.
  • Operational – organizations are more aggressively managing their resource use and waste production as a bottom line imperative, and recognizing, as an example, that carbon releases and their impact on the atmosphere and oceans, are morally problematic, symptoms of lost profit from inefficient resource use management, and represent a failure to invest in more efficient processes and equipment.
  • Commercial Opportunity – ingenuity is the most celebrated way humans overcome the limitations of their current status and the same applies in public and private workplaces which create imaginative ways to increase their ability to do more with less, or realize new revenue streams.
  • Reputational – organizations attentive to enhancing their public identity and environmental impact attract superior talent – you! They also inspire their clients to continue supporting them, and often drive the process of regulatory reform.
  • Transformational – the unexpected opportunity is always the most nebulous but promising realm of future endeavour for an organization and for yourself. It can often be found in distinct responses to the environmental imperative.

The integration of the environmental imperative in an organization while it may only be a small part of most people’s job (though in many fields from tourism to retail merchandising it is increasingly a leading consideration), is, and will be, a permanent aspect.

My Preferred Choices

At the beginning of the module you were asked to complete the “Green Citizen Lifestyle Survey”. Now, you can complete a second survey which asks what you would prefer to do rather than what you currently do. Compare the results and consider why there might be any discrepancies in your responses to these two surveys.

Meet Stewart Chisholm

Stewart Chisholm, Director, Common Grounds with Evergreen. Evergreen is a national charity engaging Canadians in creating and sustaining dynamic outdoor spaces—in schools, communities and homes. Stewart has developed a variety of unique projects and resources to support the urban greening efforts of land use professionals and grassroots organizations. More information on Evergreen is available: www.evergreen.ca

Our Current Opportunity

Humans have invented, discovered, and created multiple aspects of living which are profoundly enlightening and delightful, from advances in urban prosperity and health care that allow you to live longer, to improvements in entertainment and technology. Many households now possess more benefits of civilization than were once available in the biggest libraries and elite concert halls.

In large measure this was because of the ingenuity and sacrifices of those who went before you. They planted a tree whose full splendour you now realize on a hot day. They wrote a song which you sing at parties. They designed a bicycle part which makes it easier and more fun for you to get around. Likewise you make choices that will have impact on lives and a world you may never see. You can ignore that obligation; you can take a contrarian point of view that says that if everyone thinks this is important than you’ll take the opposite stance; you can hide out in a gated compound; or, you can joyfully engage in the time honoured obligation to choose life.

What choices will you make as you start building a career and live the rest of your live?

Meet Todd Latham

Todd Latham, President of Actual Media Inc. Actual Media is a national creative services and publishing company. Latham co-founded ReNew Canada in 2005 and also publishes Water Canada magazine. He serves on the Board of Directors of Windrush Energy Corp. and on the Communications Committee of the Canadian Green Building Council. More information on ReNew Canada is available at:www.renewcanada.net

My Career

Your appreciation of the environmental imperative in your personal and career choices will improve your personal choices and options. It will make you more adaptable to changes in the world around you and in the workplace, and finally it will position you for leadership roles in the increasingly public nature of environmental challenges. The future economy will be less about being a place with a few well paid “green” jobs, but more one in which a touch of green, small in some cases, larger in others, is part of daily reality. The greatest skills and opportunities in the future lie in your response to a changing world.

Conclusion and Green Card Validation

The results of your participation in this process will accrue as you encounter opportunities for leadership in the working world and in your own personal life. It is a starting point for learning more about this topic (some additional resources are attached to assist you in this process). It demonstrates to a potential employer that you have taken the time and initiative to examine the role the environmental imperative plays or will play in their workplace.