Sustainability has been gaining major traction in the 21st century. It may be for several reasons. Companies are aiming to be more sustainable to try to showcase their products/services to their customers. They want their clients to think that they are making a difference and growing responsibly. More and more organizations are looking in to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report's to showcase and market their 'green' endeavors! However, walking the walk is much easier said than done. But for those who are willing to embed sustainability in their corporate culture will gain all the benefits both today and tomorrow!
Businesses communicating their strategies, are hoping to tap into this growing 'green' market segment. It is shown that North Americans are willing to pay a premium on things that have a reduced impact, whether it's food, transportation, or their living/workspaces.
This is quite a lucrative market for the real estate sector, as not only will premiums be paid to rent or buy spaces that are efficient, but operational costs and expenditures over the long term will be much lower than conventional spaces for all parties.
Learning what makes these spaces premium real-estate holdings is viewed as a challenge to some. How these businesses communicate to their partners and clients in the 21st century has seen a transition between old established TV, radio, and print media. The connection has moved to a digital forum where partners and clients are able to connect more seamlessly to their suppliers. There are tons of links between the companies and their customers, directly through social media websites like Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, google+, LinkedIN - the list goes on!
This instant form of communication is pivotal for organizations to showcase their message and get real time feedback - both positive and negative. Customers know what they want and have a direct link to the marketing department! With the ability to test the market reaction of their products/services before spending big money on what they think their customers want!
Many organizations must be prepared for customers claims of potentially 'green washing' and instead work with them to develop a product that is a truly unique and sustainable product or service. If you link the needs of clients, to sustainable design and operation, you will gain long term relationships with your clients, as well as your own supply chain! Working with industry leaders, and stakeholders, it can help to reduce the overall impact of your operations!
Buildings play an integral role for nearly every organization's environmental impact! By reducing the ecological footprint of our real estate we can engage those on their own sustainability journey. By greening our work/ living spaces, it is a solid foundation to help support a growing conservative culture, that's transparent, accountable and efficient.
Elena's recipe for networking and staying connected
Volunteer (frequently, in unusual places and where you'll learn something new)
Stay in touch (with people you admire)
Go to networking events (until people recognize who you are)
Put your hand up (when nobody else would)
Be a valuable member of groups (showing up is not enough)
Find a way to make work fun (better to be having fun than to be working)
Connect online and offline (nothing substitutes in person contact)
Younger professionals help bridge the gap towards a more sustainable future
By: Jame Zaiyouna What comes to mind when you think about today’s youth? Does it instil fear or does it inspire hope? As a part of generation Y, I like to think it’s the latter. We are the generation that has grown up with the Internet, text messaging and multiple forms of instant communication. For many of us, this technology has enabled us to connect and embrace aspects of the world that were unknown by previous generations. Our thirst for knowledge, need for direct connectivity and social consciousness is at the heart of why the youth are becoming sustainability trend-setters. Today’s youth is helping lead the sustainability quest – to minimize our ecological impact and do so in a socially responsible way. Previous generations have asserted that knowledge is power, and today, knowledge is only a Google search away. For instance, those with an interest in real estate and architecture, have online access to green building designs, photos and forums. They are able to learn about best practices associated with water conservation, Passive Solar, or about building standards like LEED® and ASHRAE. The knowledge gained, will perhaps send a young curious mind towards a career in structural engineering, or urban planning and design. These impacts are only amplified by Generation Y’s need for smarter more customizable workspaces, and further driving demand for sustainable buildings and design.
Young people’s ability to seek and share information with each other is truly powerful. Take for example the use of technology in our homes, with many parents who have traded in colouring books for powerful tablets. Children indeed have the world in their fingertips. With access to millions of online APPS youth are able to find and connect with likeminded individuals. For instance, individuals interested in water conservation issues, can connect with various ‘blue’ organizations in the community. These connections can help mobilize a community awareness program or regional water policy. The Water Brothers who have travelled across the globe highlighting local and global issues are a prime example of young leadership. Quench is also a unique app that allows users to search out public water fountains, or businesses willing to fill up your reusable container. For more information visit - http://thewaterbrothers.ca/quench .
Another example of how today’s youth are setting low impact trends is through the use of online website communities like Couch Surfing and Air BnB where strangers from across the globe meet and open up their homes. This truly unique experience allows personal engagement with globetrotters and a personal visit to a foreign city. This social exchange is a major contributor to how and why younger generations are more apt to adapt to these positive communal expierences.
These social connections are just a demonstration of how technology in the 21st century is bringing people closer together. The youth of today have a decentralized concept of where information comes from, as news is now shared rather than delivered.
The final piece of the puzzle lies in the purchasing power of this demographic. Increasingly, young adults associate greater value with purchasing ethically produced products and services. This can be seen with companies like Mountain Equipment Co-Op, Bullfrog Power, offering their clients 'greener' alternatives.
Young adults have helped trigger a series of events that have had a rippling effect across the globe, such as;
I. Where information comes from II. How and who we share that information with III. What we choose to do with the information.
All this information has contributed to the steady increase in the demand for goods and services that consider a full life cycle impact. Cradle to cradle has become a high priority for young adults who are becoming more and more ethical consumers. The spending power of young adults is holding major corporations accountable for both upstream and downstream impacts of their products / services. Social consumers know that if they do not pay the price for a better product today, they will pay five fold in the future.
It is that willingness to acknowledge and accept that we all can have an impact - positive or negative - that allows us to ‘Be the change we want to see in the world’.
Small group makes a big difference
For those of us who love our community, and strive to make it a better place, here is a real group of individuals not only walking the walk, but doing it on a Sunday!
On Sept. 18th 2011 – I witnessed a small group of individuals of different ages and backgrounds work together to clean up a fairly large piece of parkland in the Dufferin / Finch Area. They had collected over a dozen garbage bags full of ….. trash.
While biking the newly paved path under the hydro towers in the North end of the city.I couldn’t help but take notice of these individuals collecting waste on a gorgeous blue skied sunny Sunday afternoon. I was intrigued, I had a number of questions so I stopped to chat and realized they had collected all this trash in within 2 hours.
Volunteers hard at work.
Everything other than the garbage bag were found, including a matching black milk crate & poorly disposed fire extinguisher.
3 things ran through my mind:
1) Wow these guys work quickly!
2) Was there really THAT MUCH trash?
3) What did they plan to do with all this trash?
Bird's Eye View of Clean up Area!
Turns out these individuals were part of a much larger story. They were volunteering their Sunday, and their sweat to http://shorelinecleanup.ca/ maybe you’ve heard of it? Hearing about it and seeing it (unexpectedly) are 2 very different things. This is one of the reasons I’ve decided to share these photos with you....
As I wondered what happened to the collected bags – where would they go. I found the answer!
Seems like they thought of everything, (http://shorelinecleanup.ca/en/content/facts-figures ) - though I am very interested in the logistics, coordination and measurement of the entire project! (For those involved in this years cleanup please share your findings as you calculate the 2011 Tallies.)
G. Ross Lord Park Reservoir - North Toronto
Its quite encouraging to know that there are people all around the world ready to sacrifice their time to making their community a healthier place to live.
What other stories can we share? Do you know a member of your community who has done something awesome?
LET US KNOW!
Daffodil Bulbs Information Sheet - (Bulbs were graciously donated by GreenHere)
Bulbs are a very diverse group of plants that originated from all over the world – Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and North and South America. Bulbs developed through adaptation, that amazing ability of all living things to acclimate themselves to the constantly changing environment of the world. The survival mechanism of a bulb sets it apart from other plants: a self-contained food storage organ that has adapted itself, flower bud and all to live underground. Even after lying dormant for months in conditions of drought, heat or frost, bulbs spring back to life when conditions are right. It is this very hardy, self-contained plant ‘bulb’ that makes them easy to grow – even by weekend gardeners with limited skill and time! A bulb needs to be planted only once, and with minimal care will continue to come up and bloom year after year. This is especially true of the Daffodil (a.k.a. Narcissus) which, if undisturbed in its original planting location, can continue to bloom every spring for up to 60 or 70 years!
Use The advantage of daffodils is this great ability to behave as perennials. Add to that their relatively early blooming period and their dramatic colour display and you have a plant that is indispensable to the home garden. Planted among perennials, they provide solo colour prior to the other plants coming up – which then will conveniently cover the withering daffodil foliage once the flowers are spent. Another great use for daffodils is to plant them under shrubs and trees that allow some sun penetration – Daffodils can thrive in full sun or partial shade. Combining them with early blooming shrubs such as spirea, rhododendron, magnolia, mahonia and flowering almond can provide lovely displays. Daffodil’s bright yellow, orange, cream and salmon tones can also add nice contrast to evergreen shrubs. Daffodils naturalize very well and can be used among ground covers such as English ivy, periwinkle and Japanese spurge. They can even be naturalized in lawns if you are willing to delay mowing (or carefully mow between the daffodil plants) until after the daffodil foliage has died back - about six weeks after blooming. During this period the daffodil leaves are replenishing the food supply to the bulb, necessary to ensure the next season’s blooms. It is important to never trim the foliage until after it has yellowed. Even after the foliage has died back, bulbs continue to undergo chemical and growth changes underground through the summer, fall and winter – preparation for blooming in the spring!
Planting Spring flowering bulbs are available in fall and should be planted as soon as possible after purchase. A location with full sun or partial shade is best. Store bulbs in a cool, dry place if later planting is necessary. Always take the opportunity to improve garden soil when putting in new plants or bulbs. Begin by loosening the soil to a depth of 12 – 15 inches using a garden fork. For a large area a power tiller can be used. Then mix in a 2 to 4 inch layer of compost. A once yearly addition of 2 inches of compost as a top dressing will keep your garden soil healthy and provide nutrients to the bulbs. In situations where digging in compost will damage existing plants root systems, mix in a handful of compost with each bulb planted, and top dress the entire bed with a 2 inch layer. As a general rule of thumb, bulbs should be planted about three times the depth of their diameter. For daffodils, this is about 7- 8 inches (17 – 20 cm). They can planted up to 6-7 inches apart or further, depending on the type of display you prefer. Ideally, bulbs are watered in after planting, however most often fall rains accomplish this for you. It has been said that no flowers welcome spring with more dramatic beauty than daffodils; nor can any other flowers be planted with more assurance of success. Given a minimum amount of care, most daffodils will not only continue to bloom for decades, but will increase abundantly as well!