Ideas. Cities. Social Innovation.

The story of how the industry rejuvenated itself by finding new markets in Asia and developing new products like bio-energy and bio-plastics is fascinating in itself, but it is the unique response to dealing with the environmental movement that could prove instructive for the oil sands.

Mr. Lazar said environmental groups had figured out they could win concessions by putting pressure on the clients of forestry companies. “It was just one more battle to fight while trying to survive,” he said. “We asked them for a break but they said it wasn’t their job to give us a break, it was their job to give us a push. Their business model is not to rest on the status quo but to press for continuous improvement. So we said ‘would you agree on a long-term plan to find solutions together?’”

My latest, on the problems progressives face in Canadian federal politics:

I believe it’s a lack of a clear progressive agenda that in large part holds back a potential movement. Anecdotally, I see many of the progressive-minded people I know channeling their efforts into international issues, or politics on a local level. It’s not that they view the federal government as irrelevant, rather I believe there’s nothing engaging them in a meaningful way. They may show up to vote for the NDP (or Liberals or Greens), and in some cases may volunteer time and money, but are not engaged in the same way they are on the aforementioned issues. You can’t build a movement on irregular participation.

Until such time that a progressive agenda can be articulated, and attract a minimum winning coalition, progressives will find themselves in the position conservatives did for much of the 20th century, forming government only when one or both of the following happened – they found a charismatic, popular leader, and/or the dominant party lost support due to poor performance/scandal/voter fatigue, effectively forming government by default. History points to neither strategy being sustainable.

“It looks like—you’ve got $21 billion on this side, $100-something billion over here—the scale is actually suggesting that the marginal benefit of regulation is quite a bit bigger than the marginal cost, at least over the sample,” Syverson told about 40 people gathered in a campus lecture hall.

Authors of the Millennium Reserve incorporated MAB’s creative zoning in their own vision. The Reserve’s core, transition and enterprise lands concept will be tested in an urban region with 434,000 residents, a stagnant industrial complex, and serious contamination issues. The zoning system creates a nimble set of relational components that have the capacity to address these conditions. Each area comes with its own management, job creation, and programming parameters. Creatively identifying these core areas based on measured criteria such as ecosystem services, groundwater contamination risks, or energy production can create unique public spaces that take their formal cues from the processes they support.

It’s an innovative solution, based on a principle known as aquaponics, where everything exists to work together. Tilapia fish waste is high in ammonia which nourishes the plants; the plants clean the water, which can then be returned to the fish. The businesses within the building work in symbiosis, too. So, waste from the brewery provides the perfect growing material for the mushroom farm.