Majora Carter & Mayor Gregor Robertson visit Eclipse Awards
by Toby Barazzuol on Wednesday Apr 15, 2009
Wow, what an amazing few weeks! On April 2nd, we helped to host “Sustainability 2.0 – the Evolution of Green” with the Strathcona Business Improvement Association. The event created an atmosphere of positive energy and hopefully created a new kind of awareness that encourages people to collaborate and work together in building community. It's not enough to have solidarity amongst the business, artists, and low income communities....we need a solidarity and shared vision across these groups, as a whole community.
Both Eclipse Awards and I have put a lot of energy into moving sustainability forward over the past several years. This commitment is based on the belief that understanding sustainability as it relates to your organization is the single greatest investment that you can make towards your future success. Last year, when we planned Sustainability 1.0 there were virtually no results on a google search for sustainability 2.0, which is why we secured the name then. A recent search now shows over 13,000 results for sustainability 2.0 which just goes to show how people’s thinking has evolved over the past year. We’re entering new areas of sustainability where things such as recycling and conserving energy are simply the first steps in creating a green company. Now sustainability involves exploring collaboration and sharing resources to become more green.
In our experience, a company can only go so far on its own…once you’ve implemented recycling programs, minimized your energy consumption, and streamlined your operations, you kind of reach a limit in terms of what you can accomplish in sustainability. To reach the next level, companies need to start collaborating with one another in order to obtain services and opportunities that they can’t on their own. For example, one company alone has limited options to dispose of its waste, however if that company is collaborating with other companies in a materials exchange network it may be able to trade its waste for reuse, or freely obtain another companies unused resources instead of buying them. So when we talk about sustainability, it’s important to think of individual companies, but it’s even more important to think about how these companies work together and the relationships between them. Ultimately, sustainability boils down to community and culture…what are the things we celebrate, value and support?
This is the idea behind the Strathcona Green Zone, where we hope to create a community that celebrates sustainable thinking, diversity and the arts. We want to be known as a progressive and dynamic place to do business, not as Canada’s “poorest postal code”. Local paper Business in Vancouver covered the Strathcona Green Zone Initiative and the Sustainability 2.0 expo in this recent article.
So to help us communicate this message to the Strathcona community, we were lucky enough to secure Majora Carter as the keynote speaker at Sustainability 2.0. Majora is considered by many as one of New York’s top environmental and social activists and if you haven’t seen her impassioned TED talk, you can view it here. She gained a lot of recognition for her work with Sustainable South Bronx and "greening the ghetto" by training people with skills to build green roofs, care for trees, and create green spaces. Majora is a beautiful soul who shares her wisdom and experience in an open and joyful way, and I was lucky enough to spend part of the day with her before her talk.
For me, the highlight of the day was doing a walking tour of Strathcona with Majora Carter and Gregor Robertson, the mayor of Vancouver. Gregor is also an amazing person with a deep understanding of sustainability, so to have them both visit the area and then stop by our green roof, was truly an inspiring and rewarding experience. It also shows what can be accomplished by setting an audacious goal, and then working to make it a reality.
Eclipse Awards is a small company with big aspirations. We not only make crystal awards to recognize people and make them happy, we also want to create happiness within our community and have worked to incorporate this in our core mission.
Touring Strathcona and Eclipse Awards with Majora and Gregor was a really special occasion and one that I hope will help set a new trajectory for our future and the future of this neighbourhood. Yet it’s simply one more step in our efforts to show how small businesses can have positive and lasting effects within their communities by inspiring people, sharing knowledge and building beautiful things.