Nov 22, 2018: Implementing Change
Today, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Nicholas Ashbolt from the School of Public Health here at the University of Alberta. He does fascinating work on the ways we might change our practices, policies and infrastructures to redirect black water, grey water and potable water so that we can can achieve a number of social goals including 1) improved individual and community health by reducing the release and spread of pathogens and antiobiotic resistant genes; 2) reduced water usage by 50% or more; 3) increased energy efficiency and closed loop energy production as an outcome of reusing our black water (and water) as well as grey water; 4) the salvage of precious chemicals that are part of our household waste (nitrogen, phosphorus etc.) critical to agriculture and food security. As is so often the case, the technologies to improve current practices and to live more sustainably already exist. The real barriers to implementation are social at the level of policy change, building practices, social expectations and so on. Like with all the wicked problems of our time that are necessary to creating more sustainable and socially just futures, the real work of implementing change demands incredible multi/trans/cross/interdisciplinarity within the academy and between the academy and community stakeholders, including professional organizations that determine industry standards, corporations, various levels of government, and civic society. One conversation, one policy at a time, change is happening, but time is limited. We’d best figure out how to talk to one another and how to make decisions together, and quickly!