January 3, 2019: Designing (Policy) for the Future
I remember a time, not too long ago, perhaps only a couple of years really, when fun-loving if slightly condescending colleagues would call me a tree-hugging feminist and blatantly declare that my views were radical. It was frustrating, but then, there was part of me that hoped things were not as bad as I imagined when doing my research. Although I knew my own work was and is based on solid research from across the disciplines, there was part of me that wanted to be proven wrong. Because, what I was worrying on and imagining was anything but amusing. Thinking about the beautiful weather this week, I was reminded of a moment late last fall. I was sitting in a board room in city centre, with a lot of officious looking people listening to a report on the predicted impacts of climate change on the City of Edmonton. What they were discussing was not news to me. It aligned with what I have known for at least a decade and been trying to teach about, publicly talk about, write about, and ultimately change. Suddenly, however, I was struck with a deep sense of foreboding and anxiety, not because I was alone in my opinion, but because I was in a room of decision makers who also know this to be true. They are building policy around the inevitability of the changes coming. And the severity of those changes relies entirely on our collective ability to mobilize the general public–to get them to not only believe climate change is happening, but to understand how we must all take responsibility or we will collectively be living with the consequences. While the reality is frightening beyond even what, I fear, our limited imaginations allow us to understand, we can take some small measure of comfort that, at least, there are some policy makers are taking climate change seriously. They are designing for the future of our city in ways that will, at least locally, at least to the degree that any one city can, make us all a little more resilient. However, the only way that any community can really be resilient, is if all its members are able to work together, in community, and mobilize together toward shared futures.
You can read the report online here: https://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/documents/Climate_Resilient_Edmonton.pdf
Image: Screen Capture of Edmonton’s “Climate Resilient Edmonton” report