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Globe Forum 2018

By Professor Leslie King, PhD, MCIP, Director CCEE and Program Head, MA, MSc and BA, BSc, in Environmental Practice, Royal Roads University

Globe Forum 2018 is a biennial conference, “The Leadership Summit for Sustainable Business” (this year called “Disrupting Business as Usual”) held in Vancouver from March 13-16, 2018. It has been held every two years since 1990. I have been to nearly all of them and they are especially interesting for the Innovation Expo which features innovative technology for sustainability, including renewable energy, green walls and roofs, infrastructure, transit, smart homes, electric vehicles (a big theme this year and many others as well as booths for industry, governments and universities. The theme for this year was oceans and photographer Paul Nicklen displayed his wonderful ocean and coastal photography. OceanWise was prominent and RRU had a booth featuring our programs “personned” by Erin Edwards our new SES School Manager (see photo on Instagram). The exhibition hall also presented speakers and panels and RRU Associate Faculty member, David Oswald spoke about his work in sustainable development in Central America.

I attended many of the sessions over the three days including the opening plenary featuring Chief Ian Campbell of the Squamish Nation, Felipe Calderóne, former president of Mexico who quoted Stephen Hawkings (who died the day before the conference began) and Mayor Gregor Robinson who reiterated his promise to make Vancouver the greenest City in the world by 2020 with 100% renewable energy by 2030. Reconciliation was in the air with many speakers (including Judith Sayers, Kekinusuqs, President of the Nuu-chah-nuth Tribal Council of and Chief Jim Boucher of Fort McKay First Nation) speaking about economic reconciliation, reconcili-action, and collaboration for sustainable development. In these days of #MeToo the women’s networking lunch was very popular and the entire conference was characterized by inclusion and diversity in the speakers and participants. The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Canada, attended to present the Globe Climate Leadership awards and I managed to snap a photo of her with our partners in the Masters and Bachelors programs in Environmental Practice, ECO Canada’s President Kevin Nilsen and ECO CanadaBoard Members at their booth in the Exhibition Hall.  

I also attended the Walrus Talks: Energy featuring inter alia author, Chris Turner, (The LeapThe Patch and The Geography of Hope) Cheryl Cardinal, Director of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Ministry of Natural Resources, Canada and Merren Smith, founder, Clean Energy Canada, who highlighted the energy transition. One of the most interesting panels on the closing day consisted of John Horgan Premier of BC, Governor Jay Inslee of Washington, Matt Rodriques, California Secretary for Environmental Protection and Janine Benner Director, Oregon Department of Energy, discussing the initiatives of the Pacific Coast Collaborative and stressing the importance of subnational jurisdictions collaborating to address climate change in the absence of Federal leadership. One of the evening events sponsored by the Pembina Institute featured panelists discussing carbon taxes with the admonishment by one of the panelists:  “Be Not Afraid” and “You are Not Alone” in the need for more concerted action on carbon taxing and incentives to move to a carbon-neutral economy.

To see my pictures from the forum, check out @Sustainability_Stories on InstagramFor more information about Globe Forum 2018 and to view the program, click here.