The people behind “Sustainability”.

In the last few weeks I’ve started to learn a couple of things about how you can help ‘sustainability’ happen in your organization.  First and foremost, seek out people to help you!  We saw this happen early on in the project with Mark and Gillian from the University’s Physical Resource and Sustainability Departments. Most recently today, I experienced something that made me feel good and gave me hope about what we are trying to do with the project.  Lauren and I met with a gentleman named Wayne Galliher who is the Water Conservation Project Manager with the City of Guelph.  (Check out his TedX Guelph talk  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKLtfV1MqRk )

Our meeting with Wayne was a result of Lauren and I sitting around wondering what our alternatives may end up looking like when it comes to measuring water usage at PJ’s.  We have recently hit a few snags caused by the antiquated system that delivers ‘unmetered’ water to the building that houses our restaurant.   These barriers may even prevent us from setting up meters that will allow us measure our water use accurately.

 I had seen Wayne speak a few times and really wasn’t sure what sort of help he could provide us but we knew he was an expert on water and The City of Guelph is the municipal water source that services the University.  Lauren’s ‘cold call’ to Wayne was met with politeness and expedience and we had a meeting set up in no time. 

During our conversation this morning Wayne proved to be a wealth of knowledge and put forth some ways that the City may be able to assist our project in regards to water conservation.  Once again someone we had met was keen and willing to help us with our project in any way they could.  This is one of the points I’d like to make in this posting.   It seems to me that there is common characteristic in the values of people we meet that have careers that involve improving sustainability.  Not only is there an obvious commitment to conservation and improving the way we live, there also seems to be a highly collaborative nature to these people.  I find this incredibly refreshing compared to many of the situations I have faced in the Foodservice Industry and most recently in academia where things are often done (or not done) with one’s own best interests in mind. 

The second lesson I’ve learned is that there is a plethora of organizations at both the grass roots and government level who are working incredibly hard to help push sustainability in any way they can.  As one who rarely ‘networked’ in their career I have been somewhat apprehensive to do so in my growing role in the sustainability movement but have I ever learned lately how beneficial it can be.  Whether it is through shaking hands at a ‘local food’ workshop or ‘tweeting’ about something cool that another organization is doing, staying connected is critical in expanding your potential when it comes to all things regarding sustainability. 

With that last recommendation I’d like to share a few websites and links for you to check out!

UGSURP has recently joined Sustain Ontario, a province wide, cross-sectoral alliance that promotes healthy food and farming.

Our ‘tweeting’ efforts also seemed to land our Bread Waste Project some exposure in the Life Section of today’s Globe and Mail so please check it out!  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/food-and-wine/trends/trends-features/the-free-bread-basket-an-environmental-nightmare/article2069315/

 

Lastly, here is a link to the incredibly well presented and informative City of Guelph Water Conservation Website. It is great seeing our local government working towards such important goals.  http://guelph.ca/living.cfm?subCatID=1762&smocid=2338

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