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The Environmental Golden Thread

The number of initiatives directed towards environmental regulations, standards, and stakeholder obligations is increasing across all levels of governments, private sectors, and the public at large.

However, it is at the municipal level where this is most acute as almost everything that happens intersects with the environment. Municipalities is where environmental public policy comes face to face with the environment.  It is where the rubber metaphorically and physically hits the road.

To better understand how local governments are contending with environmental objectives we compiled a list of municipal environmental initiatives across Canada. This data includes: key goals, objectives, policy influences, and municipal resources categorized by what we are calling:

The 12 Environmental Pillars

These pillars summarize what is shaping municipal environmental policies across Canada. However, implementation is happening mostly in parts and often without co-ordination of effort or purpose.

To be effective we believe these pillars must be addressed collectively. A golden thread is needed to bind these pillars together so that initiatives perform as a whole rather than as individual efforts.  

Implementing an Environmental Golden Thread should be part of municipal environmental programs to assure adequate environmental protection, stewardship, and sustainability balancing “the need of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”  

It is our hope that the information in this guide will help towards that end.

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