Interview with the Program Manager
Since moving to Kingston I have met many positive people who are very community orientated, and constantly trying to make the city a creative space for all to enjoy. So, when I heard about an organization providing resources and information on innovative ways to make Kingston more environmentally friendly, I was interested to know more.
The organization is called Sustainable Kingston, it originally opened its doors in 2012, and began by helping Kingstonians become aware of issues that could be resolved and perhaps prevented if proper measures were taken. From 2012-2015, Sustainable Kingston took an approach that focused on four pillars (environment, economics, social, and cultural) but since then has shifted its focus into six priority areas. The organization wanted to focus on things that were more interrelated and decided to make the change in 2016.
Sustainable Kingston was created as a non-profit organization by the City of Kingston. The organization’s purpose is to support the Kingston community in achieving its vision of becoming Canada's most sustainable city.
The development of the different programs is meant to encourage and inform the public of any pressing concerns that they can assist with. The newly developed priority areas will be focused on between 2017-2020, and they all play an important role in improving the Kingston community.
Sustainable Kingston has a website, twitter, and Facebook page that includes more information on each priority area, if interested please click below to read more:
Last month, I had the opportunity to sit down for my first face to face interview with Liam Conway the Program Manager for this organization. Liam mainly works with the members to come up with sustainability strategies that are most suitable for them. He does this through a carbon emission lens, and works with the member to bring the metric number down. If you are from Kingston, then you’ve probably heard of this fascinating group but if you haven’t then I’m here to enlighten you.
Last year, Sustainable Kingston’s Board of Directors and the City of Kingston approved their Strategic Plan which will allow them to have a more active role in developing meaningful programs to hit their goals.
Green Economy Program focuses on helping businesses decrease their carbon footprints, with the guidance of Sustainable Kingston by measuring, reducing and setting targets. You simply become a member and gain access to resources like reports, workshops, and services to improve your impact on the environment.
The Hub for Community Change offers office space at an affordable price! This program is especially great for those who are trying to get their business off the ground and out of their home. Renting can be very expensive and if you only need to work out of an office a few times a week, or need to host a meeting on a tight budget—the hub can help you.
Sustainable City Lab: This is a pilot project that allows students to gain real-world project experience, although it hasn’t taken off yet, there will be information on this program soon!
Sustainable Kingston Plan: Essentially, this is the overall concept of Sustainable Kingston, it’s a way to get the community involved and aware of the city’s issues as well as make it the most sustainable city in Canada. If interested, please like the Facebook page, and twitter to see when they have events and how you can participate.
The organization also gives you the opportunity to see how they have progressed within the year, and how the non-profit’s budget is being used through the Annual Report. The image on the right is an example of what you may find within the 2016 report. Ranging from the amount of sponsorship's received to the number of program members, to even the financial statement, this organization is brutally honest.
Overall, this organization strives to help Kingston’s community in the goal to become Canada’s most sustainable city. If this city has taught me anything, it’s that it is very driven to help others and support local businesses. Of course, it is not perfect, but this organization is trying to encourage us to acknowledge that that there are ways to improve, and enhance the livability in Kingston.
Please get involved in your local community and take the time to educate yourself on present issues and how you can help.