Green and Eco-Conscious Communities and Cities in Canada

There are many green communities in Canada which focus on sustainable living and use of resources, balanced ecosystems, and clean soil, water, and air. From cultural facilities and recreation to sustainable gardening, the goal is to minimize impact on the environment.

Features of Sustainable Communities in Canada

Sustainable communities come in different forms, including collectives, co-ops, communes, cooperative housing, cohousing, eco villages, and others. Some communities aim to preserve traditional practices and protect traditional lands. Others rely on solar power and water conservation techniques to minimize pollution and meet their needs. There are energy- and water-saving initiatives, and all houses are fitted with water meters and low-flow fixtures. Some communities even have a water schedule to conserve water. Outdoor watering bans are also enforced. Recycling and composting are two methods used to minimize waste. Some eco villages even mandate that residents use various composting and recycling methods while others rely on renewable energy produced by wind farms. Others combine wind and solar power to meet their energy needs. In some cities like Charlottetown, for example, even churches are renovated to reduce waste and energy consumption. Some residents own organic farms that are certified. Cities that encourage green living include Wasaga, Richmond Hill, Hamilton, and Ottawa.

Good Practices
In Hamilton, small plots are offered for rent and are intended for organic gardening. Residents are offered the opportunity to maintain, grow, and harvest eco produce. Non-profit organizations offer plots for rent to enable residents to run sustainable farms. Some families grow fruits and vegetables and sell them to the locals. Local food maps inform citizens of locations that sell organic, fresh, local produce, including farmers markets and producers. Food maps display locations where residents can buy organic fruits and vegetables, flowers, eggs, meat, cheese, and healthy prepared foods. Local farmers markets offer chicken, lamb, meat, preserves, breads, baking, dairies, honey, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Organic produce is delivered from farmersí markets to the residentsí porch or door. Bikes are used to minimize environmental impact. Fresh cooking demonstrations and cooking classes are also offered.

Air Quality
Sustainable communities run programs that aim to slow climate change and global warning and to minimize the level of air pollutants. Residents are encouraged to adopt driving techniques that reduce pollution and improve fuel efficiency. Tire pressure clinics are also available to encourage tire care and safe driving. Training programs on climate change mitigation are implemented in different towns and cities, including Ottawa, Greater Sudbury, County of Lambton, Richmond Hill, and others. The ultimate goal is to minimize the impact of greenhouse gas emissions. Green commuting options are also encouraged given that single occupancy vehicles waste fuel and contribute to environmental pollution and traffic congestions. The focus is on changing transportation habits for a greener future. Special events are also organized to promote green ways of transportation, for example, bike to school and work days, clean air commute, and others. Complete streets are designed with residents and visitorsí safety in mind and feature median islands, safe crossing opportunities, bus stops, special bus and bike lanes, and sidewalks. Other features include roundabouts, narrow travel lanes, curb extensions, and pedestrian signals. They are used by motorcyclists, cyclists, pedestrians, and transit users. The focus is also on planting trees to increase green space, mixed land use, and optimizing the current infrastructure. Proper planning is very important.

Waste
The focus is on reducing waste or precycling. Precycling means preventing recycling by buying less. Some communities and municipalities encourage waste management under the motto reduce, reuse, recycle. One way to do this is to buy a precycling kit (thermos, cloth napkins, non-disposable containers, and cloth bags).

Values
Many communities share values such as respect for diversity, equality, inclusiveness, fairness, and community and personal action. They run community-based programs to accommodate members and achieve environmental gains.