Living Clean and Free

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[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][mk_image src=”” image_width=”800″ image_height=”350″ crop=”true” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″ desc=”KRISTOPHER GRUNERT”][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″][mk_dropcaps style=”simple-style”]I[/mk_dropcaps]N CREATING Vancouver’s action plan, Gregor Robertson has emphasized that going green is not only compatible with economic growth but also closely connected to it. “Our city has seen a massive surge in green jobs, which are growing at four times the national rate,” he says. “We have the fastest growing economy of any city in the country.” Vancouver also has some of the most expensive housing in the world, which could pose a problem to some of those keen on living in the “greenest city in the world” (see “Housing matters” sidebar). Still, Robertson expects the fastest growing economy trend to continue as a new range of eco-friendly jobs are created as businesses are forced to respond to changes in the population and the condition of our climate. The growth of the green economy means that sustainability will become a key component of most jobs, whether in manufacturing, retail or engineering.

All told, the green sector currently represents 4.9 per cent of local jobs, but the action plan aims to have Vancouver double its total of green jobs from 2010 levels (16,700 jobs) by 2020. About half of those will likely come from the creation of jobs that don’t currently exist; the other half will come from the transformation of existing jobs through skills upgrading, and through organizations that green their existing business.

One of the fastest growing portions of the green jobs sector is clean tech, which includes industries associated with air purification technologies, wastewater treatment, site assessment and reclamation, and pollution control. It is in this area that Vancouver, already ambitious in its aspiration to be the greenest city on Earth, sees the opportunity to do something that is perhaps even more notable.

“Vancouver wants to become a world leader,” says Ian Bruce from the David Suzuki Foundation. “It wants to expand its brand globally and bring its expertise and technology to other cities that are lagging behind.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″]
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Will living in what might one day be the greenest city in the world be affordable?

[mk_dropcaps style=”simple-style”]V[/mk_dropcaps]ANCOUVER MAYOR GREGOR Robertson believes that coupling the city’s emerging identity as a green powerhouse with its long-standing reputation for healthy lifestyles and environmental activism will help attract talent. “We’d like to be the green finance capital of the world. The Switzerland of green finance, if you will,” says Robertson. But while that monetary image may draw some professionals to Vancouver, there are also many residents who are leaving at a rapid rate — in particular young families and others who are unable to find reasonably priced housing.

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A 2015 survey by Demographia, a consulting firm that compiles an annual international housing affordability index, found that Vancouver is the second most unaffordable metropolis in the world (behind only Hong Kong), with a median house price of $700,000 and a median household income of $66,000. That income level trails all other major Canadian cities and is an eye-popping $30,000 shy of the median household incomes in Calgary and Edmonton.

In the end, it would be a cruel irony if all of Vancouver’s determined efforts to create the world’s most vibrant, livable and ecologically conscious city are ultimately defused by the fact that only the super rich can afford to live there. Perhaps not surprisingly, the city does have a mayor’s task force on housing affordability, which like its greenest city plan aims to “make Vancouver a more livable, sustainable, and affordable city.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/mk_custom_box][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][mk_padding_divider size=”40″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]

by Kerry Banks

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2 thoughts on “Living Clean and Free”

  1. I wanted to share the article “Living Clean and Free” on Facebook but couldn’t find an option on the EnergyExchange website to do so. My reason for wanting to share this, and other articles relating to the need for us to wean ourselves off fossil fuels, is my observation that very few people seem interested in doing their part to help in this endeavor.

    1. Hi Donald, we’re happy to hear that you enjoyed the article on Vancouver. The button to share the article via Facebook and other social media is just above the aerial photo of Vancouver, on the right hand side. It looks like a sideways V connected by three dots (beside the printer symbol). Thank you for reaching out and sharing!

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