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Sharing sustainable futures

April 12, 2012
Amy Dove

From bicycle recycling programs, to tool kits of sustainability ideas and larger visions, Don Grant is doing his part to ensure people don't recreate the wheel when it comes to living with a lighter impact.

The sustainability consultant and Royal Roads University student launched Share The Wheel in 2010 and as he gets deeper into his research for his Master's in Interdisciplinary Studies he is adding plans, ideas and contacts from across North America and beyond to the website.

"There are at least 300 sustainability plans in Canada, and at least 2,000 municipalities .... There is so much information available on the Internet (but it can be hard to find what you are looking for)," Grant says. "My hope for Share The Wheel is that I can come up with more ways to share information in terms of hosting webinars, or maybe using it to get people together to discuss issues. It would be nice if we could share more research between communities to build sustainable communities."

Grant came to Royal Roads because the Interdisciplinary Studies program allowed him to tailor his education to particular research interest that supported his work as a consultant. As part of his program, he completed the Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Community Development through Royal Roads' Centre for Applied Leadership and Management. The course supported his overall research topic, which explores the extent that communities with sustainability plans have successfully implemented action around them. The subject is close to home for Grant as he is also an active consultant, and is currently working on sustainability plans for the City of Peterbourgh, the County of Lanark, both in Ontario and the City of Iqaluit.

Sustainability plans are not legally binding documents and for any number of reasons municipalities can have challenges bringing action to the ideas on paper, Grant says. The key to success is to ensure the entire community - from local government, to businesses, organizations and residents - are doing their part to live sustainably.

Sharing what other people are doing, and succeeding at is key to any community's success. Share The Wheel has details about different community plans and initiatives, and contact information to learn more in many cases.

"For the general user, I hope they would click around and ... get a sense of what people are doing. A lot of municipalities are doing great work," he says. "For the practitioner, I hope they use it systematically to find plans and use them to build even better sustainability plans."