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03.26.15 – Liat Margolis contributes to "Canada’s Map to Sustainability" — a special issue of Alternatives Journal

Assistant Professor Liat Margolis has an article in a special issue of Alternatives Journal (A/J), which celebrates its launch at Toronto’s Green Living Show on March 27. The issue, titled Canada’s Map to Sustainability, features work by leading scholars from across country who hope to chart Canada’s path to a sustainable future.

This is the most important issue that A/J has published in our 44-year existence,” says Marcia Ruby, A/J’s publisher and executive director. “Canada is on the cusp of embracing an implementing sustainability, and this issue is our map to getting there.”

The special issue is a collaboration between A/J and Sustainable Canada Dialogues (SCD), an initiative mobilizing over 60 scholars from 10 provinces working to advance sustainability education, research, and dialogue in the face of global environmental change. More than 20 of these scholars — including Margolis — have contributed articles to the issue. Each put forward viable, science-based sustainable solutions in each of their specialized fields, including agriculture, mining, urban planning, forestry, energy, and public policy.

“In order to address Canada’s sustainability deficit, we must adopt bold new policies, practices and definitions of sustainability,” writes Catherine Potvin,a professor in the Department of Biology at MicGill University, who was the guest editor of the special issue. “The good news is that many Canadians are already thinking and acting along these lines.”

In her article, Margolis argues that “an unprecedented set of issues,” including “climate change, population growth, resource constraints and rapidly increasing urbanization” call for “a radically different approach to urban planning and design.”

As urban form may be the single largest determinant of a city’s greenhouse gas emissions, it is crucial that Canadian policy makers step up and integrate comprehensive long-term planning for climate change mitigation and adaptation into regulations and policies for urban development,” she writes.

Margolis is the director of the Green Roof Innovation Testing Laboratory (GRIT Lab) at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design. Established in 2010, The GRIT Lab is a state-of-the-art facility that tests the environmental performance of green roofs, green walls, and solar photovoltaic technologies in a Canadian urban environment.

In addition to providing a “map” to the future, Canada’s Map to Sustainability marks the beginning of a much larger initiative for A/J and SCD, who are using this issue to encourage readers across Canada to join the dialogue. The SCD Scholars have put together a position paper, Acting on Climate Change: Solutions by Canadian Scholars, which identifies 10 policy recommendations to help Canada transition toward a low-carbon economy.

*Adapted from Alternative Journal press release: Alternatives Journal and Leading Canadian Scholars Produce Canada's Map to Sustainability [PDF]