Mayor Gregor Robertson's Vancouver Will Be "Greener Than Portland"

When Mayor Gregor Robertson spoke at the Resilient Cities Conference on Tuesday, he presented plans for making Vancouver the “greenest city in the world.” Apparently Portland is our only rival. When the mayor of Portland spoke, he said the battle to be the “greenest city” is purely positive. The VO caught up with Gregor for a brief Q&A on the subject of greeness. 

VO: Do you find that the corporate sector is difficult to work with? Or do you find them to be a source of support?

Robertson: There’s huge support in the business world. Business has actually been ahead of government in terms of addressing triple bottom line business models. One third of the city’s Green Action Team consists of business people. There is real merit in a business-like approach that’s pragmatic. Corporations are the most efficient systems of organization, for better or for worse. We can use that power and efficiency to drive our goals. 

VO: How do you plan to achieve your goals for making Vancouver the “greenest” city in the world?

Robertson: We need broad uptake. We can’t just pass a by-law and expect to achieve a target. It’s all going to flow from partnerships with businesses and other levels of government. We also need to do work at the ground level. We need citizens and neighborhoods to be involved. 

VO: Do you think the citizens of Vancouver are motivated enough?

Robertson: Vancouver has a great record for citizen led initiatives. Citizens want more community gardens and non-car travel. It makes a huge difference if you combine these initiatives with leadership from city hall and then partner with businesses. We need everyone to be involved. City Hall can’t make these targets in a vacuum.  

VO: Why should the average person care?

Robertson: If we don’t achieve true sustainability within a generation, we’re in big trouble. The climate is changing faster than imaginable. Consumption and waste are threatening our future. The good news is that we stand to benefit economically and in terms of livability.

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