The Second Annual Conference on Gross National Happiness The Second International Conference on Gross National Happiness
Outcomes & Follow-Up
Dec. 16, 2005 The Chronicle Herald, Halifax, Nova Scotia
A Step forward
By Chad Park and Tamara Lorincz

Many of the social and environmental consequences of unsustainable production and consumption are first noticed at the community level, because this is where we live and work. In communities across Nova Scotia, we see first-hand how smog, clearcutting, pesticide runoff, mining, dragnet fishing and factory-farming are contaminating our air, land and water and depleting natural resources, and how homelessness and poverty are causing despair.

Municipal governments are charged with planning our development and managing our waste, water, energy, transportation and social systems. While municipalities are critical players in creating sustainable communities, they cannot do it alone. All groups in a community must be engaged and contributing to sustainable solutions. However, the interests of these groups are so complex and diverse that a clear path toward a sustainable community is often difficult to negotiate.

To overcome this challenge, many communities around the world and in Canada, including the Halifax Regional Municipality, are using The Natural Step. The Natural Step is a framework that provides an elegant, rigorous and scientific understanding of sustainability together with a field-tested planning approach. The framework gives decision-makers a common perspective and a foundation for working together toward sustainability.

Founded in Sweden in 1989, The Natural Step is now an international organization based in 12 countries. The Natural Step has gained international recognition, including The Blue Planet Prize and Mikhail Gorbachev’s Green Cross Millennium Award for International Leadership. The Natural Step Canada was formed in 1996 and supports the growing network of organizations, businesses and communities using the framework for sustainability.

For example, the resort municipality of Whistler, B.C., has adopted the Natural Step framework for its sustainable community planning. At the United Nations-endorsed International Awards for Livable Communities ceremony in Spain last month, Whistler was awarded first place in the Planning for the Future category for its long-term sustainability plan entitled Whistler 2020: Moving toward a Sustainable Future.

The Whistler plan charts a course that is compelling both in its visionary integration of social, ecological and economic factors, and in its practical action plan that involves all the major stakeholders in the community, not just the municipal government. More information about Whistler’s plan can be found at

Communities in Nova Scotia can use The Natural Step to start their journey toward sustainability as well. To envision a sustainable future for our province, the Genuine Progress Index Atlantic and the Nova Scotia Environmental Network are holding a free public presentation on The Natural Step, today (Dec. 16) from noon to 1:30 p.m. in Room 1028, Rowe Management Building, Dalhousie University, 6100 University Ave.

Chad Park is a sustainability adviser with The Natural Step Canada (, and Tamara Lorincz is co-ordinator of the Nova Scotia Environmental Network (
Dec. 16, 2005 Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Toward Sustainable Communities:
An Introduction to The Natural Step (TNS)
Poster (152K PDF)
Friday, December 16, 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Room 1028, Rowe Management Building
6100 University Avenue

Light lunch included. Please bring your reusable mug. Free public presentation. All Welcome!

A presentation on The Natural Step (TNS) Framework, a methodology for planning that provides an elegant, rigorous, science-based understanding of sustainability together with a tested planning approach to translate that understanding into practice. Participants will learn about the principles of the TNS Framework and how it is being applied in communities and businesses in Canada and around the world. Organizations using the TNS Framework include: the Regional Municipality of Whistler, the Town of Canmore, Interface Inc., and more than 60 municipalities in Sweden. Come and learn about this important tool for sustainability - we all can play a role for a sustainable future. A not-to-miss presentation!

Speaker: Chad Park, B.Comm., M.Sc. - As Sustainability Advisor with TNS Canada, Chad works with organizations and communities to support the use of the TNS Framework as a tool for sustainability planning and education. A past National President of AIESEC Canada, his background also includes sustainability-related experience with Mountain Equipment Co-op, the Canadian Eco-Industrial Network, Sustainability Asset Management, the ZERI Foundation, and VanCity Credit Union.

Organized by the Genuine Progress Index Atlantic (GPI) and the Nova Scotia Environmental Network (NSEN)

Sponsored by the Society for Corporate Environmental and Social Responsibility (CESR)

For more information on The Natural Step Canada, please visit:

For more information about the event, please phone NSEN: 454-6846 or email:
The Natural Step
Halifax Regional Municipality Sustainability Analysis (576K PDF)
September 2004
Nov. 18-19, 2005 Oak Island, Nova Scotia
Building Sustainable Development
Moving Atlantic Canada forward as a model of socially and environmentally responsible development.

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