Environmental Promotion and Education Program
The Region has demonstrated exemplary environmental leadership by implementing numerous environmental initiatives including energy efficiency, water conservation, water resource protection, recycling, composting, recovering energy from waste, growth management, transit, green purchasing, pesticide reduction, brownfield rehabilitation as well as forest and trail development. However, during the public consultation phase of the Region's Corporate Strategic Planning process for 2007-2010, the environment scored high as a community priority yet participants indicated that they believed the Region was not doing enough for the environment. This indicated a need for an improvement in the Region's communication efforts regarding the Region's involvement in environmental initiatives. Also, in a survey, local residents indicated more educational information from the Region would make it easier for them to contribute to the preservation and protection the environment.
Goal of the Environmental Promotion and Education Program
To provide an integrated program promoting awareness and action amongst the Region of Waterloo, organizational stakeholders and the public with regard to identifying and reducing our impact on the environment as a community.
- To raise general awareness amongst staff and the community about the importance of reducing negative impacts on environment from various activities
- To increase knowledge and participation amongst the community regarding effective options to reduce our environmental footprint
- To develop and coordinate environmental promotional, training and educational efforts for staff regarding Regional operations, programs and services
- To provide accessible information that monitors progress in meeting the goals and objectives of the strategy (progress indicators)
Strategic Plan - Environmental Promotion and Education Program
Read the draft outline of a Promotion and Education Plan for 2009/2010
Five different fact sheets have been developed to illustrate some of the environmental programs and services that are offered to the community. Click the links below to view:
Environmental Promotion and Education Initiatives include:
ECOFest is an integrated approach to promoting environmental sustainability by:
- Engaging families in fun/festival environment and encouraging their commitment to small changes that can make a difference to the environment;
- Show that the Region is working to reduce impacts on the environment; and
- Provide a vision of sustainability and environmental initiatives for the future.
The Region has organized this community event since 2008. On June 2nd, 2012, over 1100 visitors from across Ontario came to enjoy activities offered at ECOFest.
Environmental Sustainability Progress Indicator Website
In 2009, the Region launched the Sustainability Progress Indicator website to monitor and communicate our progress in moving Towards Regional Environmental excellence (TREE). In 2013, this site was re-developed, providing detailed information in graphic and written formats that we hope is clear and easy to read. Additionally, the Region of Waterloo website promotes many of the Regional environmental initiatives on the 'About the Environment' pages. These sites are available to the public and are updated regularly to keep the public informed on Regional environmental initiatives, progress and opportunities for the public to participate in environmental sustainability.
TravelWise is a program aimed at reducing the number of people driving alone to work. Partnering with employers across the region, TravelWise provides strategies and services to encourage more employees to travel to work on foot, by bike, on transit or in a carpool. In 2012, the Region placed first in Ontario for our population category for the third year in a row, and second across Canada and engaged approximately 2000 commuters from 72 organizations, resulting in:
• 29,901kg of reduced greenhouse gas emissions
• 11,859 litres of saved fuel
• 1,586,027 calories burned
Corporate Sustainability Culture
New employees are educated on the many environmental initiatives that the Region undertakes and encouraged to make personal steps to reduce their environmental footprint. Staff are encouraged to embrace environmental considerations in day-to-day decision making and activities to improve the sustainability of the Region's operations, programs and service.
The Region has engaged in partnerships with significant community environmental partners to coordinate environmental efforts and provide a unified message to the broader community when promoting public action. Partnerships include Sustainable Waterloo Regional Carbon Initiative, Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Partners for Climate Protection program and REEP Green Solutions.