Communities in Newfoundland Planning Strategically

Communities in Newfoundland are very interested in creating integrated community sustainability plans (ICSPs), but have found the challenge of putting them together and the cost of training prohibitive in meeting that goal. These communities care deeply about sustainability, but have not been able to pursue that interest–until now.

In early March, representatives from eight communities were introduced to the concept of backcasting, developing descriptions and scenarios of success using sustainability principles. The intent of the workshops was to focus specifically on “Energy and Climate Change” in the context of their Region’s ICSP and informed by The Natural Step Framework. To that end, workshop participants envisioned a desirable and sustainable future where their region has successfully anticipated, mitigated, and adapted to the impacts of climate change, while at the same time significantly reduced their region’s direct and indirect contributions of climate changing greenhouse gas emissions. Actions and strategies to support the region’s transition towards that desirable and sustainable future for energy and climate change were brainstormed and prioritized. Prior to the workshop, participants completed a current reality survey to help establish a baseline to assist with tracking progress over time.

The workshops had representatives from several communities including: Bauline, Flatrock, and Pouch Cove located on the east coast of Newfoundland; and Forteau, L’Anse au Clair, L’Anse au Loup, Red Bay, and West St. Modeste located on the Straits of Labrador. The workshops were hosted by the Conservation Corps of Newfoundland and Labrador, with financial support from the Newfoundland and Labrador Green Fund. They were facilitated by Mike Purcell from The Natural Step Canada.

Information collected from the one day workshop was synthesized into a chapter on “Energy and Climate Change” (comprising a “Description of Success,” “Description of Current Reality,” and “Strategies and Actions”) that will be included in each region’s ICSP document.

“For me, this workshop demonstrated that a one-day session is sufficient for participants to gain enough capacity around the Framework to be able to explore their community’s current reality and then create desirable and sustainable goals, objectives, and actions for a particular aspect of their community or region,” said Mike. “Further, the participants can use that same approach to focus on other aspects of their regions (i.e. transportation, food, water, arts and culture, etc.).”

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