The best way to promote change, is through education. Educate the public on a better alternative, and change will follow.
This idea is at the very heart of the Saskatoon Sustainability Series, a documentary and discussion series to promote sustainability in Saskatoon. The idea for the event came following city councils decision to disregards the option for a pedestrian and cyclist only bridge. Many people, including myself, were very discouraged that the public opinion was being completely ignored. With the idea of change through education, my friend Flavio Ishii and I decided there was value in sharing the success stories of other cities by showcasing episodes from PBS e², the award-winning documentary. The first three episodes we selected highlighted sustainable solutions to similar problems Saskatoon is now facing.
For the first event, we showed the episode on Portland which highlights their urban boundary strategy which has not only reduced urban sprawl, but stimulated a denser more vibrant core. The second episode we showcased the revitalization of Melbourne’s downtown by creating more people friendly spaces. And the third event we highlighted Bogotá, which has seen an incredible reduction in crime simply by embracing cycling and public transit.
Not all these ideas can be applied in Saskatoon, but there is value in sharing the success story of others. And hopefully we can learn from them in the process.