Kim Scott took Landmark Education’s Self-expression and leadership program in Ottawa, Canada, and in so doing created a series of public lectures on sustainable living. The local emc newspaper wrote a story about Scott’s project.
Trend-Arlington community builds towards sustainable living practices
by Kimberly Lochhead
August 29, 2008
Residents of the Trend-Arlington community showed an impressive turnout on Aug. 21 to hear lectures on solar power and how they can lead sustainable-rich lives by making their homes more environmentally friendly.
“My goal is to catalyze conversation about sustainable living,” explained Kim Scott, organizer of the event. “I want it so that every kitchen table in Trend-Arlington is talking about it. When you want change, you need to say something now.”
The lecture night was the first in a series that will continue every season. Residents are given the option to choose what topics they wish to cover under sustainability to ensure that they are based on community interest.
Ms. Scott said she organized the event as part of the Self Expression and Leadership course she is taking from Landmark Education, a company providing innovative programs about enhancing life to communities, organizations and institutions. The program encourages self-expression through community commitment.
“I had to create something in the community that gives back and didn’t exist before,” said Ms. Scott. “So I created the sustainable living seminars. The course was the kick to stop talking and do something and create.”
While she does have a career in health policy and research, Ms. Scott said she hopes other people will incorporate sustainable living into their lives and realize that it is possible.
“I want people to leave these seminars with a sense that anything is possible, that solar heat is possible and doable and is the right thing to do,” she said. “I hope they get a vision with commitment to lead our neighbourhood, community, and city towards sustainable living.”
The lecture had presentations on solar heating and how the process works. While some may have the misconception that Ottawa is too far north to use solar power efficiently, studies have verified with statistics that the city and its residents are a perfect candidate for the renewable resource.
A solar power heating system for a home requires 4.5 hours of sunlight per day. Ottawa averages 4.2 hours of sunlight a day per year, as winter sees approximately two hours and summer sees up to 6.8 hours or more.
The province is also providing new incentives to encourage people to use solar heating in their homes. Go Solar is a program of the Clean Air Foundation and is the main force behind encouraging the public on this energy source. The Ontario government provides a rebate on provincial sales tax for qualified photovoltaic energy systems (those that change sunlight into electricity). Performing a Home Energy Retrofit audit completes this.
A solar water heater is estimated to cost approximately $6,000 and with provincial and federal rebates, homeowners can receive up to $1,300. These heaters work by absorbing the sun’s energy and heating city water before it enters a home’s hot water tank. Homeowners will see savings on their energy bill over time as well as reap the benefits of conserving energy for the future
Ms. Scott has taken personal initiatives to live a sustainable live.
“I have a passive solar home, hybrid vehicle and I’m always looking to live more sustainable in every area of my life,” she said. “I compost and recycle like everyone else. My consumption patterns have gone down and I think twice about every purchase I make.”
Sustainable Ottawa is an organization offering discounts at local businesses that provide sustainable products and services. Membership costs $40 and lasts for five years.
There are many other ways to protect the environment while also creating a better quality of life.
“I have to do something,” said Ms. Scott. “It’s one thing to talk about living it, but when you have structure around ideas, then action results. We don’t have the option to do nothing. I want to leave a better world for young people.”
For more information or to be involved with future lectures, contact Kim Scott at [email protected].