June 6, 2024

It’s easy to get caught up in the tasks and deadlines of our work and forget to think about the big picture of our efforts. To recognize Canadian Environment Week we thought it a good exercise to take a step back and reflect upon why we do what we do. Sure, we have our annual goals and objectives, but the foundation of our work here at the Smart Prosperity Institute (SPI) is simple: a thriving environment and economy and their role in building a better future for Canada.

Whether researching the skills workers need to support the country’s net-zero targets, navigating farmers through the carbon offset market or the collaborative work we do in partnership with some of Generate Canada's Solution Spaces, we do so to nurture our shared vision of a strong and inclusive economy that thrives within nature’s limits.

To reflect on the meaning of this week, we invited members of our team and our peers at Generate Canada’s Solution Spaces to share one positive contribution they hope to make individually in their role or as a team to achieve our organizations’ shared vision.

Here’s what they had to say:

“Natural systems are fundamental to life. Nature gives us delicious food, clean drinking water, and an incredible sense of wonder that I feel fortunate enough to be reliving for the first time through my childrens’ eyes. Through our team’s work, we aim to recapture that sense of limitless possibility and mutual respect we experience when first discovering the world around us, and translate this into an understanding of natural systems as the building blocks of more resilient and prosperous communities.”
Michael Twigg, Program Director, Land-use, Nature, Agriculture (LUNA), Smart Prosperity Institute

“Our research networks are the connective tissue between policy and academic research. They build research ecosystems by gathering researchers into emerging policy areas and translating the results into actionable recommendations to help build a stronger, cleaner economy. SPI also strengthens Canada's environmental economic policy capacity by funding graduate students and professors who conduct original, policy-relevant research that helps build a better future.”
Geoff McCarney, Senior Director of Research, Smart Prosperity Institute

“Today, there is a critical need to develop a skilled workforce to address our biggest environmental challenges. SPI's research helps identify the knowledge, expertise and abilities that are required to accelerate Canada's net-zero transition. It aims to create an inclusive and equitable skills ecosystem that will empower the problem-solvers and innovators of tomorrow.”
Hem Dholakia, Senior Research Associate, Workforce Skills, Smart Prosperity Institute

“I think that a lot of the world’s problems are, at their core, communication problems. The root of communication is the idea of sharing, joining, and “to make common”. Our climate change and biodiversity crises are not environmental issues. They are social issues with an environmental impact. I hope, in my role at SPI, to help socialize the solutions we’re working on and mobilize positive change.”
Malorie Bertrand, Director of Communications, Smart Prosperity Institute

“We are committed to finding solutions to secure long-term funding for conservation, restoration, and stewardship activities in Canada, especially Indigenous-led ones. This is critical for achieving our biodiversity and climate goals, and for preserving the social, cultural, and economic benefits that nature provides.”
The Nature Investment Hub team

“CANZA is building relationships with stakeholders across the agriculture space and working collaboratively with these partners to rapidly advance solutions and systems that enable a more resilient and lower-impact agriculture industry across Canada — one that can be celebrated and act as a leading example for others making this shift.”
Nick Betts, Managing Director, Canadian Alliance for Net-zero Agri-food

“Circular Economy Leadership Canada is working to create the knowledge, networks, and opportunities to accelerate the circular economy across Canada. We aim to retain the highest value from our resources for as long as possible, designing out waste and leveraging innovative business models focused on optimal material use, reuse, repair, refurbishment, recycling, and nature regeneration.”
Paul Shorthouse, Managing Director, Circular Economy Leadership Canada