the Good Life — the Green Life
chapter 1
The crossroads

The crossroads

The crossroads

Today we are at a crossroads. Climate change threatens our health, our natural environment, and our economic security. Not surprisingly, most of us feel overwhelmed by environmental problems of this scale – and wonder what if anything we can do about them. But as we stand at this crossroads, more and more people are finding ways to re-define our relationship to the environment. By thinking about choices in their everyday lives, and by working together to make change on a larger scale. People like David, Leanne, James, Puneet, Carolyn, Thomas, Tanya, Edith and Heather.

Learn & Act

Climate Change 101

Want a refresher about what climate change is and how it works? Check out this great video with Bill Nye The Science Guy.

The fight of our lives

Naomi Klein on why it's difficult but vital that we all come to terms with climate change.

Think global, act local

Want to connect with other people in your community who are taking action on climate change? 350.org brings people together in communities all around the world.
chapter 2
Nobody’s perfect

Nobody’s perfect

Nobody’s perfect

When we think green, most of us start with our own daily lives, by re-thinking everyday choices about what we consume, and how we get around. Like Puneet – who makes a point of not using a car.  And Tanya – who volunteers with a school program that teaches kids about growing food. So what stops more of us from living our green values? Are there ways we could make it easier for all of us to live our green values?

Learn & Act

As featured: Growing Chefs

In this chapter, Tanya talks about her volunteer work with Growing Chefs – an urban agriculture program that gets kids excited about good, healthy food. Want to learn more, or become a volunteer yourself?

Scaling up green transportation

In this chapter, Puneet talks about why it's important to live in a community where the things you need are close by – and why he loves taking public transit. To learn more about how we build complete communities and green transportation options, check out this short video.

The Queen of Green

Want to lighten your environmental footprint? Get to know the David Suzuki Foundation's "Queen of Green" for tips, advice, how-to videos, and more.
chapter 3
What is a good life?

What is a good life?

What is a good life?

Does living a green life mean we can’t have a good life? David and his family live in Surrey, British Columbia, in a neighbourhood they chose because they could live within walking distance of shops, services, and green spaces. David believes we stand to gain by dealing with climate change. That building a more sustainable, resilient society can mean a higher quality of life. If we could all meet our core needs more easily—for things like housing, food, transportation, decent jobs, and affordable child care—we could have the time to live a more powered down, less stressful life.

Learn & Act

Transition Towns

People in different parts of the world are talking about how to make the transition to sustainable, healthy communities in their local areas. Find out about events and groups near you.

Kids, parents, and climate

In this chapter David talks about how living a good, green life is a family affair. For more on this idea, here's a great conversation between Annie Leonard and Lisa Hoyos, co-founder of the organization Climate Parents.

The Future We Want

Climate change can be overwhelming to think about, and it's easy to focus only on the future we don't want. Here's a project that helps people imagine the future we do want.
chapter 4
Slow it down

Slow it down

Slow it down

We live in a fast-paced world, and it can be hard to slow down. Most of us work long hours just to make ends meet. But what does it look like when people are able to make it work? It doesn’t mean spending every day in a hammock sipping a margarita, but it can mean having the time to focus on what you enjoy most. Carolyn and Thomas live in Squamish, BC. For them, slowing down means living a little more simply, and savouring everyday pleasures – like their passion for growing and eating sustainable foods.

Learn & Act

As featured: Your local farmers market

Carolyn works as manager of the farmer's market in Squamish, BC. Want to find a market in your community? Here's a locator for farmer's markets in BC.

What do a living wage and slowing down have in common?

If you're working long hours just to pay the bills and feed your family, slowing down is a luxury you can't afford. A living wage can change that.

The Story of Stuff

Why is it so important to slow down the pace of our consumption? Annie Leonard lays it all out in this animated video.

Every bite counts

In this chapter Carolyn and Thomas talk about their passion for sustainable food. What would it take to create a sustainable food system for an entire region or province? Learn more in this Climate Justice Project report.
chapter 5
Scale it up

Scale it up

Scale it up

When James and Leanne wanted to make their home in Maple Ridge, BC, more energy efficient, they quickly learned that it’s not so simple, and it’s not cheap. But what about if 50 or 100 households in the area got on board, and instead of everyone having to re-invent the wheel, they had the benefit of an affordable, coordinated project that bulk buys goods and services? What does it take to organize with others in our communities to get things done on a bigger scale?

Learn & Act

As featured: The Now House Project

In this chapter, James talks about being inspired by The Now House Project, which is finding ways to make older homes energy efficient in creative, affordable ways.

A green industrial revolution

Retrofitting our homes and other buildings is key to reducing carbon emissions – and it creates green jobs. Learn more in this Climate Justice Project report.

The Story of Change

This animated video explores how we can go beyond making green choices on our own, as consumers, to get together as citizens to make change.
chapter 6
Bottom up, top down

Bottom up, top down

Bottom up, top down

Edith and Heather live in Port Moody, BC. Both have a history of activism – and both are wrestling with how we can scale-up green solutions to a whole province or country. They recognize there are changes needed that are bigger than what any one of us, or even and entire community, can do alone. This is where politics and governments come in – but it’s also where Edith and Heather—like many of us—get frustrated. But what if we re-think our ideas about how democracy works, and how governments involve people in big decisions?

Learn & Act

So you want to be an activist

As Edith says in this chapter, activism can be as simple as having a conversation with friends or family - and it can take off from there. If you want to equip yourself with ideas and information to get help get those conversations started—or if you want to connect with groups making change here in BC—these links will get you started.

Getting governments involved

We need our governments to bring in policies that make a good, green life possible for everyone. The Climate Justice Project has lots of examples of what this could look like in BC and Canada – from ideas for a just and sustainable food system, to how we can create good jobs and a strong economy without relying on fossil fuel extraction.
chapter 7
The future

The future

The future

The choices we make now—not just about how we live our own lives, but the decisions we make together—will determine the health of our environment, communities, jobs, and economies. Puneet, Carolyn, Thomas, David, Edith, Heather, Leanne, James, and Tanya all know our lives will be disrupted by climate change. But they also see a hopeful future, and have a vision for what it means to live a good, green life. What’s yours? How will you help make it happen?

Learn & Act

Start a conversation

...in your home/neighbourhood/community/workplace. We can help you organize a screening of this film, or connect you with local organizations working on the issues. Send us a note at goodgreen@policyalternatives.ca, and sign up for our email newsletter (form is at bottom of this page) to hear about upcoming events, new resources, and more.

Where hope and action can lead...

In this chapter, Leanne, David and the others talk about their choice to focus on hope and action. Where can that lead? Author Chris Turner gives us concrete, inspiring examples in his book, 'The Leap: How to Survive and Thrive in the Sustainable Economy'. Available from your local library or independent bookstore.

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