the Transformative Learning Centre of OISE-UT presents

The Green Economy


Practical Strategies to

Create Community-based



Fridays, 6:30-9:30 pm,

March 14 to May 16, 2008


Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, U of Toronto, 252 Bloor St. W.

(directly above St. George subway stop)

Eightth Floor, Room 8- 214



Our ordinary mind always tries to persuade us that we are nothing but acorns and that our greatest happiness will be to become bigger, fatter, shinier acorns; but that is of interest only to pigs. Our faith gives us knowledge of something better: that we can become oak trees.”           --E.F. Schumacher


Registration, Fees and General Information: click here



Schedule :  Speakers and Topics  


March 14    

Principles of Green Economics and Introductions

with Brian Milani, course coordinator and author of Designing the Green Economy.  In this class, we’ll introduce ourselves, and look at the principles that make green economics a holistic paradigm of economic development.  What makes this perspective based on ecological alternatives different from one based on environmental protection?  

See:  What is Green Economics? by Brian Milani

Powerpoint Presentation: Intro to the Green Economy


A few key links:

Green Enterprise Toronto (GET)

Coalition for a Green Economy

Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE)

Business & Environment program, York U FES

Transformative Learning Centre

Social Economy Centre

Institute for Local Self-Reliance  (David Morris)

FEASTA: Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability (Richard Douthwaite)

Redefining Progress

Zero Waste Alliance


March 20   

The Built Environment

with Martin Liefhebber, green architect and community designer.  Martin is an award-winning designer most well-known for the off-the-grid CMHC Healthy House, but the scope of his pioneering work includes straw bale, rammed earth and “earthship” buildings, as well as radically affordable shelter for the homeless and participatory community design.  Social justice, human health, ecological regeneration, community vitality and spiritual renewal are all part of Martin’s design concerns.   He is proficient in both the theory and practice of ecological design, serving as an adjunct assistant professor of architecture at the University of Toronto.  Along with Greg Allen (see below), Martin was presented a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to green building and sustainable communities at the 2005 at the Toronto Regional Green Building Festival. 

feature:  Elvira Cordileone, “Eco-Friendly Designer: Self-sustaining houses are  architect’s goal,” Toronto Star, Sept. 25, 2004


See these other articles:

Breathe By Association / Liefhebber Architects

The Shaw House for Seniors (Martin’s strawbale co-design with Ian Trites)

Green Development Standard, Toronto          Canada Green Building Council, Toronto

Toronto Regional Green Building Festival           Green Building Alliance

                               Pattern   (Christopher Alexander)


Just Homes (Roger Algie) (Andy Thomson)

Monica Kuhn Architect

Better Buildings Partnership

Live Lightly Developments

Environmental Building News

Healthy Building Network

Rocky Mountain Institute

Urban Space Property Group



Ontario Straw Bale Building Coalition

Global Ecovillage Network

US Green Building Council (USGBC)

Deconstruction Institute

Healthy House Institute

The Last Straw

Rammed Earth Works


March 28        

Green Work for Social Justice

with John Cartwright, president, Labour Council of Toronto and York Region.

John hails from the Carpenters union and is a former head of the Building Trades Council, where he was instrumental in advancing green building initiatives.  One of Canada’s most visionary labour leaders, he has a keen understanding of both the job-creation and quality-of-life potentials of eco-development.  He is an outspoken advocate of community development, municipal democracy and healthy cities.  But achieving these goals, he insists, depends on including all workers in the process and providing good living wage jobs to the region.  John will provide a Green Labour perspective on ecological economic development for Toronto. 



§       Labour Council of Toronto and York Region

§       Labour Council Environment Forum

§       Low Income Energy Network, Ontario

§      Green Worker Coops (New York City)

§       Inner City Development (Winnipeg)

§       Apollo Alliance

§      Blue-Green Alliance: United Steelworkers and Sierra Club

§      Good Work Canada


April 4

Sustainable Transportation

with Beth Jones  A veteran activist with a long resume of environmental and social justice involvement, Beth has also been an innovator, particularly in the realm of sustainable transportation—co-founding Moving the Economy, the City of Toronto-supported organization spawned by the groundbreaking 1998 conference of the same name. Beth’s work at MTE helped lay the groundwork for a New Mobility Hub in the Toronto region—combining local and regional transit, bike-sharing, bike lockers, a taxi-hotline, car-sharing services and more.  The Mobility Hubs have been taken up by Greater Toronto Transportation Authority (now Metrolinx) as part of their strategy for the GTA.  Beth has also worked as transit advocate for the Toronto Environmental Alliance and consults on sustainable transportation issues.


Articles & Links


 See these links:

·         Moving the Economy

·         Amalgamated Transit Union's Worth a Million Campaign

·         Metrolinx

·         Toronto AutoShare

·         Community Bicycle Network  

·         I Bike T.O.

·         Take the Tooker

·         Victoria Transport Planning Institute

·         Global Development Resource Centre: Transportation


Also check out these links, courtesy of Amy Stein:

Ø             The Year of Living Carlessly

Ø             Bicycle Neglect (Alan Durning)





April 11

Community Indicators of Real Wealth

with Mini Alakkatusery and Rosalyn Morrison,  Toronto Community Foundation on Toronto’s Vital Signs  

A green economy is about much more than environmental protection. It is about a transition to new forms of qualitative development. Regeneration of communities goes hand-in-hand with ecosystem regeneration. This requires many new measures of quality, from Genuine Progress Indicators, to eco-footprints, to life-cycle assessments, to firm sustainability reporting, to social and health statistics, to community indicators.  Community is important not only because it is the base for decentralized eco-technologies in energy, food, recycling, etc., but because it is where quality of life is a lived experience.  Community indicators have to synthesize and encapsulate all our knowledge about life in easily understandable and actionable ways. 

Articles and Links

·        Toronto Star special section: Vital Signs Report 2007, Star Oct. 2, 2007

·        Toronto’s Vital Signs 2007 Report

·        Ontario Community Sustainability Report 2007, Pembina Institute report

·        Linda Baker,  Real Wealth: The Genuine Progress Indicator Could Provide an Environmental Measure of the Planet's Health”, E Magazine, Volume X, Number III, May-June 1999  

·        Well-Being Manifesto, New Economics Foundation, Sept. 2004

·        Neighorhood Sustainability Indicators Guidebook: How to create neighorhood sustainability indicators in your neighborhood, Urban Ecology Coalition, Minneapolis, 1999

·        Sustainable Measures (Maureen Hart)

·        Redefining Progress

·        Sustainable Seattle

·        Global Footprint Network


April 18  

Network Economics & the New Electronic Commons

with Michael Pilling, High

In the last 15 years, a new sector of largely non-market networked information-sharing and mass collaboration has arisen in the interstices of the old industrial information economy. Not only has it provided new possibilities for individual autonomy and social cooperation, but it also promises more fundamental transformations of our economy and society.  While the dominant software and electronics giants design for monopoly and obsolescence, a growing band of merry collaborators, software anarchists and database developers are pioneering new political and economic relationships. 


Michael Pilling is a pioneer in actualizing new informational potentials for political and economic participation.  Chief Editor at and founder of the Open Politics Foundation, Michael has a background that spans public policy, writing, the creative arts and web development. In 2004, as Head of Platform and Research for the Green Party of Canada, he designed, with the help of other party activists, a process called the living platform which enabled the decentralized creation of a party platform on the internet.  He is the technical coordinator of Green Enterprise Toronto’s wiki-directory project.

         Essays / Articles

·        Yochai Benkler, A Moment of Opportunity and Challenge, Chapter 1 of The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom, Yale U. Press, 2005

·        Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams, Introduction and Chapter One “Wikinomics: The Art & Science of Peer-Production,” from Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything (Portfolio/Penguin, 2006)

·        Laurence Lessig, “Some Like It Hot: Piracy & culture,” Wired magazine, Issue 12.03 (March 2004)

·        Jeffrey Chester: “Google: Search and Data Seizure,” The Nation, Sept. 28, 2007


    Video: Laurence Lessig: How Creativity is Being Strangled by the Law


Check Out/ Recommended:

Ø      Douglas Rushkoff, Open Source Democracy: How online communication is changing offline politics, Project Guttenberg e-book

Ø      What Is a Wiki? and how to use one, O’Reilly Network

Ø      Pharos Project wiki, Healthy Building Network green materials

Ø      Interra Project Overview

Ø      Open

Ø      Laurence Lessig

Ø      Paul Hawken, Natural Capital Institute, Blessed Unrest video

Ø      Wiser Earth database, Natural Capital Institute


 April 25

The Soft Energy Path & Community Power

 with Roberto Garcia, Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA)

Roberto has more than 5 years of experience in planning, management, consulting, communications/marketing and finance in the public, private and international development sectors. He holds a bachelor degree in Commerce from Concordia University, with a specialization in Management information Systems and eCommerce and is currently pursuing a Master in Environmental Studies degree focused on community-based energy at York University.

also check out these articles:


                           …and these links:

Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA)       

Energy Action Council of Toronto  (EnerACT)

WindShare / Toronto Renewable Energy Cooperative

Sustainable Edge


Renewable Energy Policy Project




May 2 

A Local-Sustainable Food System

with Mike Schreiner.

Mike Schreiner is Vice President of Local Food Plus, and co-founder of WOW Foods, a Toronto-based home delivery service for organic food that for ten years has linked consumers with local organic farmers. After growing up on a conventional grain and livestock farm, Mike earned Bachelor degrees in business administration and history, as well as a Masters in history. A former member of the Toronto Food Policy Council, Mike is also a board member of Green Enterprise Toronto. 

                          Mike’s Powerpoint Presentation

      feature readings:

·        Catherine Porter, “Food Growers Target Customers with a Conscience,” Toronto Star Oct. 3, 2007

·        Wayne Roberts, “U of T's Plate-Side Revolution: Sustainable food initiative could serve up a banquet of change if campuses use their massive buying clout,” NOW magazine, Sept. 21-27, 2006

·        David Morris, “Is Eating Local the Best Choice?”, AlterNet, Sept. 2007


 Further Reading:Real Food for a Change

·        Richard Manning, “The Oil We Eat: Following the Food Chain Back to Iraq”, Harper's Magazine, February 2004

·        Wayne Roberts, “Slaves to the Sheaf: Blame our addiction to wheat for rising prices, not hungry 3rd-Worlders  NOW magazine, March 2008

·        Wes Jackson, “Natural Systems Agriculture: A Radical Alternative”, The Land Institute website, April 17, 2001

·        Rebecca Spector, “Regaining Connections Between Farmers and Consumers”, Environmental News Network, Oct. 11, 2002; reprinted from Fatal Harvest: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture (Island Press, 2002)

·        A Review of Canadian Food Safety Policy and Its Effectiveness in Addressing Health Risks for Canadians, by Rod MacRae and James Alden, report for Pollution Probe, Nov. 2002


Growing Green: Oakland’s People’s Grocery (CNBC clip)

The Global Gardener: Bill Mollison on Permaculture (Tropics, best on principles)


Sustainable Food Action Movies:

Store Wars: “Not long ago in a supermarket not so far away…”

The Meatrix: Take the red pill (don’t worry, it’s organic)

The Ground Under Overtown: Permaculture in Miami’s poor black community



May 9 

Socially-Responsible Investment

            with Susan Henry of Alterna Savings

 Susan has over 10 years of experience in the micro-finance arena, including program development, community development and outreach, member service, and revenue growth. She is currently the Community Economic Development Specialist at Alterna Savings, where she and has successfully managed the Community Micro Loan Program for over five years. Prior, Susan was a Business Loan Specialist at the Calmeadow Metrofund in Toronto. At Alterna Savings, Susan has helped over 373 micro entrepreneurs achieve their goals through lending, coaching, educational and networking events and more.


 Articles & Links

·        Susan Henry,  Good Practice in Business Development Services: How do we enhance entrepreneurial skills in Microfinance Institution Clients?, paper presented to International Microcredit Summit, Halifax N.S., November 2006

·        What is Microcredit?, Wikipedia

·        Marshall Glickman and Marjorie Kelly, “Working Capital: Can socially responsible investing make a great green leap forward?”, E magazine, March/April 2004,  vol. XV, no. 2

·        Woody Tasch, “Slow Money: Or, Why It’s Not Just How Much or How Little Money, But the Speed of Money, that Defines Who We Are as a People and Where We Are Heading as a Civilization,” More Than Money journal, no. 37

·        Michael Jantzi Research Associates, Socially-responsible Investment in Canada: A market backgrounder, 2003 

·        Studies of Socially-Responsible Investing, UC-Berkeley

·        The End of Poverty: Interview with the Grameen Bank’s Muhammad Yunus

·        Social Investment Organization

·        Social Capital Partners


May 16 

Green Economic Free-for-All

with Wayne Roberts and Greg Allen. 

This year’s course closes with a bang, featuring two of Toronto’s most visionary pioneers of green economic development.

Wayne Roberts is the innovative coordinator of the City of Toronto’s Food Policy Council, two-fisted politics & economics commentator for NOW magazine, and Toronto’s all-purpose green economics guru.  He has a doctorate in labour history and economics, and a background in a number of movements for social change. In 1992, he helped co-found the Coalition for a Green Economy, and soon co-authored the classic work of practical green economic strategies, GET A LIFE! How to make a good buck, Dance around the dinosaurs, and Save the world while you're at it (Toronto: Get a Life Publishers, 1995).  A realization of the pivotal position of the food system for social change led him increasingly to focus on food as a means of connecting the wide-ranging social, cultural, political, health, economic, and ecological benefits of green development.  He co-authored another classic Real Food for a Change  in 1999 with Lori Stahlbrand and Rod MacRae. 


Greg Allen—of Sustainable Edge consulting, the Energy Action Council of Toronto (EnerACT), and the Canadian Green Building Council—has for over 30 years has been one of Canada’s leading eco-engineers, at the cutting edge of innovation in renewable energy, natural systems-based design, appropriate technology, living machines, eco-building, and community-based organization to implement all these things.   He has been a catalyst of many of those initiatives that have established Toronto’s reputation for green-alternatives, including EnerACT, the Urban Environment Centre, Green$aver, the Toronto Renewable Energy Cooperative (WindShare), the Boyne River Ecology School, Deep Lake Cooling, and the Better Buildings Partnership.  Along with Martin Liefhebber (see above), Greg was presented a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to green building and sustainable communities at the 2005 at the Toronto Regional Green Building Festival; and this year the City honoured him with a Green Toronto Award for Leadership at the Green Living Festival.  Greg is now working as a sustainable design strategist for HOK architects.


See Greg speak at City Hall, Dec. 2006



Some articles by Wayne:

·        The Way to a City’s Heart is Through Its Stomach: Putting Food Security on the Urban Planning Menu, Toronto Food Policy Council report

·    Cover ImageDawn of Dion : Dion win could spark a grand Green multi-party alliance,” NOW magazine, December 7 - 13, 2006 | vol. 26 no. 14

·        Carbon Tax, Bring It On: Quebec's bold move leaves Ontario in the dust as transformative eco tax forces polluters to cough up,” NOW magazine, June 22 - 28, 2006 | vol. 25 no. 43

·        Soil is Our Best Carbon Trapper—if only conventional agriculture weren’t churning it up,” NOW, Feb. 2007

·        Chain Reaction: Free the economy by breaking the addiction to namebrand stores,”  Now magazine, Dec. 16-23, 2004



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