In 2016, we identified six key priority areas as the basis for our actions and reporting moving forward.
Priority Areas were identified with the following criteria in mind:
- They represent a pressing or important local sustainability concern
- They are four pillar issues, to encourage interesting collaborations and integrative approaches.
- They are areas that the community can influence through direct action
- They reflect areas where Sustainable Kingston can help bring focus and stimulate action by connecting organizations within our network and sharing information
- They align with or complement Council’s Priorities 2015 – 2018 (understanding that council’s priorities are within the sphere of municipal control, whereas we are focusing on community initiatives).
Introducing the six Priority Areas
1. Climate Action
Climate change is today’s most significant global threat to our quality of life. This generation’s response to climate change will be our most important legacy. As a community, we have a responsibility to take action. This can happen by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, by taking advantage of the economic opportunity to grow our renewable energy production capacity, and by reducing our climate vulnerability through adaptation and emergency preparedness.
2. Food Security
Most of the food we buy comes from outside of the Kingston region and travels long distances to get here. A strong local food system is important for local economic development, climate resilience, and for providing healthy and sustainable food to our community. Supporting local farmers and ensuring access for all to healthy, nutritious food contributes to a healthy, equitable society and healthy environment.
3. Environmental Stewardship
The idea of stewardship stems from responsibility to remain accountable for the consequences of one’s actions. In understanding the interconnectedness of our ecology, we know that our human activities have direct consequences on the physical environment. Environmental stewardship calls upon the community to share the responsibility of protecting and sustaining our shared environment.
4. Economic Prosperity
Prosperous cities are cities that are not just productive; they are also inclusive, healthy, safe, resilient, and green. In Kingston, we are building on our strengths by fostering entrepreneurship and innovation. We acknowledge the important role culture and creativity play in wealth creation, and also in making Kingston a vibrant, vital community that retains students and attracts young professionals. We manage our environmental and built heritage and build creative experiences that are the basis of an authentic and successful tourism strategy.
5. Sustainable Transportation
Active and sustainable transportation enhances physical, mental, and emotional health, and provides economic and environmental benefits. A sustainable transportation system means building a city where people have the option to walk, cycle, or use public transit as the preferred means of moving from place to place. It also means addressing the social and institutional barriers that prevent people from choosing sustainable modes of transportation.
6. Sense of Community
Sense of community refers to people’s perception of interconnection and interdependence, shared responsibility and common goals. This Priority Area considers actions that improve civic engagement, lower barriers to inclusion, and make Kingston a welcoming and supportive community. Having a strong sense of community is important because it helps build social capital among residents and encourages volunteerism and citizen involvement. Also, a community that is rich in social capital provides a wealth of intelligence, sensitivity, and wisdom that will underpin and support community sustainability efforts.