Saturday, September 22, 2012

Covenant CapaCITY Conference

I went to two conferences back to back during Sustainability Week in Malmo.  one was the CLICC Conference and the other one was Covenant CapaCITY.  both conferences were relevant to the idea of making cities and neighborhoods more sustainable though each had a slightly different focus.  to hear my description of CLICC, read my earlier post.  to hear more about Covenant CapaCITY, read on:

Covenant CapaCITY is a multi national/ international European program, co-funded by Intelligent Energy Europe.  it is a three year program that is mostly focused on helping cities and municipalities get up to speed on creating local Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAPs) to reach the goals set by the Covenant of Mayors.  a SEAP is exactly what it sounds like, it is an attempt by the city to figure out how to move towards a better, more efficient use of energy over the short term and beyond.

what is happening in Europe around SEAPs is truly amazing.  cities are coming together, talking about what they are doing and how, and readily sharing information, best practices, and lessons learned.  everyone is benefitting from each city's experience.  in fact, many SEAPs are posted online for all to see.  here is an example of Dublin's SEAP (opens slowly!) which is well put together and contains all of the requisite information.

a SEAP is a combination of:
  1. researching, documenting, and better understanding a municipality's energy use
  2. collaborating across departments with communication and information
  3. developing ideas and strategies to create a more sustainable future

because most people live in cities, how municipalities address climate change (and share and market their methodologies and ideals) has a significant impact on human behavior as well as on overall energy consumption on the planet.  one could argue that if every city in the EU formed a comprehensive and well drafted SEAP, the overall energy creation, consumption, and distribution for the EU would vastly improve over a short period of time.  if such an approach could take place in major cities around the world and/ or in the United States, the impact would be just as significant.

if Shanghai, Mexico City or even Boston can implement strategies that directly affect or influence 50% of their populations, these ideas, directives, and approaches can touch 9 million, 5 million, or 300,000 people.  that is an opportunity that is has vast potential, especially if we are looking to make change on a massive scale around energy understanding, consumption, and creation.

so, the short version is that even though I am not a city in the European Union, I greatly enjoyed the Covenant CapaCITY Conference in Malmo.  besides learning quite a bit about what is being done in cities across Europe, I had the opportunity to meet many people who are making climate adaptation a reality on a large scale.  I must take this opportunity to say that I appreciate and applaud their efforts and I am excited by the prospect of improving our situation with respect to global warming.  they are doing amazing work and as a collective are making great strides.

for more info:
to learn more about Covenant CapaCITY from their perspective, check out their website.

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