When I talk with people in big business, they often tell me the biggest threat to future investment and creating more jobs is the ‘risk and uncertainty of land use approvals’. Here’s how to tip the scale back in favour of jobs and development.
First, take out your smartphone and look at it. That little marvel in your hand might be the most influential human innovation of our time. Never have we had such easy access to so much information, convenience, productivity aids and endless entertainment!
Recently I was in Davis California as an invited guest speaker. It was my first time in northern Cali and I wanted to take advantage and see the area. Not so long ago a paper map bought at the gas station would have been critical. But, armed with my IPhone on roam and Google Maps – my wife Karen and I took off on the backroads to explore Folsom, Napa, and Muir Woods aided by on-demand and free access to GPS satellites that cost $12...
Have you ever spent a whole bunch of time making a plan, and maybe not only a bunch of time, but a bunch of money putting together a very comprehensive plan for something that you want to do? And you've tried to do your due diligence. You to tried to cover all the bases, meet all the requirements, you feel like you thought about everybody’s perspective in putting together your plan. After a good long time and a fair bit of effort your plan is finally done. Then you go out and share it with a bunch of other people you think will be interested. In my experience doing that results in one of two different responses; either it’s total silence and I mean like crickets…… and nobody even wants to hear you,
Or worse, you get a bit of a backlash, or maybe some resistance or maybe even anger. Why does that happen? You know you’ve covered all the bases, you’ve met all the legal requirements, you try to do things with the best intent but it’s not...
Indicators are how you will be able to measure performance in scenario planning and implementation. Think of it just like the dashboard in a car or truck where you have a number of indicators that inform you about the performance of your vehicle. For example, you have a speedometer to tell you how fast the vehicle is moving, you have a fuel gauge so you know how much fuel is left before you hit a critical threshold of running out of gas, and you normally also have a temperature gauge so you know how hot the engine is and therefore how well your cooling system is working. These are all indicators.
Defining an appropriate set of indicators at the earliest stages of the planning process is crucial because it influences many subsequent decisions including the study area boundary, how the landscape is stratified, and what data and information will be needed.
What makes a good indicator?
How can you get people on side and supporting your project and avoid being mired in conflict and resistance? Start by doing these 5 things:
1. Be Grateful
2. Have Integrity
3. Add Value
You read that right - the process is more valuable than the product!
There are at least a zillion quotes about how important planning is to achieve success. And that is because generations of experience have proven planning to be a critical success factor – in anything you are trying to accomplish.
“ a good plan is like a road map: it shows the final destination and usually the best way to get there” - Stanley Judd.
There is a lot of wisdom in that quote beyond the obvious. Clearly we know that a road map improves our chances of a successful journey. I like to think of plans this way too – it’s a nice metaphor.
But the gold that is not so obvious to everyone, the greater wisdom, is that it is “the planning” that is of greatest value, not the plan.
it is in the planning where you
All of us find ourselves making choices about our behavior everyday - whether to act for immediate benefit or to invest in future benefits. It’s a difficult struggle that crosses many basic lines – food, exercise, finance, relationships, – the list is very long. Behavior Psychologists have shown us time and again that when we make decisions to invest in the future and delay gratification – we are more successful. But for many, perhaps most, the pain of discipline is too high when the opportunity of immediate gratification is at hand.
When we think about this struggle in terms of climate change, we can boil it down to differences in whether we are willing to accept short-term pain for long-term gain – or maybe more modestly – long-term sustain.
As an example, oil transport...
None of us has a crystal ball we can use to predict the future. Our ability to anticipate future outcomes is limited by our understanding of the complex systems we are a part of. And these systems are in constant flux - subject to both cyclical and random disruptors. The outcome of the US Election is a good reminder for us that our understanding of these systems is shallow and uncertainty is real. Despite 24 hour/day monitoring, researching and discussion for 18 months – the experts were not able to predict what happened.
And yet, we know that the choices we make today will directly influence the outcomes of the future. So, how do we go about planning for an unpredictable future with less than a full understanding of the dynamics at play? Well, to start there are 5 key drivers of change that need to be considered; social, economic, ecological, technical and political. And rarely do these drivers act independently either – it is usually a mix...
“The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller. The storyteller sets the vision, values and agenda of an entire generation that is to come.” – Steve Jobs
Did you watch Before The Flood? You should – don’t rely on the pundits to tell you what to think about it – evaluate the message for yourself. And do yourself a favour and leave your “position” on climate change at the door for 90 minutes.
Leonardo DiCaprio uses story telling to convey his message that climate change is something we should all be taking seriously. Using powerful visuals, the movie shares some of the less desirable cause // effect relationships between humans and the Earth through the industrial age. It goes on to describe the “Business As Usual” scenario for the future – that is, if we keep doing what we’ve been doing, then we should expect some very unpleasant outcomes.
Most importantly, the movie...
Read just about any Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and this is the answer you will find. And of course the project will bring significant benefits or we wouldn’t be contemplating it. #Duh
But think about this for a moment. If there are no significant negative effects, shouldn’t the environment be pretty much pristine? It’s not pristine – so what gives here?
We the public ask the assessors the wrong question. Now, I am most familiar with the process in Canada, but it is my understanding that to a large extent, EIA’s around the world approach project assessments similarly. To greatly simplify it, the question we ask those who must assess the benefits and costs of proposed projects goes something like this, “compared to today, will there be any residual (left over) negative effects after we apply mitigation (first aid)?”
The key here...