City streets will be soundtracked by multilingual greetings from the collective voice of 400 million global citizens this week, as Edmonton welcomes the world to its doorstep.
Local Governments for Sustainability, or the ICLEI World Congress, is a gathering of municipal leaders from 67 countries and 1,100 cities every three years created to will explore solutions on environmental maintenance.
“The roots of environmental challenge are in the cities,” Mayor Stephen Mandel said yesterday. “Over 75 per cent of environmental issues come from cities … We have a lot of work to do.”
Host venue staff are doing all they can to keep the theme of the conference, and leave behind a minor carbon footprint when delegates return to their home countries.
“We wanted to find ways to take a conference about green, and make it a green conference,” said Shaw Conference Centre assistant general manager Cliff Higuchi.
The goal, he said, is for “zero waste” at the end of ICLEI. All materials coming in to the building are weighed upon arrival and departure. “The goal is to come as close to zero as we can,” he said.
In addition, all food served at the conference is locally grown, and Shaw staff have planted a working vegetable and herb garden at the base of the building’s atrium. All organics — including paper towels and napkins — will be trucked to the city’s compost site.
City initiatives this week share the green theme with the conference. Musical performances, lectures, art and photography exhibits will bolster the nature of Edmonton, and how it can be preserved.