“Sustainability” is a word that can leave you feeling inspired and frustrated at the same time. Somehow, we still seem to be struggling to define and understand this term in a tangible way.

It’s easy enough to get behind sustainability as a concept, but we can all appreciate the difficulty in getting sustainable initiatives off the ground. It can often be tough just to get sustainability on the agenda, particularly when there is a long list of other “to do’s” that seem more pressing or concrete.

It’s because of these obstacles that AMO developed our new “Leading with Sustainability” workshop, as part of AMO’s Councillor Training Program. Sustainable municipal planning has never been simple, but it does not need to be painful. Our workshop is designed to be practical and as jargon-free as possible. It’s a difficult subject to tackle, but we still think it can be done in a lighter way.

With that in mind, don’t forget to watch AMO’s “Sustainability 101” video, a primer for the workshop – and a different take on sustainability for municipalities.

In reality, it takes much more than an understanding of sustainable principles to integrate sustainability into municipal planning. It also takes vision, leadership and collaboration. Our new workshop will help municipal leaders deliver on the principles and actually achieve results.

At AMO, we believe that the success of sustainable development is deeply rooted in municipal initiatives. As the order of government that is closest to its citizens, municipalities have the greatest potential to build support for sustainable initiatives in their communities. Fortunately, Ontario municipalities have already started leading the way.

For our part, we’ve tried to highlight and share some municipal success stories with our membership. We’ve also aimed to support our members in realizing tangible progress towards greater sustainability.

Our Sustainability Planning Toolkit for Municipalities in Ontario was a big part of this. This guide provides a set of practical tools and advice to help build support, engage key stakeholders and form partnerships to integrate sustainability into municipal planning across all sectors and services.

It also shares experiences from over 20 municipalities across Ontario, demonstrating municipal best practices in sustainability planning and implementation. In all of these cases, strong leadership and strategic skills were needed to build the momentum and consensus to turn the abstract into the concrete.

AMO’s “Leading with Sustainability” workshop was designed with this skill-set in mind. Skills that support your ability to ‘sell’ and ‘leverage,’ because it takes more than a councillor or a council to get sustainable initiatives off the ground – it takes a community. Participants will develop their understanding of what makes people tick and how decisions are made, and learn how to use this knowledge to build stronger partnerships and consensus around difficult short and long term actions.

The first round of “Leading with Sustainability” is scheduled to take place this spring. It will be open to all municipal council members and heads of administration, in a number of different locations across the province, and at a very affordable price.
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