Ottawa loves a doughnut. This was made abundantly clear when over 400 people gathered digitally on March 31 to discuss how “Doughnut Economics” could lead to a more equitable and sustainable Ottawa.
The event featured speakers Andrew Fanning of Doughnut Economics Action Lab (DEAL), Jennifer Johana Drouin of the Amsterdam Doughnut Coalition, Kim Scott of the Kishk Anaquot Health Research, and Khulud Baig of the City for All Women Initiative.
Andrew Fanning introduced Doughnut Economics. Originated by economist Kate Raworth, Doughnut Economics consists of two concentric rings: a social foundation to ensure that no one is missing out on life’s essentials, and an ecological ceiling ensuring we protect the Earth. These concentric rings form the Doughnut – a space where humanity can thrive.
Currently, no country falls within the Doughnut, meeting the social needs of its population without exceeding planetary boundaries. “We need to reimagine what it means to achieve human prosperity in the 21st century with a vision that doesn’t include endless expansion everywhere,” said Andrew Fanning. “What we need is a lot of humility and ambition to transform this picture.”
DEAL uses city portraits to help translate the Doughnut to the local level through four lenses: global, local, ecological, and social. Cities around the world are engaging with the Doughnut, including in Portland, Philadelphia and Amsterdam.
Jennifer Drouin shared stories from the Amsterdam Doughnut Coalition, a bottom-up movement of engaged citizens working to make Amsterdam a Doughnut city. Amsterdam has committed to being a circular city by 2050 and is using the Doughnut model to tackle issue like housing affordability and COVID-19 challenges, including loneliness and food security, through a social and ecological lens.
Kim Scott connected the Doughnut to the local context, discussing housing affordability, Indigenous leadership, clean energy transition, food sovereignty, waste management and the need to take a critical look at how land ownership is viewed. “Culture lives in language and if we want to change a community or a nation or a life, we have to say something new,” said Kim Scott.
Khulud Baig emphasized the need to draw on the lived expertise and experiences of people in our city in shaping a greener, more just, and healthier city. She challenged us to ask braver questions about how city planning impacts diverse communities in Ottawa.
Rethinking how Ottawa is designed is on the agenda at City Hall with Official Plan discussions already underway. The Official Plan will determine Ottawa’s shape for decades to come. An Official Plan, based on the Doughnut model, could lead the way to a thriving city that respects the wellbeing of its people and the planet.
Robb Barnes, Executive Director of Ecology Ottawa, left us with a message about engaging in the city planning process: “There are so many different areas in which you can feed in over the next six months to let your counsellor know that you care, that you’re watching, and that the way we build our city matters to you and to future generations.”
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Ecology Ottawa would like to thank the Community Associations for Environmental Sustainability (CAFES) for co-hosting this event, and the broad coalition of community organizations who co-sponsored: Councillors Mathieu Fleury, Shawn Menard, Catherine McKenney, Jeff Leiper, Rawlson King and Theresa Kavanaugh, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Ottawa, Glebe Community Association, Lowertown Community Association, Hintonburg Community Association, Manor Park Community Association, Ottawa South Eco-Action Network, Enviro Crew of Old Ottawa South, 613 819 Black Hub, Gotta Go! Campaign, Efficiency Canada, The College of the Humanities (Carleton University), Bike Ottawa, Succession, Greenspace Alliance, Just Food, City for all Women Initiative, Group of 78, Peace and Environment Resource Centre, For Our Kids Ottawa-Gatineau, First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa.