CKL113DON RIVER

The Green* Economy

There’s plenty of a talk about the need to move toward a “green” economy, but not much consensus on exactly what that is. If electric vehicle sales are up but manufacturers cut traditional auto mechanic shops off from their livelihood, is that an economic win? If politicians protect waterways because it’s a cost-efficient way of mitigating floods, is that an environmental success? Can a big bank’s emissions promises truly co-exist with its hunger for profit?  

At the end of the day, can cash ever be green? 

To consider that question, The Narwhal is once again teaming up with our friends at The Local, a non-profit online magazine covering urban health and social issues in Toronto that loves beautiful photos as much as we do. Over the next two weeks, we’ll be looking at how climate commitments and money intersect in Canada’s largest city. 

A green banner reading "The Green* Economy, a collaboration between The Narwhal and The Local"
Illustration: Shawn Parkinson / The Narwhal

Along with electric vehicles, the value of nature and fossil-fuel financing, we’ll dive into the startling truth about one of the continent’s most outwardly sustainable companies, which has left a trail of environmental violations, out-of-compliance warnings, fires at its facilities, and complaints from its neighbours in its wake. Other stories cover the true cost of climate-proof buildings and the future of an energy behemoth that sends most Ontarians a bill every month. The stories will appear on this page as they’re published, as well as on The Local. 

We’re calling our series The Green* Economy, with an asterisk to show how hard it is to define an environmentally-friendly economy. It’s an urgent task, though, as Torontonians grapple with inflation while heading into one long, hot summer. 

“Green” can’t mean greenish, or green-in-spirit or, worst of all, green-washed. Because money might make the world go round — but a healthy economy isn’t more important than a healthy planet. 

If Canada wants to be an international biodiversity leader, it has to start at home

Rodrigo Estrada Patiño is program director at Greenpeace Canada. Stephen Hazell is president of Ecovision Law and was executive director of both Sierra Club Canada...

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An illustration, in yellow, of a computer, with an open envelope inside it with letter reading 'Breaking news.'