Eco-City Initative

A Biosphere Eco-City is an urban area and surrounding countryside where cooperation ensures that everyone’s actions can contribute to sustainability.

BEC Canada Vision

Canadian Biosphere Eco-Cities strengthening each other nationally and internationally

A world culture of sustainability, achieved by cities through engagement and cooperation

BEC Canada Mission

  • Promote the use of BEC Themes & Tools to engage Canadians in sustainability
  • Connect Canadian Biosphere Eco-Cities to promote their success
  • Mentor and support new Biosphere Eco-Cities
  • Show Canadians how the BEC approach benefits them
  • Export the BEC concept to other countries

Sustainability Themes

Movement of goods and people
Energy for buildings, transportation, mining, and production
Design of buildings, infrastructure, and products
Non-motorized recreation, outdoor activities
Natural Capital
Natural resources used by people
Sense of Place
Feeling of belonging that leads to stewardship for that place

Tools of Engagement

Collection of sustainability project summaries to inform, inspire & connect
Projects are organized by Theme of Sustainability, so viewers can follow their area of interest. They learn what others are doing, and can contact project owners for more details, or even to participate in a project. Browsing the Database is also a good introduction to sustainability.

Show the methods used to address sustainability
Demonstration projects may be technical, but results can be communicated in language that everyone understands.

A demonstration project in a community may be done to

  • a) test an idea,
  • b) show that it can be done (to inspire others), or
  • c) as a pilot leading to a large project.

Created by members of an organization (or school, community) as their agenda for action.

Members of the organization will discuss and choose several sustainability issues, and projects to address them, for all 10 Themes of Sustainability. These are listed in the sustainability plan as individual or group projects. Everyone in the organization is asked to pick a project and do it.

Sustainability discussion and action forum for organizations on sustainability

Open to any organization in the city, not just environmental groups. May include presentations, table discussions and open forums. Can lead to project proposals. One organization might take the lead, but partnerships are welcome for project planning and implementation.

Public workshops which explore a single Theme of Sustainability

Themes of Sustainability are broad and this is an opportunity to discuss topics within them. An Ottawa Habitat Workshop discussed: natural area conservation, plant and animal diversity, wildlife protection, wetland improvement, and herbicide impacts on beneficial insects.

The Biosphere and Us

Understanding our relationship with the Earth

What do we mean by Biosphere, Biome, and Ecosystem?

The Biosphere, Biomes, and Ecosystems are all natural elements of the Earth. At one time, we lived in balance with these elements. This is no longer the case, however. Human activity on Earth has disturbed this balance and the imbalance now threatens us.

Unsustainable human activity has disturbed humanity’s balance with the Biosphere, Biomes, and Ecosystems

We can help

Human activity is responsible for this imbalance and Humanity needs to correct it. We can take action in a way that is ambitious, yet simple, to help restore the balance. But before we take action, we need to understand those three natural elements – Biosphere, Biome and Ecosystem – and how Humanity relates to them:

Peru. Photo Prochalen on PIxabay Humanity began in the Biosphere as a small and weak lifeform. Yet supported by the balance, dynamic processes and resources of the Biosphere, Humanity grew stronger. The last millennium (1000 to 2000) was an era of human innovation, that began in Europe and spread around the world. Humanity began to […]
An Ecosystem is a smaller part of a Biome An Ecosystem (ecological system) is a small part of a Biome (and of the Biosphere). Using a rough analogy, think of an ecosystem as a building block of a Biome; just like a human cell is a building block of an organ. And as cells need […]




Hero photo

On the bridge overlooking the river

James Birch

Photo 1

Woman sitting at a cafe with a laptop and a beverage

Jame Birch