North Bay Forward

Systemic, Place-Based Planning for a Sustainable, Resilient Future

Ideas Sketch

“If we haven’t specified where we want to go, it is hard to set our compass, to muster enthusiasm, or to measure progress. But vision is not only missing almost entirely from policy discussions; it is missing from our culture. We talk easily and endlessly about our frustrations, doubts, and complaints, but we speak only rarely, and sometimes with embarrassment, about our dreams and values.”
– Donella Meadows

Recent natural disasters and current health crises allow us to rethink our systems and envision a healthier, happier and more prosperous future for all. North Bay Forward is a collaborative initiative to harness the collective talent, vision, and experience of a range of business, community, public sector and academic leaders to envision this future and engage in the systemic change and collaboration needed to usher in a sustainable, resilient North Bay community. During our inaugural visioning charrette, we identified the four interconnected systems, upon whose health the future we envision depends: natural, structural, human and cultural.

Our monthly lunch series brought together cross-sector community partners, faculty, students and staff to drive collaborations that build sustainability and resilience in the North Bay Region across these systems. Each vegetarian lunch started with a short presentation on an existing collaboration that provides a stepping off point for attendees to share their aligned activities and informally discuss next steps needed to reach regional goals. Topics include Local Food & Food Security, Aligning Organizational Climate Efforts with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Partnerships between Large Organizations & the Local Municipalities and Cracking the Nut on Scope 3 Emission Reporting. Materials provided by various presenters and helpful links can be found here.

Upon the COVIC-19-induced Shelter in Place (SIP) orders, North Bay Forward pivoted to a weekly Zoom (Tuedsay @ noon), which initially explored positive changes alongside the SIP, which we hoped to retain once we reach the blessed end of this health crisis, and the roles we, our organizations and North Bay Forward could play in ensuring those changes remain. We were - if you will - in search of the silver lining. For the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year, we will be exploring Identity, Belonging and Place in the North Bay thought the six stories laid out in the Foundation section of the Exploring Sense of Place Guidebook. Faculty, Students, Staff and community members are always welcome.