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October '12

Driving Environmental Change in Waterloo Region from the Ground Up

Mike Morrice

Mike shared his passion for sustainability and commitment to community-led change by telling his Sustainable Waterloo Region story, and how it came to be what it is today. 

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Mike is the co-founder and Executive Director of the not-for-profit organization Sustainable Waterloo Region, that advances the environmental sustainability of organizations across the Waterloo Region through collaboration. Their flagship program is the Region Carbon Initiative that centers on working with local organizations to help them set and make progress toward voluntary carbon reduction commitments.

While working on an independent research project on carbon emissions policy options while attending Wilfred Laurier University, Mike and his friend Chris DePaul founded Sustainable Waterloo Region. The initial start-up in November 2008 was challenging with limited initial start-up funds in the midst of the global economic crisis. However, driven by their passion, Mike and his volunteer team were committed to

continue to “pitch the organization to anyone that would listen”. Sustainable Waterloo Region gained support after hosting their first event and getting organizations to be funding partners.

Shortly after the first grant was awarded and Sustainable Waterloo Region’s first initiative has linked together dozens of organizations to focus on implementing successful and cost-effective projects that result in greenhouse gas emission reductions.

Over the years Mike is now mentoring similar start-ups in other cities including Hamilton, Niagara, Toronto and Charlotte, while the organization has secured funding to research sustainable means of supporting this growth on an on-going basis.

Special thanks to Jean Carreiro at Sustainable Waterloo for writing this article.

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