Flux, Growth, and Evolution for a better tomorrow

In recent years, the understanding of the role of turmoil, disturbance and flux in the growth capacity of the natural world has challenged the human conception of nature being in balance. Many scientists have now postured that natural systems are inherently in a constant state of change and that is how growth and evolution occurs. Human beings are not separate from nature and so this is also true for us in how we learn, grow, and evolve. 

There has been no other time in recent history that has created more flux around the globe than the past two years. The global pandemic has thrust us into a state where we are changing so much of how we live, work, and relate to each other, that the weaknesses in our community structures have risen to the top and the need for action in so many areas is ever more apparent. Climate change is no exception. 

If we have had the honour of being in virtual meetings together in the past few years, the topic of intersectionality has likely been discussed. The climate crisis is a human existential threat, but it is not independent of the other social issues that are now very real, including equity, diversity and inclusion; truth and reconciliation; gender issues; poverty; and many more. This is so perfectly articulated in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and specifically the 17th goal which states: “that we cannot solve one issue without addressing all the others.” We at SWR strive to embody this. While our expertise is in environmental sustainability with a focus on climate change mitigation, we deeply believe that our work in this area is a work of human justice, and have been striving to deeply embed this in all that we do. 


In 2021 we saw the impacts of this state of flux that we are all living through manifest itself in the work at SWR. This has included the first steps to operationalize our strategic plan to develop and launch programs and projects that work to transform our region, not just to make incremental change. Projects such as the planting of the first Microforests, the development of a local Clean Economy Sector Map, the expansion into our neighbouring communities, the adoption of our community Climate action strategy TransformWR, and incredible growth in our programs. 


The turmoil of the global pandemic has not only woke us up to the issues we face as a society, it also has made us aware of how much we can change when we really understand the need to. It has also created a clearer understanding of this interconnectedness of the issues we are facing and the possibility of community action towards a better, long-term future for all. 


We hope that in reviewing this report you will see just a few examples of the things that Waterloo region organizations and communities have done in 2021 to move us forward and invest in this better future. The team at SWR is honoured to be here, supporting this movement, working with our community and partners, and sharing the vision of a more sustainable Waterloo Region for all.

Tova Davidson

Executive Director