Jay Heaman speaks at the 2016 Future Oxford event.
The upcoming Future Oxford Expo recently announced key speakers for the April 20 event who include a director for General Motors, a former professor of chemical and material engineering and a past president of Canadian Solar Solutions.
Jay Heaman, manager of strategic initiatives for the County of Oxford, said each speaker was specifically picked because they speak to a different aspect of a community sustainability plan, which is comprised of the environment, community and economy.
“Each speaker has been chosen because they can speak to a different aspect of the pillars,” Heaman said. “The subtle message is that they are all interlinked anyway.”
Doug Yates, director of environment and energy at GM Canada will share the story of GM’s zero waste to landfill practices.
“GM has announced plans to be 100 per cent renewable by 2050 for all their manufacturing plants around world,” Heaman said.
Milfred Hammerbacher is co-founder of s2s Technologies Inc., a firm partnering with Sifton Properties to establish a 70-acre community in London that will feature net-zero energy and water consumption, electric vehicle readiness and smart grid infrastructure.
“There is a shift in social and community thinking towards sustainability,” Heaman said. “Rather than thinking of individuals being self sufficient – extending that into the community.”
The third speaker is Dr. Chih C. Chao, a principal of Cantech Environmental Services and former professor, who has worked with natural and social scientists to search for and implement feasible approaches that lead to sustainable low-carbon circular economic systems.
“A major thrust of the expo is to break down the components of having a sustainable economy,” Heaman said. “We can be successful without compromising the environment we live in.”
In its second year, the Future Oxford Expo showcases local successes and leadership in taking environmental action, building vibrant economies and pursuing health and wellbeing for all citizens.
“Sustainability is about more than one element and everything is interconnected,” Heaman said. “Sustainability is about ensuring our actions today don’t compromise future generations.
“The expo is an opportunity for people to come out and talk with professionals and guest speakers.”
New in 2017 is a Community Futures Oxford Student Competition that will bring secondary school student finalists to compete on stage for an $800 grand prize.
The event is completely zero waste with the use of recycled and reusable material, as well as dishes instead of disposable ware.
Visitors are asked to carry out any waste they may bring in with them.
The event will also showcase several new Oxford County builds, including two social housing units, being constructed to zero-energy building standards.
Sponsors and exhibitors are still being sought and local organizations wishing to showcases sustainability services and stories can fill out an application at www.futureoxford.ca.