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Green Infrastructure
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Introduction to Green Infrastructure


Urbanization is accelerating globally, with the world projected to add another 2.5 billion people to urban areas by 2050. Unsustainable urbanization is one of the largest drivers of environmental degradation, including biodiversity loss, overconsumption and higher energy demand, deforestation, air and water pollution, water stress and scarcity, hazardous waste, and more. Car-dependent development in many regions has exacerbated urban sprawl, which is one of the largest drivers of habitat destruction and fragmentation as well as increased energy use. Car-dependent development also has many negative social consequences, such as increased isolation, unaffordability, discrimination and resegregation, the decline of small businesses, and poor health outcomes. 


Building more sustainable, inclusive, and liveable cities is an imperative for human development. Building green infrastructure is one of the most important strategies for bringing nature back into cities, using nature-based climate solutions to promote adaptation and resilience to extreme weather while also restoring ecosystems and positively benefiting human health. As one example, the Living Breakwaters project is an innovative initiative to rebuild oyster reefs along the coast of New York City, helping increase resilience to storm events, restore local ecosystems, and remediate toxic pollution through natural water filtration. New York was also able to save $1.5 billion by protecting the upstream Catskills watershed to secure the city’s water supply, thus avoiding expensive water treatment plants.

There is a movement called new urbanism which aims to move away from unsustainable urbanization to a more human-focused approach to the planning and development of communities and cities. New urbanist approaches include mixed-use zoning, transit-oriented development, connectivity, active transit, affordable housing, walkability, and concepts like the 15-minute city. Another key solution to promote sustainable cities is the decarbonization of the built environment, which accounts for nearly 40% of global energy-related carbon emissions. Deep energy retrofits and electrification through the use of heat pumps are two of the fastest-growing solutions.

Resources to
Learn More
Programs, Trainings, and Events
Policies and Organizations
  • World Green Building Council – The World Green Building Council is a global network of organizations working to drive the transformation of the building and construction industry towards sustainability through advocacy, collaboration, and implementation of green building practices and standards.
  • Urbanarium – Urbanarium is a non-profit organization based in Vancouver, Canada, dedicated to promoting public understanding and engagement with urban issues through education, events, and advocacy, aiming to foster informed decision-making and create more livable cities.
  • C40 Cities – C40 Cities is a network of the world's largest cities committed to taking bold action against climate change by collaborating on initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase urban sustainability.
  • Coalition for Urban Transitions – The Coalition for Urban Transitions is a global initiative that supports city leaders and policymakers in transitioning to sustainable, low-carbon, and inclusive urban development through research, advocacy, and capacity-building efforts.
  • Global Platform for Sustainable Cities – The Global Platform for Sustainable Cities is a collaborative initiative that facilitates knowledge exchange, capacity building, and partnerships among cities worldwide to promote sustainable urban development and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Canadian Green Building Council – The Canadian Green Building Council (CaGBC) is a non-profit organization committed to advancing green building practices and sustainable design across Canada through certification programs, advocacy, and education, with the goal of promoting environmental responsibility within the building industry.
  • More Neighbours Network – More Neighbours is a network of pro-housing voices from across the political spectrum that are committed to counterbalancing the anti-housing agenda that dominates politics and has created an affordability crisis across the income spectrum.
  • The Congress for New Urbanism (CNU) – The Congress for New Urbanism is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the design and development of walkable, mixed-use communities that are sustainable, socially vibrant, and economically resilient, advocating for principles of traditional urbanism and smart growth.
  • National Right to Housing Network – The National Right to Housing Network is a coalition of organizations and advocates working to promote housing as a fundamental human right and to advance policies and initiatives aimed at ensuring access to safe, affordable, and adequate housing for all Canadians.

Existing policies
Key Policy Initiatives
  • Investing in Canada: Canada's Long-Term Infrastructure Plan – This plan is a government initiative aimed at modernizing and improving the country's infrastructure through strategic investments in areas such as transportation, green energy, broadband, and social infrastructure, with a focus on fostering economic growth, creating jobs, and enhancing quality of life for Canadians.
  • Natural Resources Canada Greener Homes Grant – The Canada Greener Homes Initiative is a government program designed to help homeowners make energy-efficient upgrades to their homes by providing grants for measures such as insulation, windows, and heating systems, aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency across Canada.
  • Building Heat – The Canadian Climate Institute has started research on optimal pathways to reaching net zero in the buildings sector, including what role building electrification, alternate fuels, and existing gas networks will play.
  • Building Codes – Efficiency Canada’s research on strengthening Canada’s Building Code Process to achieve net-zero emissions.
  • Make the Shift – Make the Shift is an advocacy initiative led by UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing Leilani Farha aimed at addressing the global housing crisis by advocating for housing as a human right and promoting policies that prioritize affordable and adequate housing for all.
New policy initiatives
  • Smart Growth Toolkit – The Smart Growth Toolkit by Environmental Defence is a comprehensive resource designed to assist communities, planners, and policymakers in promoting sustainable development practices that prioritize efficient land use, public transit, walkability, and environmental conservation, aiming to create livable and resilient communities across Canada.
  • Stop the Sprawl – This petition calls for action from Ontario's MPPs to prioritize the interests of people and the environment over those of real estate speculators, by addressing concerns such as sprawl-inducing policies, weakening environmental protections, and favouring unsustainable development practices.
  • Stop Urban Sprawl in the Ontario Greenbelt – This petition urges the Ontario provincial government to halt urban sprawl within the Ontario Greenbelt, advocating for the preservation of this vital environmental and agricultural land to safeguard against unsustainable development practices and protect the region's biodiversity.
  • Stop Highway 413 – This petition calls on the Ontario provincial government to cancel Highway 413, citing concerns about its negative impact on the environment, agricultural land, climate goals, and endangered species, as well as suspicions of benefiting well-connected developers at taxpayer expense.

Volunteer Positions

Disclaimer: this list includes both organizations that are actively recruiting volunteers as well as organizations that do NOT have current openings.
Please follow their newsletter and socials to be informed when opportunities become available!

Name of Company
Open Positions
Toronto Environmental Alliance
Canada Green Building Council

Multiple Committee Positions

Efficiency Canada

Become a Regional Champion Volunteer

Green Communities Canada

Volunteer Opportunities with GCC Members

Depave Paradise


Peterborough, ON
Engineers Without Borders

Join a Chapter

Future Ground Network



Re:Wild Your Campus Volunteer

Citizen’s Climate Lobby Canada


Village Vancouver Transition Society



Job Board

Disclaimer: Certain organizations on this list don't have sustainability as their core purpose, but they have been included because they have strong commitments and recognition for their efforts. For these organizations, only open positions directly contributing to sustainability initiatives or departments will be listed.

Open Positions
Type of Organization
Location ↓
Acacia Engineering
Private Sector
SES Consulting

No known openings

Private Sector
British Columbia
Remote (Canada), Hybrid, In Office
Réseau Environnement

No known openings

Civil Society
Youthful Cities
Civil Society
Halifax Regional Municipality
Public Sector
Nova Scotia
Career Development Resources
Career Advice Interviews
Coming soon
Leveraging LinkedIn
  • Explore Green Career Centre’s LinkedIn Maximization Guide
  • Read through Green Career Centre’s LinkedIn Sustainability Influencers to Follow articles from 2022 and 2023.  
  • We also recommend following us on LinkedIn, where we regularly share opportunities, resources, and news related to the clean economy.
Networking & Interview Prep
Job Search Resources
  • This report provides a helpful toolkit, case studies, and tips for BIPOC/BAME youth to develop self-knowledge, prepare for job hunting, increase their competence, build sustainability experience, and nurture well-being.
  • Visit Green Career Centre’s Job Application Tracker to manage your applications, update progress, and interview prep. 
  • Check out GoodWork's Job Search Tips & Resources for proactive strategies to find and land the right opportunity.
  • Many job search experts agree that most jobs belong to the hidden job market. To learn about navigating this, read Hidden Sustainability Jobs and Tapping the Hidden Job Market.