His Advocacy: Dan has developed a unique model to transform public transportation by engaging students to increase public transit ridership. He was involved in the implementation of the Transit High School Bus Pass Program in Kingston, ON which won a 2018 Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Sustainable Communities Award.
About me: I have a background in commerce, strategic sustainability, and complex systems, and I am driven by my concern for the environment. My passion is social innovation and sustainable community solutions. With diverse and entrepreneurial networks, I try to create collaboration in the community to enact lasting change.
Why did you join the climate movement/what made you interested in climate change issues?
I see it very clearly; humans are mammals and are not excluded from the biosphere’s laws. If we don’t respect this, we will endure suffering. If the biosphere is respected, we can live in a regenerative system and be at peace.
What accomplishment are you proud of?
I helped lead the charge a decade ago and developed a simple but powerful model to transform public transportation. In my role with the Limestone District School Board, alongside the City of Kingston (Kingston Transit), we created the Kingston Transit High School Bus Pass Program.
On-bus orientation and free passes have increased high school ridership from 28,000 to close to 600,000 (pre-covid) annually in Kingston, Ontario. The underlying philosophy in developing this project is that with encouragement, mastery of transit tools, authentic life experience and a bus pass in hand, students will gain independence and confidence.
The “Kingston Model” for youth transit programming is a game-changer for combating climate change and increasing youth independence and confidence.
What climate change initiatives are you currently involved in?
I am dedicating time to scaling the “Kingston Model” for youth transit programming to other communities. I also work on other community-based programs in climate-impact areas like food, water, energy, transportation, and waste systems.
What do you think is the most effective way for people to take action for the climate?
Try, learn, and participate. Look for other good people trying to do good things and support them. Part of mobilizing people will always be a good story. It is also essential to reach out to the right people with the right skills, responsibilities and passions and make it easy for them to act. This is accomplished through clear, honest communication and explaining environmental, financial, health, and equity benefits. But above all, clear timelines and expectations, receiving clear commitments, and knowing everyone’s interests are aligned, make this all possible. You must often be willing to adjust your message based on your audience and speak to their goals.
What is a fun fact about you?
I travelled to Karlskrona, Sweden, to study strategic sustainable development under Dr. Karl-Henrik Robert at Blekinge Tekniska Hogskola. The Master of Science, Strategic Leadership Towards Sustainability, focused on advancing my knowledge, skills and global networks, building my capacity to be a strategic leader in the co-creation of thriving and sustainable societies.