Understanding the Foundation for Transformation 

Alberta Municipal Climate Leadership Council to explore the relationship between individual change and social change. 

“How do we transform at the scope, scale, speed and depth that is called for by climate science? And how does individual change relate to collective change and systems change?” 
–Karen O’Brien, 2020 

On August 24, 2023, the Alberta Municipal Climate Leadership Council (AMCLC) will meet with Andrea Reimer to develop a deeper understanding of the relationship between individual and social change. With three terms on Vancouver City Council, from 2008-2018, Andrea will draw on her own experience to lead a discussion on how, why and where climate action may take place.  

The AMCLC brings together elected officials to connect, share knowledge, and develop capacities related to advancing climate action in their communities. Facilitated by the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre and the Community Energy Association, the August 24 meeting is the group’s third meeting.  

This meeting will introduce the AMCLC to Karen O’Brien’s “Three Spheres Framework.” This framework outlines the domains where transformation can occur:  

  • The practical sphere. This includes behavioural and technical responses (e.g. lifestyle changes, infrastructure upgrades). Mitigation and adaptation policies and actions belong in the practical sphere and progress can be measured with metrics and indicators.  
  • The political sphere. Here, systems and structures support or hinder responses in the practical sphere. For example, our energy sector consists of a system of regulations, infrastructure, and cultural norms that inform our habits and practices.  
  • The personal sphere. Consisting of individual and collective beliefs, values, and worldviews, the personal sphere influence what solutions within the practical sphere are considered possible, achievable, and desirable.

All transformations interact across these spheres in complex, non-linear ways. Our individual and collective beliefs are activated within the political sphere, and in turn are realized through tangible outcomes in the practical sphere. 

For AMCLC members, this framework helps highlight how individuals can be agents of change. Individuals can engage in collective action and they can critically reflect on individual assumptions and beliefs about what is possible. At the same time, without attention to larger systems of the political sphere, practical solutions may lead to inequitable outcomes. For local governments, focusing on actions that accelerate transformation and facilitate outcomes across all three spheres will be crucial to leading successful climate action. 

Learn More with Andrea Reimer 

If you would like to meet Andrea Reimer and learn more about leading climate action in local communities, apply to join the AMCLC. New applications from Alberta elected officials are welcome at any time. 

Apply now for details on our Aug. 24 meeting with Andrea Reimer