By Coun. Tyler Brown
There are a lot of misconceptions regarding the city's use of “Doughnut
economics”. Unfortunately, the narrative out there is one that at best has become exaggerated and at worst is being used to seed division.
The Doughnut is simply used as a framework to review the city's policies and programs. It was developed by a British Economist, Kate Raworth, as a way to frame human activity. She identified social foundations, and basic requirements,
required for all people to thrive. Things like political voice, clean water, shelter, etc. For the most part, these are all commonly shared values. We can see the impacts on our community when basic social needs aren’t met. She paired the social foundations
with the ever-increasing growing body of scientific literature that shows we need to take better care of the natural environment. The goal then is the actions we take to better provide for people's social well-being while recognizing our actions do impact
the environment. That goal more or less aligns with the purpose of municipalities as outlined in section 7 of the Community Charter.
A municipality is responsible for a wide array of
services. It can be difficult, at times, to see how all those pieces fit together. Further, while we may not be responsible as a local government for all the issues facing our city, we do have to take stock of some of them. With limited resources, we
need to make tough decisions. What type of recreation facility to build? Which playground needs an upgrade? What changes need to occur to our street and road networks? Do we provide land for affordable or supportive housing? How do we approach public safety?
What do we advocate to the Province for? The list goes on and is subject to much citizen input and demands. Council has to weigh all the inputs and make decisions. The doughnut is intended to help us weigh those decisions better by showing how any decision
fits into the different values we hold as a community. No decision is perfect and there will always be tradeoffs. At the end of the day, we are deciding which values are focused on, and which aren’t, through any given project, Council term, or budget
The doughnut is nothing new. It simply presents values in a framework that shows them together. While it
may have support from different organizations worldwide, it is agnostic in its approach. There are no associated costs with its adoption. Every year a Council adopts a budget. It is that budget that is the true articulation of the values the Council is pursuing
and the budget process is fully open, transparent, and decided upon by nine democratically elected individuals.
By Coun. Zeni Maartman
Coun. Brown has articulated this topic well.
Years ago in Nanaimo
there was the Economic Development Group of which I was a member. We spoke of how environmental and social responsibility go hand in hand with a healthy economy. This is an economic framework that aligns with these values. Look after the people
and the planet. Think globally and act locally. Thank you for the opportunity to provide a response.
Coun. Erin Hemmens
The Doughnut economic framework is just that, a framework. The framework in and of itself doesn't drive anything: there are no doughnut policies or doughnut budgets. It's a way of organizing our many (many!)
city plans. The fact that it generally orients us toward achieving a society that meets everyone's basic needs while also respecting the planetary boundaries is, as Coun. Maartman points out, not a new concept. The name is completely off putting but the
conspiracy just isn't there.
Coun. Don Bonner
The Nanaimo Doughnut is our framework
for making decisions – a way of organizing how we plan for Nanaimo’s future in a balanced and integrated way.
Think Globally and act Locally. So
when we are making decisions we are always striving towards a “sweet spot” (the doughnut) of meeting our needs within the limits of our social foundations and environment. We
base those decisions on the doughnut model in the graphic.