Ways of Knowing

Components of The Meaningful Work Project are being incorporated into Alla Guelber’s graduate thesis in the Master of Arts in Environmental Education and Communication at Royal Roads University. Have a look below for more on the academic research component of this project.

Alla presents her thesis idea on campus at Royal Roads University, summer 2010

How can I/we create meaningful work that encourages creativity and innovation? How can a community of practice where practitioners feel supported and encouraged in creating their own meaningful work be strengthened? How can we align our values and our work in the transition to a green economy?

Faced with these burning questions, my own frustrations with finding the kind of satisfying and rewarding work that I wanted to do, and growing interest in trends toward ‘green jobs’ and ‘social innovation’, I wanted to create the space to explore different perspectives and work toward solutions.

In the fall of 2009, in a course on educational program design in my Master’s program in Environmental Education and Communications, I developed a program for a three-day residential workshop called the Meaningful Work: Green Jobs + Social Innovation Retreat (MWR #1). The workshops followed a dialogue model, inviting special guests who are experienced social innovators, business and not-for profit leaders and community activists to interact directly with a diverse mix of participants.

The Meaningful Work Project includes two distinct yet connected components:

  1. The practical, hands-on experiential workshop called the Meaningful Work Retreat.
  2. Academic research exploring the lived experience of the ‘ecopreneurs’ who are actively exploring the way they are creating their own meaningful work.

As a researcher deeply embedded in this action research project, I explore my own quest toward seeking meaningful work while developing an educational program that allows participants to explore their own challenges and successes.

For more information on the academic research phase of this project, please contact Alla.

We offer some suggestions for inspiring articles, books and videos that touch on many of the themes we wish to explore within the Meaningful Work Project. If you have any suggestions or are involved in a project or initiative you would like featured, please get in touch.


The May 2010 issue of Unlimited Magazine focuses on meaningful work and green jobs, including an article by Alla Guelber, The Quest for Meaningful Work.

Alla Guelber blogs on the urgency for economic transformation in Creating the Jobs of the Future – Today March 2010.

Read the Alberta Acts on Climate Change backgrounder on the connection between climate change and business – and opportunities for the future.

Guides and Action Planning

The GoodWorkCanada guide to Create your own Green Job

Download the eBook Occupation: Change the World. Created by Dream Now, this book compiles the stories of inspiring young people who have grappled with the same question: how do we make money and change the world?

Are you an Ecopreneur? By Ecopreneurist.com

The collected works of Margaret Wheatley, world-renowned management consultant and professor, and promoter of systems thinking within organizations.


The Tyee http://thetyee.ca/
Grist http://www.grist.org/
Treehugger http://www.treehugger.com/
Orion Magazine http://www.orionmagazine.org/
Worldchanging www.worldchanging.org
Environmental Health News http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/

Alberta Views Magazine http://www.albertaviews.ab.ca/
Environment Canada’s EnviroZine www.ec.gc.ca/envirozine
Alternatives Journal http://www.alternativesjournal.ca/

Corporate Knights magazine is focused on promoting the idea of “clean capitalism”. They publish the world’s largest circulation magazine with an explicit focus on corporate responsibility.

Good is a collaborative website and magazine that features hundreds of articles from individuals, businesses and non-profits “pushing the world forward”.

Unlimited Magazine is an online business and work culture magazine for readers in their 20s and 30s, people who want balance and fulfillment and meaning in their working lives.

The New York Times reports on the importance of creating a “Green Economy”

Ascent Magazine offers up a contemplation on the pressing question, “What is the work that needs to be done?”

Malcold Gladwell’s perspectives on the idea of meaningful work through passion, not genius

Local Calgary Organizations

REAP Business Association was founded in Calgary in 2006 with the vision to create a vibrant living economy where citizens understand and value the impact of shopping locally.

Thrive brings together people and organizations (voluntary, public and private sector) to advance Community Economic Development in Calgary to open doors to the possibilities of good jobs for all, a strong local economy, affordable housing, opportunities for low income Calgarians, vibrant neighbourhoods and a sustainable city.

Green Calgary is a dynamic, non-profit urban environmental organization with a mission to empower Calgarians to create healthy homes and communities through environmental education, products and services. Since 1978 Green Calgary has sought to address a range of pressing urban environmental issues including pollution, waste management and resource conservation

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