*Welcome to readers from the Tyee and CBC’s Early Edition*

One of my options

As much as I love the city of Vancouver, I have an equal fondness for Toronto. (I’m a rare breed, I know.) Since I’m in Ontario visiting my family, I figured I might as well take the Roadshow with me. So starting today, I’ll be looking for some roadshow stops in this lovely, albeit (insert expletive here) freezing city. If you have any suggestions, or want to invite me to work, contact me here. I’m in Toronto until January 5th.

Also, I have the final list for the Roadshow Readers’ Choice. Here are the most popular (mixed in with some of my favourites.) I’m leaving it up to you to make the final decision. Contact me here to cast your vote, or to add a few more to the list!

Flight Attendant
Adult Store Attendant
Stand Up Comic
Chicken Sexer

The Roadshow will resume with its regular-scheduled Roadshow stop posting in the New Year. Next up, Kung Fu fighting!


*Welcome to readers from The Tyee*

Roadshow stop: Carbon Project Solutions
Roadshow mentor: Joseph Pallant

Joseph Pallant, President and CEO, Carbon Project Solutions

Of the few things that stand out from my high school education is a video that I watched in my OAC World Issues Geography class. (My reference to OAC may give some indication of just how long ago this was.) In high school, videos usually meant nap time. But for this particular flick, I was compelled to stay awake. It was all about the environment–specifically global warming–which was still more than a decade away from being a household word. The video, set in a utopic future, was a mockumentary on how the world solved its environmental and social issues, such as pollution, poverty, and even war, through carbon trading. It seemed so simple–wealthier countries that exceeded their worldwide regulated carbon output quota would invest in clean energy production in developing nations. This created a reduction in the greenhouse gases pumped out into the atmosphere and stimulated economic growth in countries that needed it. Even my apathetic 18-year-old brain thought this made sense. Both my geography teacher and the video were way ahead of their time.

So why all this nostalgia about my first encounters with carbon management? It seemed appropriate, in light of the recently finished (and mostly disappointing) United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) to post my Roadshow stop with Joseph Pallant, the president and CEO of Carbon Project Solutions. Because Joseph is all about carbon. His company, Carbon Project Solutions, helps businesses, governments, and organizations access the carbon market and develop emission reductions projects. And he works both sides–he helps companies offset their carbon, as well as companies who have offsets to sell. (For a definition of carbon offsetting, have a look here.)

Contemplating the many facets of carbon managment

For my day at Carbon Project Solutions, Joseph approached things a bit differently than most Roadshow stops. Usually I’m given a task that requires an extra set of hands. But ever the entrepreneur, Joseph took a close look at my skill set to see how he could use it to his advantage and created a task designed specifically for me, which was to write the copy for his website. It was definitely a challenge. Because Joseph speaks and writes in “carbon-ese” or carbon jargon. But his website needed to make issues such as carbon offsetting, emissions reduction, carbon management, and what role Carbon Project Solutions plays in these issues, accessible and easy to understand by non-carbon-ese speakers. (Admittedly, this wasn’t completely unfamiliar territory for me, as one of my roles at the David Suzuki Foundation was to do exactly this. I translated complex scientific environmental issues into relevant and compelling messages that prompted people to act–specifically to donate.)

After much back and forth, Joseph and I developed a script that we both felt represented him and his company–and was concise in its message. It was a job I was happy to do. Because I believe Joseph, and individuals like him, are part of a greater movement that will make the utopic picture painted for me as a pre-adult become a reality. Sure, it may be an overly optimistic attitude, especially in light of the COP-15 outcome, but even when I wasn’t napping in high school, and currently still today, I’ve always been a bit of a dreamer.

Oh..and if anyone remembers what video it was that we watched in Mr. Annett’s OAC World Issues class circa 1995, please send me the name!

Joseph Pallant
Carbon Project Solutions
His blog: lilcarbon

My Soapbox (It’s my soapbox and I’m going to stand on it!)
A few breakdowns and discussions on the disappointing outcomes of COP-15:
The Flopenhagen Accord
The Guardian -George Monbiot
The Guardian – John Vidal, Allegra Stratton and Suzanne Goldenberg

What you can do to help reduce your carbon footprint:
How to Go Carbon Neutral
A Guide to Purchasing Carbon Offsets

Other overall awesome sites dedicated to the environment:

A cool environmental design company:

My Mentor: Andrew Petrozzi
My Mentor’s Details: Staff Reporter, Business in Vancouver; Editor, Employment Paper

I imagined a lot of smoke and whiskey. And way more yelling. I obviously watch too many movies, because before experiencing it first hand, my fantasy of a news pit was a chaotic room with people dressed in black suits and skinny ties wielding long cigarettes and highballs. I was way off. Because it’s 2009 not 1952. While most of my mental picture was entirely unrealistic, I did expect the environment to be bustling. And in this, I was spot on. Business in Vancouver‘s news pit was busy and abuzz with the energy and ideas of its staff.

Reporter is a profession that has been romanticized countless times in novels, film, and television. (I’m a perfect example of someone who’s been taken in by this.) But it reappears in our entertainment media for good reason. The news is exciting, compelling, and essential to society. And reporters work really hard to make sure this is true. They dig, explore, prod, poke, research, and investigate to discover the latest, most relevant, and most interesting stories to communicate to the greater public. They certainly don’t make the news. But they work hard to find it.

Not a dull boy
I’ll confess another misconception: I thought business news might be a bit dull, or at least duller than other news. Because when reading the newspaper, the finance section is my last stop. I skim over it quickly, and if in a rush, I sometimes don’t even bother clicking on it. But my short tenure at Business in Vancouver showed me how wrong I was. Because business news IS interesting. It’s not just numbers and investments. It’s also about people and relationships and risks and adventures. This may seem like a naive realization, but my focus tends to be on food, politics, and the arts, and sometimes a busy schedule necessitates I’m selective in what I read. I know I’m not alone in this. But after job shadowing a business reporter, my news consumption habits have changed.

My mentor for the day was Andrew Petrozzi. Andrew’s a staff reporter for Business in Vancouver, and editor of the Employment Paper. He’s worked at BIV for more than four and a half years. And what he loves about his job? No day is ever the same. Each day holds something new: an exclusive interview to chase, a story to break, a shady business venture to expose.

Much like my day as a line cook, an extra set of hands on a newspaper do not go to waste. As a deadline driven industry, there is a ton to do. I was asked to write the “People on the Move” section, which highlights recent hires, fires, and retirements in Vancouver. It’s not a complicated section. But most of the information is buried in emails and has to be extracted and rewritten and then double checked. Writing it took most of the day. It was straight forward work. And by no means hard-hitting journalism. But it proved to be a great resource for the Roadshow. Because part of my motivation for doing this is to learn about what kind of jobs are out there. And the “People on the Move” section is essentially a big list of jobs and it comes out every week. It’s a good tool for the Roadshow, but it’s also great for people looking for new work. Because it lists what jobs have recently become available, and in turn, which companies might be hiring. In fact, the entire paper is helpful for job seekers. It features industry trends, mergers, new directions, and endeavors that companies are taking on. It gives job seekers an inside scoop about potential employees and companies that isn’t found in an online job posting.

Writing my small section wasn’t exactly breaking a story that would expose a corrupt industry or take down any world leaders, but I did get to contribute to the action. And while I didn’t play out my personal Investigative Reporter fantasty–which would have involved butting out a smoke (even though I don’t) while I swirled a glass of whiskey, and signed my name to a Pulitzer prize winning headline–I did get a glimpse of the excitement and charge that buzzes through the office of a newspaper.