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Knocking on approximately 9,000 doors in the last civic election may have given David Dodge sore knuckles. But it also gave the aspiring Councillor (he eventually lost to incumbent Dave Loken in Ward 3) new perspective on the character of the people in his neighbourhood. “If you go to people, and you talk about what makes their city a great place, and you do it in a genuine way, just about every single person whose door you knock on will talk to you,” David says.

As the long-time president of the Evansdale Community League, as well as the former president of the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues (EFCL), David has plenty of experience helping build community from the bottom up. And as the founder of the national radio project Green Energy Futures, he’s been able to witness the coming clean-energy revolution firsthand. So it was only a matter of time until those two interests overlapped.

Under David’s leadership, the EFCL started a pilot program where individual community leagues could apply to do an audit of their hall’s energy use. The federation set aside enough money for seven leagues, and more than twice that number applied. “We found a real pent-up interest in these things,” David says.

For David, public engagement is about getting past the part where you’re upset about the way your city is being run, and getting yourself into a space where you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and be part of the answer. “Can I help solve this problem or am I going to be a protestor?” he asks. “It can make such a difference in how we build our city.”

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