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A Provincial Affair: An Interview with Shafraaz Kaba

Shafraaz Kaba is one of our speakers on environmental issues and is a former interVivos mentor. He was previously known for his work at Manasc Isaac Architects, where he focused on the development of buildings that strive for net-zero energy and carbon-emission reducing goals. In his new venture—Ask—Shafraaz now endeavors to facilitate the creation of regenerative, NetZero energy, and carbon neutral architecture using Lean culture and design thinking.

We asked Shafraaz a few questions on what Albertans need to pay attention to this upcoming provincial election to get people thinking about what to ask him during the event.

interVivos: What are the biggest environmental issues facing Albertans? Shafraaz Kaba: Meeting the Paris Agreement and reducing carbon emissions as soon as possible for us to have a world that is habitable for our children to live in. We need to become carbon neutral as soon as possible. interVivos: What are some of the ways you think we can accomplish this? Shafraaz Kaba: From my perspective, it’s helping our society understand how that will change and affect the way we live but not compromise our standard of living. There is an economic opportunity here to really work within our carbon budget. If we prolong action or if we hesitate we’re going to make the planet worse for our children. interVivos: How do you think we can deal with this on a broader scale? Shafraaz Kaba: There can be a very large opportunity—if you look at buildings, they consume a lot of our natural resources and they basically produce a third of all our carbon emissions. Buildings have a huge impact on whether we can meet our climate goals. interVivos: What are some of the provincial policies that either need to continue or be dealt with by the provincial government? Shafraaz Kaba: Full disclosure, I’m on the board of Energy Efficiency Alberta so we set carbon reduction targets and provide incentives for people. This can be residential, commercial or in businesses to make changes for all of us to live in a lower carbon environment.  We need to look at how we wrap that up even further. Energy Efficiency Alberta and our emissions agency have made some good headway—and it’s a start—but it needs to wrap up significantly within the next decade for us to make a lasting impact. interVivos: Why are events like A Provincial Affair, and more broadly, citizen engagement events still important for people to participate in? Shafraaz Kaba: In this day and age, the news has been very shaky at best in terms of how we can get the right information from the right sources, or even understand what information we need to know. I think this event is an opportunity for certain experts and industry folks to speak to their issues, what they know, and how they can inspire others to act. Right now, I think people are turning off news media, and even social media to a certain extent, because it’s becoming biased and negative. interVivos: How else can Albertans get more informed about issues and party platforms before heading to the polls on April 16? Shafraaz Kaba: As simple as talking to candidates. In my mind if people can talk directly to their nominees in their own riding to ask them questions they’re concerned about—depending on what information the candidate can tell them will help them decide. Just that conversation alone will show if that candidate is looking into that topic or issue or if they’re simply not engaged. That’s the best thing to do in my opinion.

You can find Shafraaz Kaba on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Limited tickets remain for A Provincial Affair on April 2nd. Get yours before it sells out! We’ll see you there.

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