James Birtch studied engineering, computers, and geography; researched coking coals and aerial crop surveys; and reviewed programs for federal departments. He gave social support to the homeless and refugees. Parks Canada hired him for community policy. He wrote Parks Canada’s first sustainable development strategy and coordinated Canada’s biosphere reserves for 23 years. James created the Biosphere Eco-City (BEC) model, led Ottawa BEC for 10 years and now chairs BEC Canada.