TS/AFN Energy Reduction Challenge: The Results

Transition Sooke’s energy reduction challenge at the Jan. 13 Awareness Film Night generated a diverse range of practical commitments from filmgoers covering lifestyle changes, home retrofits, transportation choices and positive activism.

Following the screening of This Changes Everything – the Avi Lewis/Naomi Klein documentary focused on how marginalized populations around the world are pushing back against the resource extraction industries and economic systems largely responsible for climate change – Transition’s Andrew Moore and facilitator Michael Tacon were joined on stage at EMCS by the Sierra Club BCs Larissa Stendie and City Green Solutions‘ Glenys Verhulst.

The speakers engaged in a wide ranging, upbeat yet realistic discussion about the challenges and possibilities ahead.  “It’s an exciting time to be in this work,” said Stendie, citing the Paris climate talks, the rising interest in alternative economic models (the degrowth movement and the steady state economy included), and community initiatives here on the west coast (especially distributed energy systems such as the T’Sou-ke Nation’s solar project). Stendie is inspired by what she’s witnessing in towns across the province as she works with grassroots organizations to build the Sierra Club’s The Future Is Here Network

For her part, Verhulst celebrated the progress made to date through individual action and programs like LiveSmart BC (which involved 37,000 homes in the province during its six-year run from 2008-14). She highlighted current rebate offers (notably the Oil to Heat Pump Incentive Program) and is confident a broad range of incentives will continue to be made available as Ottawa and the provinces work to meet carbon-reduction targets.  “All of us are part of this movement and it’s happening right here and now,” she said. “Collectively we’re winning.”

As the evening continued, our speakers urged the audience to again carefully reconsider how to cut their own energy footprints in making a meaningful personal contribution to the urgent global campaign to limit temperature increases to 1.5 degrees celsius.

Handcut paper leaves were distributed and everyone was invited to make one non-binding commitment/affirmation/intention. As filmgoers filed out into the night, a total of 81 leaves were posted on the bare branches of an “idea tree” that Moore (pictured here) borrowed from the T’Sou-ke Nation for the evening and had set up in the lobby at EMCS.


Here are the night’s results divided into general categories. For more tips and inspiration tailored to homeowners and businesses, visit BC Hydro’s Powersmart website. Thanks to AFN’s Jo Phillips, facilitator Michael Tacon, our guest speakers and leaf collector/compiler Sofie Hagens. Gratitude also to the District of Sooke for its financial support.

Lifestyle Changes 

Reduce consumption 13
controls for reduced consumption
Use less water (shower, garden) 4
lights 2
heat 3
laundry 1
plastic 1
Eat less meat 7
eat more beans/apples 1
Eat less commercially produced meat, dairy and eggs 1
Buy local 7
Grow more food myself 6
The three R’s (Refuse, Reduce, Recycle) 4
Turn off the lights when not in use 3
Reduce garbage 2
Turn off lights one day per week 1
Live simpler 1
Beehives and chickens for backyard 1
Increase homemade versus store bought 1
Cooperate 1
Be more conscious about energy use 1
Reduce phantom power 1


Use the car less = walk/bike more 11
Use more public transport 3
Use electric/biodiesel vehicle 3
Multitask trips 3
bring shopping list for 1 week/month
Fewer/no flights 2
Sell my car 1
Ride sharing 1

Home Improvements

Add more solar panels 10 of which
for electricity 5
for hot water 3
not specified 2
Install a clothesline 3
Use renewables 2
Research solar hot water 2
Install heatpump instead of electrical heat 1
Use wood to heat the house 1
Install led lights 1
Build passive houses 1
Contact City Green 1
Install more efficient windows 1

Educating Self and Others

Inform others by discussions 3
Inform myself (by reading) 2
Write article about my experience of a biodiesel car 1
Read the Book This Changes Everything 1
Urge people and organisations to stop using bottled water 1
Raise my 2 children, aged 4 and 5 to know about this and to make better life choices 1


Continue these meetings/actions for change 2
Look up and participate in marches/rallies/protests 2
Save old growth forest 1
Fight Site C 1
Support Creatively United for the Planet Share Fair 1
Suzuki Foundation 1
Write at least 1 letter per month 1


More courage to engage in difficult conversation 1
Learn more about and promote landbased fishfarms 1
Create ecostickers for kids 1
Join Sierra Club again 1
Support NDP 1
Restore BC environment Meetings 1
Continue building permaculture food forest 1
Continue my outdoor lifestyle: surf, bike, camp, fish 1


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