Reporting in during these hazy, smokey (a little less so today, hooray) days of summer …
1. We’ve shifted the date and locale of our annual picnic to Sunday, August 27th, Noon to 2 p.m., at Ed Macgregor Park. We’d originally scheduled it for this coming Sunday, however that was before the Langford-JDF NDP team settled on that same day, Aug. 13, for its annual “Hot Dogs, Hamburgers and Horgan” event at the Sooke River Campground (Noon to 2 p.m.). Many of us plan to celebrate with Premier Horgan, so the decision was made to shift our own gathering to month’s end. Our Susan Nelson, Lee Hindrichs and Bernie Klassen are lining up fun activities for kids and adults, and we’re planning a BBQ of our own to augment whatever potluck dishes our invitees (i.e., you) chose to bring. Unlike our past three picnics, which featured reskilling workshops and demos, we’re keeping it a social occasion, pure and simple, this time. Please join us, friends and family most welcome.
2. Zero Waste Sooke’s next third-Wednesday-of-the-month meeting at the Sooke library is on Aug. 16th at 6:30 pm. “As usual, all are welcome at our meetings,” writes ZWS mainstay Anna Smandych-Ogilvie. “Bring the kids, bring any ideas you have for reducing waste in Sooke, and bring a friend who is interested in living a sustainable lifestyle or volunteering in our community.” Topics on the agenda will include the Community Bag Exchange initiative (which got off to a great start with the donation of more than 50 canvas bags by members of the public when ZWS hosted the Victoria Compost Education Centre at the Country Market a month ago) as well as the next Sooke Repair Cafe (set for Saturday, Oct. 21 at the Community Hall) and the 2017 Project Serve clean-up (which has twice undertaken litter blitzes of the forest that will be the site of the new Sooke library).
3. Planning has begun for our second Ecohome Tour on Saturday, Oct. 14th. We’re lining up a range of repeat attractions from last year and new stops, including two in East Sooke — a Forest Adam tiny home and the latest EcoNest project from Keary Conwright. Our organizing team welcomes suggestions via return email for other stops in the region as we build up an inventory of homes we can showcase in the years ahead. According to our loose definition, an ecohome (new or retrofit) uses building techniques and/or technology to create energy savings and a substantially lower carbon footprint in both construction and ongoing operation. Insulation and airtightness, passive solar orientation, thermal mass building materials, renewable energy sources (solar, heat pump, biomass), rainwater harvesting, greywater collection and recycled building materials are considerations.
4. Transition’s Multi-Belief Initiative is slowly gaining traction. A draft mission statement has been prepared and our steering committee intends to focus on promoting the Charter of Compassion as far and wide as possible locally with the goal of adding Sooke to the list of official Charter communities worldwide. As the Charter states: “We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries.” #nowmorethanever
5. Zero Waste’s Jeff Bateman and Jo Phillips addressed Sooke council on July 10 in revisiting three recommendations arising from the ‘Talk Trash’ Open Space community meeting last year: i) a full-service resource recovery centre with free store and affiliated upcycling businesses; ii) a ban-the-(single use plastic)-bag bylaw for Sooke; and iii) three-tier (adults, children and pets) drinking fountains as both a civic amenity and a solid step towards discouraging bottled water (which sells at the staggering rate of a million bottles a minute world-wide). The immediate good news is that Mayor Tait is eager to see the results of a model ban-the-bag bylaw that the CRD is now preparing with the City of Victoria and the Surfrider Foundation for potential use by any South Island municipality. Councillors remain keen about drinking water fountains in the town centre while also urging ZWS to seek partial funding through the CRD’s Environmental Services Committee. As for the resource centre, we know it’s a big-picture ask and that it will require strong leadership and zoning clarity from the District along with a private-sector partnership to become a reality.
6. Banning the plastic bag is one thing, but simply remembering to bring a canvas bag with you when shopping is just as critical. With that in mind, we’re putting an order in with Sooke Signs for a set of bright, eye-catching Bring Your Own Bag signs (designed by our town’s Zach Ogilvie) for use near the entrances of our major downtown shopping spots. Big thanks to the good folks at Village Foods, Western Foods, Home Hardware and Pharmasave for their enthusiasm and support. The intention, of course, is to remind shoppers to grab bags from the backseat before they walk into the store rather than remembering them only when they’re asked if they want paper or plastic at check-out.
8. Wild Wise Sooke, for whom we serve as a fiscal host, continues to work hard to educate the public about the consequences of poor garbage storage habits, a situation neatly summed up by the phrase “a fed bear is a dead bear.” Sadly, five bears have now had to be put down in the Sooke region this year, one more than in all of 2016. Wild Wise’s Deb Read continues her hard work, and Transition is backing her up with a request for a new garbage bylaw that would require residents to put their trash curbside on the day-of-collection only, not beforehand. Bylaws of this kind are in effect in bear hotspots throughout BC, including Kamloops (where its in effect only during bear season, i.e. April 1 to Nov. 30), Coquitlam, Port Alberni and Whistler. If Sooke does adopt a bylaw, it’s hoped the District would take an “as needed/third strike” approach to enforcement based on complaints, Wild Wise warning visits and actual bear-habituation incidents.The existence of a bylaw would be a last-resort measure in dealing with the small minority who persistently refuse to take all due care with their garbage.
Some recent highlights from our social media pages …
* Recommended reading from our core team: Naomi Klein’s No Is Not Enough: Resisting the New Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need (Knopf Canada); Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (Rodale Books); and Timothy Synder’s On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (Duggan Books).
* For the record: A complete set of BC NDP mandate letters
* First-rate secondary suites (thanks for the share to Frederique Phillip)
* Andrew Nikiforuk charts the voodoo economics of BC LNG in The Tyee.
* Remembering yoga teacher and #Occupy activist Michael Stone
* Videos worth watching: Deconstructing neo-liberalism with Noam Chomsky and Greece’s former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis (shared on from Awareness Film Night)
* Gutsy move by local government officials in the Highlands in asking fossil-fuel companies to pay their fair share of climate costs
* “Want to fight climate change? Have fewer children. Next best actions are selling your car, avoiding flights and going vegetarian.” (The Guardian)
* Four case studies in how BC communities are adapting to climate change (Prince George, Saanich, Kimberley and the Cariboo’s Xat’sull First Nation)
* “Major religious leaders from Pope Francis to the Dalai Lama have issued a joint appeal asking people to follow a simple bit of advice: Make friends with people of other faiths.” ~ the Huffington Post.
* Support Sooke’s new turf field starting at $10 per square foot (we did).
* Refresh yourself about the promise, power and potential of the Transition movement with this 36-page flippable excerpt from the Rob Hopkins’ book The Transition Companion (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2011)
* “100 Solutions to Climate Change” courtesy Project Drawdown. PS Test your knowledge before you check the list with this New York Times quiz. Surprises guaranteed!
* PDF of the District of Sooke’s 2016 Annual Report.
* “Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist” ~ Dr. Trevor Hancock writing in the Times Colonist
* A minute’s worth of accelerated industrial logging on Van Isle (thanks for the share to Frank Mitchell via Sinclair Philip)
Finally, and far from leastly, we were sad indeed to learn of the recent passing of Kay Lovett, the sweet, funny and wonderfully gifted East Sooke artist who designed our hills-to-harbours logo. She was celebrated in style at the recent Sooke Fine Arts Show and we’d like to add our sincere condolences to her husband Glen, her family and many friends.