Author Archives: sooketransitioninitiative

A TS leap into fall: Ecohome Tour, Repair Cafe & One Planet Region’s Trevor Hancock

Busy times here as we make plans for what shapes up as an eventful October by our  standards. It begins on Sat., Oct. 14 with our second Sooke Ecohome Tour — this time featuring three residences in Sooke and three more (two of them in construction) in East Sooke. This year’s mix ranges from a tiny home studio in a beautiful forested wilderness setting to a solar-panelled Sooke centre residence and a pair of in-progress new-builds near East Sooke Provincial Park — one Screenshot 2017-09-16 13.58.23.pnga Net Zero aerie, the other a sea-level econest sited above a working farm with rammed earth walls and radiant flooring. Two other properties are back by popular demand from our 2016 debut tour.  As is our norm, we’re offering nice-price tickets ($5 per person/$10 for a carload) that will again be available on event-day only at the Stick in the Mud Coffee House in downtown Sooke and at participating venues. Visit our Facebook event page for regular updates.

Following what shapes up as a wonderful Awareness Film Night season debut on Wed., Oct. 18 featuring an upcycled clothing faire, Sookies will be happy to learn that the second Sooke Repair Cafe is being hosted by our Zero Waste Sooke working group on Sat., Oct. 21 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Sooke Community Hall. Like our debut in May, the family friendly event welcomes everyone in town to bring items for repair by our crack 😉  team of volunteer fixers. Anything that is broken is fair game — lamps, hair dryers, clothing, electronic appliances, furniture, bikes, toys and crockery included. Unknown.jpeg “We were all totally pumped and excited by the first cafe,” says ZWS coordinator Wendy O’Connor. “We want to again show how much fun repairing things can be and how easy it often is.” Those who walk away with a repaired item are invited to bang a gong (literally) as they leave and drop a  donation in the tip jar.

Our periodic speakers series gets underway again with the One Planet Region‘s Trevor Hancock at Edward Milne Community School at 7 p.m. on Mon., Oct. 23. The University of Victoria professor and regular Times Colonist columnist will introduce Sooke residents to an inspiring south Island vision based on the Happy Planet Index and the alarming fact that collectively (North Americans especially) are burning through an unsustainable 1.5 planets worth of energy annually. profile-hancock.jpg“Only if we can imagine it and show it is feasible will we be able to engage people in what should be an inspiring quest — to create a “One Planet” region with a high quality of life,” says Hancock. Admission is free or by small donation.



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August Update

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. screenshot-2016-09-11-14-53-19.pngOur 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 Inline image 1with 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.

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Sooke Repair Cafe, May 27


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by | May 31, 2017 · 5:24 pm

Repair Cafe & more

A late May, 2017 update …

1. Our working group Zero Waste Sooke is hosting its first Repair Cafe this Saturday, May 27 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. downstairs at the Sooke Community Hall.  Bring your malfunctioning items to volunteer fixers at the wood, small appliance, small engine and fabric/clothing work stations. Also on the day’s agenda: A bike repair clinic, 3D printer demo, kombucha-making session and, for the kids, safe and easy bat-house building workshops. Bring a plain t-shirt and have it silk-screened with co-organizer Bernie Klassen’s “DIY Or Die” logo. 1240144_1401042913456612_1307000722_n.pngFull details on the ZWS website and Facebook event pages. Free or by small donation. (This event is operating under license with the Repair Cafe Foundation. Thanks to the District of Sooke for funding support.


2. Volunteers are wanted for a pair of local community garden projects …
i) CASA Garden, 6672 Wadams Way, on Sunday, May 28 starting at 10 a.m. Family friendly garden renovation and clean-up organized by the Sooke Region Communities Health Network‘s Christine Bossi. Learn easy techniques for your own food gardens: Permaculture, spiral and keyhole gardens, hugelkultur, raised-bed making and stone painting. More info by email or phone 250.858.3458.
ii) Sooke Baptist Church’s Grace Gardens project needs four volunteers to join the team installing perimeter fencing this Saturday, May 27. If you can help, please contact Bernie Dovell via email. With generous community support and much hard work, the garden (which is growing food exclusively for needy families in the region) is almost complete. A fundraiser is planned for June 10 with the official opening on July 9.
3. The Transition Sooke Multi-Belief initiative met for a second time late last month. Unknown.jpegA mission statement is being prepared and the group will focus at the outset on creating local awareness of the Charter of Compassion, launched in 2008 by a team led by Karen Armstrong and signed by the likes of the Dalai Lama, Isabelle Allende, Desmond Tutu, Robert Thurman, Peter Gabriel and Queen Noor of Jordan. One objective is to work towards official recognition for Sooke as a Charter of Compassion Community, of which there are currently 88 around the world.
TS social media highlights … 
* Video of our May 10 Starhawk presentation filmed by‘s Pedro and Linda. A wonderful, hugely inspiring evening! Sincere thanks to our organizers and the 200+ who attended. Recommended reading: The Empowerment Manual.
* BC election analysis from Fair Vote Canada: “Under a Proportional system the seat count would be: Liberals 37, NDP 35, Greens 15 (not including minor parties receiving less than 3 percent of the votes.”)
* Update: Juan de Fuca Marine Trail Park (thanks for the share to Zoe Blunt via Walbran Central) + Rosemary Jorna’s take on what she calls a “travesty” (agreed)
* Focus Magazine’s Leslie Campbell captures the complexities of the CRD’s Regional Growth Strategy
* First North American Rewilding Conference set for Portland, Oct. 20-27
May edition of the Rural Observer with articles on West Wind Harbour Cohousing, the Team Sooke/JDF refugee sponsorship project, the Habitat Acquisition Trust and BBQ tips from Nature’s Chef Tom Kral.
* Richard Feynman’s Ode to a Flower (via Brainpickings)
* Designing Regenerative Cultures, an excerpt from Daniel Christian Wahl‘s book of the same name (thanks to Frederique Philip)
* Echo: Yes, it’s a wonderful world! (always worth a reshare on holiday weekends as fine as this one)

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A Starhawk Evening in Sooke

Transition Sooke is honoured to present a first-time visit to Sooke by Starhawk, the renowned author, activist and permaculture designer who was again recently cited as one of the 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People by Watkins Mind Body Spirit – Magazine.

We’ll welcome her to the Sooke Community Hall on Monday, May 8 for a talk that will start at 6:30 p.m. Tickets at $15 each are available through Eventbrite.  (Note: We’ve relocated the evening from the Sooke Harbour House to ensure that all who wish to attend can do so.) Starhawk-closeup-800-Stephan-Readmond.-198x300.jpg

The night’s theme as Starhawk describes it: “In challenging times, people seek structure and belonging. How do we build a movement that offers both while also leading toward a world of justice, balance and liberation?” She will address this critical question by showing how we can respond to the urgent challenges of our day in sane, sustainable, compassionate fashion.

Starhawk brings social justice, care of the earth and spirituality to a vision of how our societies can function for the benefit of all. She is the author of thirteen books on such topics as Goddess religion, earth-based spirituality, group dynamics and social permaculture, among them The Spiral Dance, The Earth Path, The Pagan Book of Living and Dying, and the novels The Fifth Sacred Thing and its follow-up City of Refuge.

Her documentaries (with director Donna Read Cooper) include Permaculture: The Growing Edge and the National Film Board of Canada‘s Goddess Trilogy.

Through her organization Earth Activist Training (EAT), Starhawk directs courses in permaculture and regenerative design grounded in earth-based spirituality and with a focus on organizing and activism. She’s making time for a Sooke getaway in the midst of an O.U.R. Ecovillage permaculture design certificate course she is leading over the next fortnight at Shawnigan Lake.

Learn more at our Facebook event page, and follow Starhawk on Twitter and Facebook.

Thanks to Transition Sooke‘s Jo Phillips (founder and host of Awareness Film Night) along with Stephen Hindrichs and Lee Hindrichs for their work in organizing this special evening.

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Voting matters: BC Election 2017

We’ve joined with the Sooke Chamber of Commerce, the Sooke Region Tourism Association and the Sooke Region Museum to present a series of pre-election events in Sooke ahead of the provincial general election on May 9.  voting.jpg

Following a  Government 101 info session last week, the series continues this Thursday morning (7 to 9 a.m.) downstairs at the Community Hall as an Elections BC representative discusses the hows, whys and wheres of making your vote count. A complimentary breakfast will be served by Sooke Women in Business.

The Langford-Juan de Fuca riding‘s one Sooke all-candidates debate is set for 7 p.m. on Tues., April 25 at the Prestige Hotel. Advance questions in writing can be submitted online here. Rotarian (and former owner of Otter Point’s Malahat Farm) David Stocks will again be in town to reprise his role as the debate MC. Questions are also welcome from the floor over the course of the two-hour debate.

For more information:
Click on the links for party platforms + Langford-JDF candidate profiles …  

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Teaming Up to Clean-Up Sooke

Our working group Zero Waste Sooke is organizing a community spring clean of roadsides, ditches, green spaces and playgrounds on the morning and early afternoon of Earth Day 2017 — Saturday, April 22.  Please email if you’d like to volunteer for an hour or more as part a neighbourhood litter-busting team. Gloves and bags will be supplied.

This is a family friendly event and kids can get busy with special litter scavenger hunts created in the spirit of this year’s Earth Day theme, namely “Earth Play,” a call for everyone to unplug and enjoy outdoor activities. A fantastic way to show that, as individuals and as a community, we care about our home and native environment. H/T to the District of Sooke and the CRD for funding support.

Learn more at the ZWS Facebook page.

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