TS Speakers’ Series: Mary-Wynne Ashford and Jonathan Down – Nov 30, 2017

North Korea & the USA: Empty Rhetoric or Nuclear Threat

Noted peace activists Mary-Wynne Ashford and Jonathan Down will be at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church on Nov. 30 to share their thoughts on the heightened risks of nuclear confrontation in our time, the progress of a bold new international “no nukes” treaty and the various ways the public can express their concerns.

The two Victoria-area physicians will be introduced by Sooke’s Christa Rossner, who was involved in the nuclear weapons abolition movement with Dr. Ashford for many years. Admission is free, however donations are welcome to support the vital work of the organizations with which Drs Ashford and Down are affiliated.

“The United States and North Korea have been hurling escalating threats of nuclear attacks at each other. Now the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has moved its doomsday clock forward to two-and-a-half minutes to midnight, the closest it has ever come to the apocalypse,” says Dr. Ashford, former president of the International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), a global federation of physicians that won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1985. IPPNW-200x0-c-default.jpg

A nuclear exchange could cause the deaths and suffering of millions of people, lead to a forced “nuclear winter” and irradiate massive tracts of land, rendering it unsustainable for millennia. The World Health Organization rates nuclear weapons as the highest of all potential dangers to human health.

“Unfortunately, many young people who have grown up since the end of the Cold War in 1991 are unaware of the horrific consequences of a nuclear war and thus are not alarmed by the present situation,” explains Dr. Ashford. “We’ll suggest some actions that can be taken and brainstorm with the audience about other ideas.”

As the alarming brinkmanship continues in Washington and Pyongyang, Dr. Down will share the good news that a new generation of physicians and young activists (many under the age of 30) have banded together as the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). il_570xN.660532292_29cv.jpgThis umbrella group of nearly 500 organizations in more than 100 countries will be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize on Dec. 10 in Oslo for its advocacy work, which includes creating a new Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons. The award will be accepted by Setsuko Thurlow, a (now) Canadian survivor of the Hiroshima bombing.

Drs. Down and Ashford belong to various international networks of medical professionals committed to the principle that doctors have an obligation to prevent what they cannot treat. International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War, founded by Helen Caldicott in 1980, continues to share the medical and scientific facts about nuclear war with policy makers and the public while also advocating for the elimination of nuclear weapons from the world’s arsenals.

About the speakers

Dr. Jonathan Down is a paediatrician based at the Queen Alexandra Centre for Children’s Health in Victoria and an adjunct professor at both UBC and the University of Victoria. He is President-elect of Physicians for Global Survival (the Canadian affiliate of IPPNW) and a charter member of the Vancouver Island Peace and Disarmament Network.

Dr. Mary-Wynne Ashford has been a teacher, physician, professor and activist for IPPNW for over 30 years. She met Mikhail Gorbachev in Russia and has spoken with leaders in China, France, England, Pakistan, India, the USA and even North Korea. Dr. Ashford, former president of both IPPNW and PGS, authored Enough Blood Shed with Guy Dauncey.

“There were things to be done in disarmament that were clear to me. Whether or not I could really make a difference, leaving them undone was a resignation to despair. At the very least, the individual can challenge the silence of assumed consensus. By breaking the silence, by refusing to collude with evil and insanity, one resists the darkness.” ~ Dr. Mary-Wynne Ashford

TS Speakers Series: Eric Doherty – Nov 20, 2017

Rethinking Traffic As Usual

Monday, November 20, 7 to 9 pm; Edward Milne Community School, 6218 Sooke Road

Our 2018 Speaker Series’ continues this Monday night in the library at Edward Milne Community School with Eric Doherty, a Registered Transportation Planner with Victoria consultancy firm Ecopath Planning and a founding member of the Better Transit Alliance of Greater Victoria.

Doherty will look at the big picture of regional transportation in adding further context to a perennial hot topic addressed this year in both the provincial election campaign and the ongoing #DividedBy14 campaign launched by the Sooke Juan de Fuca Working Group of local business owners.

Once Doherty has completed his talk, the floor will be open for discussion about the realities and potential of transportation and transit services as we make our way (mostly by automobile) to and fro on the South Island. The challenges are clear, but what are our options now and in the future?

Doherty’s talk will serve as a prelude to the expected release of a long-awaited BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure report on continuing upgrades to our winding road home (which is blocked in part for an annual average of four hours per week due to accidents, according to local emergency response authorities).

Mayor Tait announced recently that BC Transit representatives will be scheduling a once-every-five-year public forum in Sooke next year to field community views and opinions.

As a planner, Doherty specializes in practical approaches to reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, while improving the livability of communities. He integrates diverse experience from community and regional planning, environmental consulting and engineering.

Transportation is the second-largest contributor to climate pollution in Canada. Carbon emissions from transportation increased 32 percent between 1990 and 2014 nationally. In Sooke, auto traffic produces more than two-thirds of the municipality’s total GHG emissions annually according to Province of BC statistics.

Business as usual is not an option, argues Doherty. The good news is that there are examples of other population centres (like Zurich, Switzerland, for example) that have transformed their transportation systems remarkably quickly and created healthier, more livable communities.

Admission, as ever, is free or by small donation.

A Sooke Conversation with One Planet Region’s Trevor Hancock – Oct 23, 2017

Monday, October 23, 7 to 9 pm @ Edward Milne Community School, 6218 Sooke Rd

Dr. Trevor Hancock is a professor and senior scholar at the University of Victoria‘s School of Public Health and Social Policy as well as a regular columnist with the Victoria Times Colonist.  He’ll be our guest speaker in the EMCS library on Oct. 23 at 7 pm. Admission is free or by small donation. Trevor yellow shirt pixlr.jpg

Recognizing that we are entering the Anthropocene, a new, human-induced geological epoch, Dr. Hancock launched the Conversations for a One Planet Region initiative a year ago. The Conversations explore how we on the south Island might find a way to reduce our ecological footprint to the equivalent of one planet – a reduction of about 80 percent – while continuing to enjoy a long life of good quality with a low level of inequality.

“This will mean, among other things, re-designing our energy, transportation, urban development and food systems, indeed our whole economy and way of life, taking into account the intergenerational wellbeing of our children,” explains Dr. Hancock.

Part of this involves changing the way we chart progress, using alternative scales such as the Happy Planet Index, created in 2006 by the UK’s New Economics Foundation to measure the factors that lead to genuine (as opposed to strictly material) happiness.

A series of One Planet Region Conversations have been held over the last year and momentum is growing through collaborative work with such local organizations as Creatively United, Cities for Everyone, Greater Victoria Acting Together, the Better Transit Alliance – Greater Victoria, BC Sustainable Energy Association: Victoria Chapter and the Social Environmental Alliance – SEA.

Now Transition Sooke is getting involved by bringing Dr. Hancock’s One Planet Region vision to a Sooke audience for the first time. He’ll be introduced by Royal Roads University faculty member Paivi Abernethy, one of our board members at Transition Sooke and a member of the One Planet Region team.

One Planet Region website: https://onlineacademiccommunity.uvic.ca/oneplanetconversations/home/about.

Dr. Hancock’s introduction to Times Colonist readers: http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/columnists/trevor-hancock-imagining-victoria-as-a-one-planet-region-1.2319533


All set for Ecohome Tour 2017 – Oct 14

The 24-hour countdown is on to Sooke Ecohome Tour 2017.  TICKETS will be available tomorrow at the Stick in the Mud Cafe in downtown Sooke from 10 am to 2 pm via our Christa and Jo. This year you can also pay your small admission fee at our host locations (circled on the map below) during tour hours, 11 am to 3 pm.  Full tour prices: $5 per person/$10 per carload/free to pedestrians and cyclists. All attendees will be asked to sign an insurance waiver. Thank you and ENJOY! 

PDF of our map brochure. ecohome-tour-2017 2

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And here’s the flipside of the accordion-fold Ecohome ticket brochure (which has been printed in b&w ‘cuz that’s how this spendthrift volunteer non-profit rolls 😜). Our thanks to Sooke designer Zach Ogilvie as well as Tamara and crew at Sooke Copy Centre. #shoplocal 

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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.
“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.


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.

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.)

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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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 info@zerowastesooke.ca 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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Equinox Update: Spring 2017

teamcleanup2016logo-1.png* Volunteers and neighbourhood captains in the Sooke region are wanted for a Zero Waste Sooke street clean-up on Earth Day ~ Saturday, April 22. Gloves and bags will be supplied, and local pick-up spots will be arranged. Please let us know via email if you can help! PS Our thanks to Mayor Tait and councillors Berger, Logins and Reay for approving a ZWS community grant request last week that will partially cover our costs for the clean-up as well as two Sooke Repair Cafes this year and a summer workshop by the Victoria Compost Education Centre.

* After 13 years in print, the Rural Observer has gone digital in style starting with this month’s edition. Editor Terri Alcock invites her Sooke region readers to subscribe online and receive interactive e-book versions. Screenshot 2017-03-27 18.04.57.pngAnnual ($20) or lifetime ($100) memberships with the Juan de Fuca Rural Publication Society will help keep the new issues flowing. An essential read and service for all who care about this region’s rural character and natural beauty.

* Juan de Fuca Forest Watch meets again on Tuesday (March 28), 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Ed Macgregor Park bandshell. “Lots to discuss, including timely reports of local forestry operations, proposed campaigns and more,” notes Darren Alexander. “Please consider bringing a guest or two. Pitch in $5 and we’ll order pizza.”

Screenshot 2017-03-21 16.51.32.png* Awareness Film Night and Sooke Region Food CHI present the 7th annual Farm and Film Gala on Wednesday, April 12th. Doors at EMCS open at 6:30 for “stocking up, browsing and noshing in the theatre foyer,” says AFN’s Jo Phillips. The feature presentation Seed:The Untold Story will start at 7:45 and the evening will conclude with gift basket draws at 9:20.

* All are welcome to local food potlucks every Sunday evening hosted by Everything Edible Landscaping‘s Jonathan Francoeur and friends at 6411 Sooke Road. “Bring some food or come ready to learn what you can make for next time,” says Jonathan. “Dine and dash, or stay and socialize.”

* Site C campaigners Janet and Steve Gray from Kairos Canada invite participants to one or more of their ‘No Site C Banner Waves’ in the Greater Victoria region. “We only go out in nice weather. Hope to see you soon!” Learn more here.

* Lights on: Instant BC Hydro rebates at Sooke Home Hardware and elsewhere for select LED bulbs, lighting fixtures and controls until April 13.

* Save the Date: Creatively United for the Planet Festival, April 22 at the Royal BC Museum fb-banner-2017.jpg

* Bookmark these pages for ongoing coverage of the BC Election on May 9 (just 47 days from now)

* Victoria Times Colonist
* The Tyee
* Vancouver Sun
* CFAX Radio
* In-Sights
* Integrity BC
* Victoria Vision

Other essential links:

* Elections BC
* John Horgan, NDP
* Cathy Noel, Liberal
* Brendan Ralfs, Green



Finally, some highlights from our Facebook pageoffered for those immune to the debatable charms of social media …

Staying sane in (confirmation bias) insane times

More evidence of why former federal Environment Minister David Anderson told a Sooke audience last week that global warming is the defining issue of our day

– Good neighbours: Companion planting guide (shared from the Sooke Food CHI FB page)

– The art of public engagement: A set of storyboards from the recent Local BC Government Leadership Academy

– Short film: “If you do nothing else with this life, cultivate gratitude”

Late Winter/Early Spring Update

News and upcoming events (in lieu of our newsletter, see final item below) 

* We elected the TS 2017 Board of Directors at our sixth AGM on Feb. 17Paivi Abernathy, Jeff Bateman, Martin Bissig, Stephen Hindrichs, Andrew Moore, Wendy O’Connor, Jo Phillips and Michael Tacon. Sincere thanks to all for either joining the board for the first time (Paivi, Jo and Wendy) or carrying on for another year (everyone else). Jeff will continue as President and Michael has been succeeded as treasurer by Martin. Also, appreciation to our departing board members: Sofie Hagens (stepping down after five years), Kara Middleton and Tony St-Pierre (who’s taking a hiatus to focus on the hard work of homesteading at Cast Iron Farm). They join a TS board alumnus that also includes Darren Alexander, Blake Barton, John Boquist, Yves Boudreau, Yvonne Court, Margaret Critchlow and Mark Ziegler.

* Presenting the top five finishers in the Dotmocracy vote that AGM attendees and all on our email list had the opportunity to vote on. It has helped us determine priorities for the year ahead: 1. Our second Sooke Ecohome Tour (scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 14); 2. A community building workshop series (i.e. Non-Violent Communications, conflict resolution, consensus training, etc.); 3. Speakers’ series; 4. Reskilling workshops; 5. A think-tank/strategy session/Pro D day with other Sooke community groups.  We’ll also be promoting Streetbank Sooke more intensively, have plans for a fourth annual TS summer potluck picnic in August, and will be looking at co-hosting a family cycling event in the early fall, perhaps in association with the international CycleHack weekend in September.

Sooke-Region-Health-Summit-May-28-2016-2.jpg* Thanks to the 22 individuals from all walks of spiritual (large and small ‘s’) life locally who attended a March 4 exploratory meeting about a possible new TS multi-belief working group. It has arisen from a suggestion made by Don Brown (Baha’i Community of Sooke) at the Sooke Region Health Summit last spring. TS shapes up as a good potential host given its society status and the fact that the “inner transition” (which posits that real change begins within) is a central part of Transition Network founder Rob Hopkins’ guiding philosophy for the movement. The T’Sou-ke Nation‘s Shirley Alponse and Sooke Mayor Maja Tait gave opening addresses, then the group got busy brainstorming about shared values and potential collaborative actions. Stay tuned for more.

* How safe are our school zones for young pedestrians and cyclists? HASTe (Hub for Active School Travel) has organized two local exploratory walkabouts this month — the first was on Tuesday morning at Journey Middle School; and the second on Thursday, March 16 ((8:15 sharp to 9:45) at the neighbouring Ecole Poirier Elementary. “Anyone invested in active & safe transportation is welcome to join us,” says Ebony Logins, HASTe’s School Travel Planning Facilitator. “Please bring a co-worker or friend.” Email ebony@hastebc.org for more information.

* Our Zero Waste Sooke working group is planning a few events in the months ahead: A roadside clean-up of various neighbourhoods around town to coincide with Earth Day on Saturday, April 22; and our town’s first Repair Cafe on a TBA weekend in May at the EMCS Society‘s new Makerspace. Details to come when firmed up and finalized.

* Tonight’s Awareness Film Night (March 8) presentation is Toad People with all proceeds going to the Wilderness Committee. The film documents grassroots efforts in BC to save the western toad … essential citizen actions given the lack of endangered species legislation in British Columbia. 0b6363aa3d7fd5e7a003dfe63cfc28a9.jpg(MLA Andrew Weaver introduced long-overdue draft legislation in Victoria last week.)  As Jo Phillips notes: “This is a film suitable for children, as long as they don’t mind the occasional shot of a toad killed by a vehicle.  But there are lots of children in the film busily saving species at risk.” EMCS, 7 p.m. By donation.

* The Sooke team of Dogwood BC presents “Tankers, Pipelines & Dogwood: What Now? What Next,” an info night on Wednesday, March 15th, 7 p.m. at the St. Rose of Lima Church on Townsend Road.  Featured speakers will be Dogwood’s founding director Will Horter and formerScreenshot 2017-03-07 08.32.36.png federal Environment Minister David Anderson. Dogwood communications coordinator Charles Campbell will outline next steps, notably a canvassing drive for a 90-day HST-style citizen’s action to stop the Kinder Morgan TMX pipeline expansion under BC’s Recall and Initative Act.  Learn more at the Facebook event page, and RSVP here if you’re planning to attend.

* Work has begun on the community food garden at the Sooke Baptist Church on the West Coast Road across from Woodside Farm. All food grown there is earmarked for the Sooke Food Bank and needy families in the region. Foundational work crews are meeting for the next two Saturdays, and help is needed on a variety of fronts. Contact Bernie via email to learn more. Among other things, donations are welcomed for the $600 worth of soil needed for the garden.

* One of Sofie Hagens’ many contributions to TS was our colourful, informative newsletter. In her absence, we are seeking a volunteer designer who can take on the task of translating supplied material into an attractive, reader-friendly newsletter. If you’ve got time, interest and some comfort around designing e-newsletters (we’ve used a MailChimp template to date), please send us an email and we’ll be in touch.