A New Economy: Reinventing Business As Usual

Awareness Film Night and Transition Sooke present A New EconomyWed. Feb. 7th in the EMCS Community Theatre. Watch the trailer here.

Vancouver-based filmmaker Trevor Meir started with a question: “Can cooperation save the world?” The result is his 2017 documentary A New Economy, a vibrant look at seven mostly Canadian examples of business and organizational models that have successfully broken away from capitalism’s traditional, hierarchical, employer/employee norm. Among them are a cooperative craft brewery, an urban agriculture project, a high-tech scientific collective, and a community group dedicated to bringing new life to its run-down urban neighbourhood.

nenahat05_2.jpgDoors open at 6:30 p.m. for the pre-film mingle. The film gets underway at 7 p.m. It will be followed by a talk and discussion led by Ana Maria Peredo, PhD, a University of Victoria professor with the School of Environmental Studies and former director of UVic’s Centre for Co-Operative and Community-Based Economy. Special guest will be Steve Unger from Viridian Energy Cooperative, which BCSEA founder Guy Dauncey recently cited as a model example of the burgeoning cooperative economy.

By rewarding human effort fairly and proportionately rather than focusing exclusively on profits, these business and community start-ups are dedicated in their various ways to the triple bottom line (social, environmental, financial) model that serves the common good in fair, equitable, socially responsible fashion while still generating fair-market earnings. No fat-cat CEOs with quarterly performance bonuses here.

With the beautiful music of Vancouver’s Borealis String Quartet as a unifying thread, Meir interweaves the stories of entrepreneurs and citizens who are adding value to their own lives and communities while also, in the case of the businesses, making an honest, buck.

Following the film, Dr. Perado will share her thoughts about community based entrepreneurship and sustainable development. A native of Peru, she worked as an anthropologist and journalist in her homeland before earning a doctorate in Entrepreneurship, Environmental Management and Sustainable Development from the University of Calgary. She has been a member of the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business at UVic since 2000.

YKQ4NQpT.jpgAmong the companies profiled in The New Economy:

Sole Food Street Farms: Vancouver chefs rave about the quality of produce grown by this pioneering social enterprise at its four central locations, among them a two-acre parcel of raised beds built of shipping pallets not far from BC Place Stadium, and North America’s largest urban orchard at the corner of Main and Terminal streets. The company’s mission is to provide residents of the Downtown Eastside with “jobs, agricultural training and inclusion in a supportive community of farmers and food lovers,” says co-founder Michael Ableman of Salt Spring Island’s Foxglove Farm.

London Brewing Co-Op: Located in London, Ontario’s East Village, this micro-brewery is organized as a worker’s co-operative and is linked with a web of local businesses that specialize in locally grown and brewed food and drink. “We live where we brew” is one of the company’s mottos that capture a homegrown/brewed ethic seemingly shared by independent craft brewmasters everywhere.

Sensorica: An open-source technology company based in Montreal but with contributors world-wide, Sensorica utilizes crowdfunding to finance what it calls “open ventures.” Teams of freelance tech specialists come together on a per-project basis to design, produce, distribute and service high-end scientific instruments. A brave new approach to online collaboration and proprietary rights.

Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee: This grassroots group comprised mainly of South Asian immigrant families in Toronto’s former East York area lobbied City Hall for support in energizing a neighbourhood park with benches, water fountain, trees, paved paths, splash pool, playground and a vibrant weekly night market.

Also featured is Loomio, the virtual-meeting open-source computer app invented by a group of New Zealand #Occupy activists-turned-software developers; The Red Victorian, a co-living space in San Francisco that also operates as a funky Haight Ashbury hotel with a distinct Summer of Love vibe; and the Borealis String Quartet itself. With its own refreshing approach to business and creative collaboration, the Vancouver ensemble has established itself as one of the most dynamic world-class quartets of its generation. Their playing lights up the film, confirming as a Globe and Mail reviewer wrote, “they are not going to let anyone cling to their sober stereotypes of classical music and chamber quartets.”

Admission, as ever, is by donation to cover rental costs of the theatre and film as well as an honorarium for the evening’s speaker. The film follows in the tradition of our AFN co-presentations that to date have included  This Changes EverythingTransition 2.0A Last Stand for LeluThe Clean Bin Project and The Economics of Happiness.
Jo Philips’ 23rd season of Awareness Film Night continues with films in April (the annual Sooke Food CHI gala) and June. Evenings in March and May are reserved for AFN’s Intermission Film Series, which features non-documentary cinematic gems selected by Susan Nelson and Vivi Crutchet.



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Previewing a busy start to 2018

New daytimers open? Ready, set, go …

* Monday, January 15, 6 to 9 p.m. at Harbourside Cohousing: An open meeting of the Transition Sooke core team. Everyone on our email list is welcome to attend. We’ll serve vegetarian soup and break bread together, then conduct our regular core team agenda with plenty of time for feedback, discussion and fresh thinking from all involved. Also planned is our annual dotmocracy process (i.e., our way of tapping your opinions on where we should be spending our volunteer energies in the months ahead). Expect a reminder early next month, and please RSVP by email if you plan to attend. Sincere thanks to Harboursiders (and TS team members) Michael, Paivi and David for welcoming us back to their common room with a view.

* The TS Book Club, organized and launched by our Paula and Bernie, debuts on Wed. Jan. 24 with Naomi Klein’s No Is Not Enough: Resisting the New Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need. 6:30 pm at the Sooke library, all welcome, no charge.  The one-night discussion will be followed with sessions dedicated to The Wayfinders by Wade Davis (March 21) and On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy D. Snyder (May 23). Email Paula for more details. PS Screenshot 2017-12-08 14.44.15.pngCopies of the Klein and Synder titles are available as on-demand e-books from the Vancouver Island Regional Library. If buying your own copies, we urge you to shop local at Sooke’s Well Read Books(where Shannon Babbage can help you track each down) or at one of Victoria’s indie bookstore landmarks.

* Saturday, January 27, 10 am to 4 pm at Harbourside Cohousing. Compassion In Action: A Nonviolent Communications Workshop with Rachelle Lamb. Learn the late Marshall Rosenberg‘s vital life skill from Rachelle, a veteran certified trainer of a relational communications approach involving observations, feelings, needs and requests.   As she says, “NVC techniques give us the tools to resolve differences with others peacefully. It teaches one how to make clear requests, not demands, while creating space so that everyone else will also have their needs acknowledged and valued.”  Rosenberg took the work into war zones with remarkable impact, and his teachings have touched hundreds of thousands.  Website+Banner+2017+Rachelle+Full.jpg

Maximum 30 participants. Sliding scale of $20 to $50. Please register ASAP with Susan Nelson via email or call her at 778-528-2299.  (In honouring our commitment to making community learning experiences accessible to everyone, we’re offering this workshop on a sliding scale. The normal charge for one-day trainings with Rachelle is $140 per person.  Our expenses will be approx. $1500, so we are grateful for any extra $$ that our registrants can contribute if they can afford more than $50).   

 * Grid-Tie Solar Info Night with Viridian Energy Cooperative. Tuesday, Jan. 30, 7 pm, in the EMCS library. Viridian’s Steve Unger will raise awareness, dispel myths and share information. Free admission.

* Our Awareness Film Night co-presentation on Feb. 7 at EMCS will be the Vancouver filmmaker Trevor Meier‘s A New Economy (2017)It looks at seven cooperative business start-ups, among them a craft brewery in London, Ont., an urban agriculture project in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, and a cooperative night market in Toronto. new-economy_oct6-665x185.jpgGuest speaker will be the University of Victoria’s Ana Marie Perado, The film joins a tradition of our AFN co-presentations that includes This Changes Everything, Transition 2.0, A Last Stand for Lelu, The Clean Bin Project and The Economics of Happiness.

* TBA in the works is a Sooke info night on electoral reform presented with Fair Vote Canada’s Greater Victoria chapter. With a referendum slated for late next year, the BC government has set a deadline of Feb. 28 for submissions to its “How We Vote” survey. (Read this non-partisan Fair Vote Canada guide to filling out the survey before you start.)


* TS Annual General Meeting: Wednesday, Feb. 28, 7 p.m. at Harbourside Cohousing.

* Our Sooke Region Multi-Belief Initiative (SRMBI) has now produced a “Quest” document that defines our working group’s aims, principles and strategic objects. It’s the foundation for the SRMBI’s activities going ahead, notably the launch of a local Charter for Compassion awareness effort next year. This initiative is intended to be inclusive of all beliefs (or non-beliefs for that matter) with the golden rule as the common tread tying us all together.  Download a copy of the Quest document from our website archive.

* Finally, a new TS working group has formed to build greater local awareness about the impacts of glyphosates in the environment. 075c871e18b6c47026f1d6a8dcf97924--save-the-bees-gas-masks.jpgThe team plans to seek out allies in the region with the ultimate goal of convincing the District of Sooke to join the 40 or so other BC municipalities (a quarter of them on Van Isle) which have banned the use of cosmetic pesticides within their respective borders. If the Province of BC won’t follow the lead of most other provinces in restricting non-essential pesticides, then it’s up to us locally to take the step.


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TS Speakers’ Series: Mary-Wynne Ashford and Jonathan Down

North Korea & the USA: Empty Rhetoric or Nuclear ThreatThurs. Nov. 30 at 7 pm, Holy Trinity Anglican Church, 1962 Murray Road. 

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

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TS Speakers’ Series: Eric Doherty

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.

FiASZJDB_400x400Doherty 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.
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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.

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A Sooke Conversation with One Planet Region’s Trevor Hancock

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











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All set for Ecohome Tour 2017

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.


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