Vancouver's Leader in Transition toward Strong, Resilient, Complete Communities
I anchor the far western side of the Transition Village of
Main Street Neighbourhood, living as I do in Douglas Park, just a few houses west of Cambie. I moved into the neighbourhood just as The Big Dig (aka RAV or Canada Line) started, have defended our small businesses over the past five years ("losing" several to Main Street, but seeing 85 small shops and restaurants go under to be replaced by several Big Box retailers), and started a carbon-neutral gut renovation of my house.
Using mostly reclaimed lumber, recycling all "waste" materials, planting an eleven hundred square foot vegetable garden, and installing a 97% efficient gas/solar-hydronic heating system, I am on track to integrate passive solar air exchange, 2 solar hot water panels, 8 solar PV panels, a plug-in scooter, and 70% rainfall collection and storage. Most of these initiatives I learned from the PassivHaus movement in central Europe, and my total home energy use is already nearing the PassivHaus performance standard of 120 kWh per square metre per year. I have been fighting the Planning and Building Departments of Vancouver City Hall every step of the way. The building inspector told me my 1920s home was "beyond its design life." Design review staff laughed at my plans to catch and store and buffer all rain surge water from impermeable surfaces, let alone to build with reclaimed lumber using direct-load, truss-free construction techniques.
With the help of three plum and two lemon trees, I harvest approximately 240 kilos of fruits and vegetables every year, sharing some with Julie, Nate, and Everest's NOWBC depot. A regular customer of Neighbours Organic Weekly Buying Cooperative (NOWBC), an on-line local and organic produce cooperative, I am beginning to wonder what a "grocery store" is, other than the fields of Lower Mainland's organic coop farms. However, it is still nice to have Choices and Cambie General Store to fill in here and there (until they legalize cows in the city ;-).
I am on the Boards of Village Vancouver, Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver (NSV), Riley Park/South Cambie CityPlan, and the Residents Association of Mount Pleasant. I stepped down after two years on the Boards of NOWBC and the Hastings Park Conservancy.
A former UN international development project manager, I am still involved in one industrial start-up venture and also edit and produce films for public television and university-level distance learning programs. I teach alpine skiing and high-angle mountaineering on a volunteer basis.
This is mirrored from Jak King's blog here:
I just finished reading “Plastic Ocean” by Capt. Charles Moore and Cassandra Phillips. Hard to say much else but that this should be the “Silent Spring” of our generation.
Moore is a seaman who has become an oceanographer and environmentalist. It was his voyages that focused attention on the huge amounts of pollution — mostly…Continue
It is a rare event when our local media, of any stripe, publish writing of such honesty and progressive weight on most all of the issues of Transition. We wish to celebrate just such an instance by reprinting a Tyee article here by two very talented writers, Christine Boyle and Seth Klein. Village Vancouver also wishes to thank The Tyee staff and editor for making such journalism possible.…Continue
From Terminal City to Transition Town
How Vancouver residents are dropping fossil fuels and adopting resiliency
BY KERRY HALLContinue
Twenty blocks on Main Street will be closed June 16
BY SANDRA THOMAS, STAFF WRITER JUNE 6, 2013
Car Free Day Vancouver has evolved into a community-driven project far beyond at least one organizer's dreams.
"It's kind of like that Stone Soup fable," said Matthew Carrico, who sits on the board of the non-profit society and helps co-ordinate the Main Street festival. "We supply the nuts, bolts and logistics, and the community takes it from there. We shut the streets down,…Continue