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Common Ground - June 2010 - by Guy Dauncey

Summer in the city

EARTHFUTURE by Guy Dauncey

“Let’s make June our sustainable household month,” I suggested to Katya, as we looked at our diaries. “There’s a lot of great courses available, between Village Vancouver and Langara College’s Summer School on Building Community. We could use them to help make our lives more sustainable.”

“What a great idea,” Katya responded. “Does that mean we can take the plunge and get a solar hot water system for our roof? There’s a $2,000 incentive grant available, or alternatively, we could get a zero-interest loan. I saw it all

“I agree. It’s about time we did that. Why don’t you call SolarBC and find a local installer? And talking about the house, how about we try to make it more energy efficient? There’s a course on June 29 by Philip Be’er, who’s been working on this stuff for years.”

“I’m up for that,” Katya replied, writing it into her diary. “And another thing… how do you feel about keeping bees in the backyard? The garden feels lonely without them. There’s a course on June 12. We need bees to pollinate all the food we need to grow in the city and we’d get honey, as well. And look, there’s a film and discussion on backyard chickens on June 18, followed by a tour on the 19th. We could do that, too!”

“OK, let’s sign up and find out what’s involved,” I said. “And shall we go to the Growing and Sharing Food in Your Neighbourhood event on June 16? It would be good to meet other people and see what they’re up to.”

“Sounds good,” Katya replied. “I’ve been thinking also that maybe it’s time we signed up for a regular home delivery of organic food. It would save time in shopping, and we’d be supporting our local farmers. We could do it through the NOWBC Coop ( or Small Potatoes Urban Delivery ( Shall I check them out and see which suits us best?”

“Sure thing. And did you read about the Car-Free Day on Sunday June 20? It’s going to be huge! It’s a mid-summer celebration of people, children, bicycles, music and discussion – all without cars. They’ve got volunteer organizers for Commercial Drive, Main Street from 29th to 33rd, the West End, the Downtown Eastside and Kits. It’s all here

“Yes, I saw that,” Katya said. “Do you think we could make our own street car free for the day and invite our neighbours to a street party? We’ve never had one. We’ve lived here for 10 years and I’ve no idea who lives in some of the houses.”

“It would be incredible if we could pull it off,” I replied. “Let’s google ‘how to organize a street party.’ Look, there’s everything here that we need to get started.”

“Can you imagine if every street had a mid-summer street party, right across the city?” Katya asked. “It would become an annual festival for community, neighbours and sustainable living. We’ve got to do more celebrating if we’re going to change the world.”

“It’s the same day as the Vancouver People’s Summit, which is part of the Car-Free event on Main Street. Can we do both? I want to send a message to Harper about the importance of addressing climate change and poverty at the G-8 and G-20 Summits that are happening in Ontario a few days later. All the details are at

“Sure, we could go to the early part and come back for the street party in the afternoon, if we were well organized. And look, there’s a session on June 15 on “How to Create a Village in a City: Getting to know your neighbours” by Ross Moster. He’s been doing this stuff for ages. We should go. It’ll help us connect with like-minded people.”

“Wow. It’s going to be quite the month. Shall we celebrate with some Circle Dancing on June 21 at the Unitarian Centre? It would be a great way to bring it all together.”

“You’re on,” Katya said. “This is going to be an amazing summer!”

For details about Langara’s Summer School for Building Community, click here.

For Village Vancouver events, see

Guy Dauncey is president of the BC Sustainable Energy Association ( See also his personal website

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Comment by Scott Andrews on June 2, 2010 at 4:28pm
Fantastic post - it is absolutely going to be an incredible summer!

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