The Future is Here in Tofino and Ucluelet

by Larissa Stendie

On November 13 and 15 I traveled up to Tofino and Ucluelet to host two Future is Here events in partnership with Transition Towns Tofino-Ucluelet. The events were a celebration and discussion of the transition to a healthy, just, post-carbon society that is happening now in communities across British Columbia.

Larissa Stendie addresses a crowd in Tofino

Larissa Stendie addresses a crowd in Tofino

These events are a continuation of Sierra Club BC’s Future is Here tour that has taken me across the province visiting individuals, organizations, and municipalities who are well on their way to making their communities sustainable. In every place I visit, I have been amazed by the energy, commitment, and passion of communities that are taking control of their futures by building post-carbon economies.

To give you an example of what the events look like, I’d like to share a report back from one of our partners, Robert Zurowski from Transition Towns Tofino-Ucluelet:

 

On Friday November 13, the Clayoquot Sound Theatre was more than two-thirds full with a nice mix of young and old. Tsimka Martin gave a brief First Nation introduction on the pronunciation of Tla-o-qui-aht. David Floody acted as host and introduced the speakers: first Mayor Josie Osborne, who gave a very encouraging talk, then me on Transition Towns. Finally, Larissa Stendie of Sierra Club BC discussed the wider context and also read a statement from Saya Masso, Natural Resources Manager of Tla-o-qui-aht about their run-of-river projects.

The hour-long movie “The Future of Energy” was quite good. The panelists after the film were awesome, all of them gave really excellent talks: Ariel Novak on permaculture (a really engaging presentation, getting the audience involved), Gerry Schreiber on the history of government-assisted attempts to bring alternative energy projects to the west coast, Phil Reimers on the story of his construction of his tiny house project. Special thanks to Eileen Floody, who stood in at the last minute for Tofino Community Food Initiative to give an excellent talk on locally grown foods.

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The event in the Ucluelet Community on a sunny Sunday afternoon was attended by a mostly older crowd. We were fortunate to have Vi Mundy and Jeneva Touchie of the Ucluelet First Nation make welcoming statements for the event. Susan Lee acted as host and introduced the speakers, first Deputy Mayor Mayco Noel, who expressed encouraging interest in Transtion Town, then me on Transition Towns, and finally, Larissa, before the viewing of the film. After the film, rather than a panel on the stage, as in Tofino, Larissa moderated an audience discussion. Many in the audience had been invited by Susan because of their special knowledge and projects. Elementary school teacher Cary McPherson told us about the wonderful sustainability course she’s teaching her students, involving fenced, raised garden beds, a greenhouse, and compost barrels. It was good to hear former Mayor Bill Irving talk about earlier problems encountered trying to bring alternative energies to Ucluelet. Gerry also talked about these past efforts and emphasized community members, not government, need to get together to bring alternative energies to the west coast. Phil gave another presentation on tiny houses, and Eileen and Ucluelet’s Chantel Gemel talked about food gardens locally, as did Reg Payne of Reg’s Roots Landscaping. There was strong audience participation in these discussions.

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I really want to make known and thank those who made the two events a success, including Susan Lee and David Floody who deserve deepest thanks for preparation work for the events. Alan Churchill and Greg Blanchette were also on-hand through both events, taking photos and helping keep us organized.

It’s not likely the two events would have been as successful as they were without the Sierra Club BC’s Energy and Climate Campaigner, Larissa Stendie’s presentation and moderation of the Future is Here event in both towns. The film and Larissa’s discussions were really the heart of the programs; I’m sure the audiences were well satisfied attending the shows.

It was a great boost for Transition Town Tofino-Ucluelet, with now Councillor Randy Oliwa even asking to attend our next TT meeting!

-Robert Zurowski
Transition Towns Tofino Ucluelet

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To find out more about our Future is Here program, or to sign up to be a member of the network, visit this page.