After a mid-winter hiatus, the SCiT core group met for a cup of tea, some (mostly) garden-grown goodies, and a moment to check-in. The common theme seemed to be making things; whether a milk-painted pallet bed, a toque woven from locally hand-spun and died wool, or a permaculture garden, everyone seemed to be most satisfied by the work they were doing with their hands and in their space and with locally-produced materials. This satisfaction in working with local products and local people offers real promise. A resilient, low-carbon community is one where people work together to create the things they need and can truly appreciate.
Like the pleasure of a pedestrian city, where bikers are welcome and safe, and car noise and fumes are non-existent, transition is about evolution, not devolution; finding new value in real things, while perhaps letting go of the myth that acquiring new things will bring contentment. As shown in the chart above (sorry, I couldn't find a Canadian chart), transition is already happening and more is projected, and it will be great.
Transition Streets Update
The Langdale Transition Streets group is getting more established as the member households get to know each other and the project better. This pilot is the first such neighbourhood on the Sunshine Coast and they will be learning much about customizing the plan to our locale. Transition Streets is a collaborative project with Sunshine Coast Conservation Association and it could come to your neighbourhood too. All you need is one household to take the lead and make it happen with your neighbours. For more info: see our website Education page.
Complementary Currency Meeting
Tuesday, Feb 10, 6pm, at the Wild Art Photography studio in the heart of the creek.
Entrance at Yoga by the sea.
For those of you interested in a little background on complementary currencies, please check out the links below:
Chairs might be limited, so if you have cushions, coziness guaranteed!
See you soon!
Solar Co-op Update
Since the screenings of ‘Powerful: Energy for Everyone’, our small seed group has continued to do some research and establish connections in the community, and a number of exciting possibilities are emerging. We plan to hold a workshop/general meeting in early Spring, at which time a full discussion and Q&A will take place, and anyone interested in joining a working group will be whole-heartedly welcomed. For now, here’s a broad overview of developments. The links provide an opportunity to explore various aspects in greater detail, if you’re interested. ( tw: for those who haven’t yet seen the film, it’s available at the Sechelt Library—highly recommended!).
There are at least three electrical contractors on the Coast with experience in alternative energy systems who have expressed a willingness to participate in the Co-op: Dennis Olson, (Olson Electric), Matt Hutchings (Clear Energy Solutions) and Wayne Slingerland (Suncoast Electrical Management and Industry Consulting). We are incredibly fortunate to have these awesome experts in our community: between them they have many years of hands-on experience with not only photovoltaics (on and off grid) but also wind turbines and solar thermal.
For those of you who are interested in simply installing PV panels on your own property, we have a terrific opportunity to purchase panels in bulk, at considerable savings. Efficiencies keep going up, prices are still going down (see the Dec 17th article in Sustainable Business, and with a volume discount, it really feels like the time is right to act.
We are convinced that first and foremost it’s important to conserve energy, and will be encouraging everyone to think in those terms. Along with bulk purchases of PV panels, we have the opportunity to bulk-buy items such as LED lights (which have also improved dramatically and seen significant price reductions in the past few years). Solar thermal (for domestic hot water and hydronic heating) as well as ductless heat pumps are other items that may be available for bulk purchase, depending on interest.
BC Hydro now runs a program enabling individuals and businesses to generate up to 100Kw of power and sell it back to the grid. This means that ‘Community Solar Gardens’ – one of our original visions – are now a real option. In theory, CSGs could provide an opportunity for people who aren’t in a position to buy panels for their own home to purchase one or more panels for a CSG installation, and get a pro-rated portion of the annual pay-back. Over a period of years, the investment could be recouped and eventually surpassed: a truly ‘green’ investment. To get a sense for the general workings of a solar garden on a much, much larger scale, see the Jan 1st article from Clean Technica.
Glen McClughan of Sunshine Coast Association for Community Living, who has helped bring to fruition so many wonderful community initiatives, has expressed a preliminary interest in the co-op, citing the potential for panels at Persephone Brewery or on a SCACL building.
Collaboration with schools—including possibly Capilano University—in green-tech-trade training, with the possibility of tapping in to job training grants, is another exciting possibility.
On the ‘down side’: the issue of negative environmental impacts of manufacturing PV panels and components (mostly in China) has been raised, and needs to be seriously examined so that when the time comes to purchase, we can make the very best choices possible. See attachment for some details.
That’s a lot of information, and it doesn’t even cover everything we’ve been up to! Please take in as much or little as suits you, but the more knowledge you have when you attend the workshop, the better; we are eager for everyone to contribute ideas, questions and concerns. We have a great line up of speakers (details to follow), and are genuinely excited about the possibilities.
Many thanks to Joanna Zilsel for this update on the Solar Co-op initiative, a collaboration including members of the Gibsons Green Team and SCiT. More to come on this!
We want to shine a light on accessible transition-friendly projects, enterprises, and people in the region. This new section of the newsletter will be a listing, changing every month, of a few such notables. We plan to add each month's spotlights to a more persistent list on our website and welcome suggestions.
The Green Film Series The Green Film Series is dedicated to using film as a tool for community engagement on environmental and sustainability issues. The screening events are meant to foster the role of film as a catalyst for dialogue, networking and action. Buy a Season Pass for $40 online or at the door. The Season Pass allows you admission to all Green Film Series events from February to May 2015 and helps keep the film series running. For more info, go to http://greenfilms.ca or find us on Facebook at http://facebook.com/greenfilmseries. These events are produced by Rhizome Up! Media CCC Ltd, publisher of the online magazine Sustainable Coast, and producer of the Green Film Series and Queer Projections.
The Real Goods Solar Living Sourcebook Described as the ultimate guide to renewable energy, sustainable living, natural and green building, off-grid living and alternative transportation, this book by John Schaeffer is on its 14th edition and has 600000 copies in print. Find it here.
Contributors: Matt Rockall, Leonie Croy, Dana Wilson, and Joanna Zilsel
Information: Website: www.sunshinecoastintransition.wordpress.com
If you have anything to add to the SCiT Newsletter, please send it in to the email above. Our new issues go out in the morning of the first Saturday of every month