Have you gone away this year yet? I took a mini getaway on the sunshine coast for a weekend, and it was so beautiful, to eat fresh organic vegetarian meal, listen to people play guitar followed by walks along the beach and enjoying the hot tub in the sunset. You really couldn't ask more from life. Half Moon Haven Beachfront Retreat and Spa is where I stayed, they have a volleyball court which I used to play badminton, a trampoline set, gorgeous beach, sauna and hot tub. You can bring your own food and use their kitchen. The people are friendly and nice. When I arrived, a retreat for Ayawaska just finished so everyone was smiling. Feel free to contact Chris and Jennifer Fletcher at http://www.halfmoonhaven.com / for your getaway or retreat. The sun is always shining there, and magic awaits you.
Earth Day BBQ @ Regional Recycling
On Sunday, April 22, a glorious sunny Sunday, I went out to Regional Recycling Richmond Depot to check out their Earth Day celebration. This family run business is celebrating their 25th anniversary with the recent opening of their 7th location, which is in Cloverdale. As soon as we arrived at this rather large recycling depot, we were met with friendly staff cooking up a nice BBQ with organic beef and vegetarian hot dog, with Tim Horton’s donuts and organic apples. We grabbed a hot dog and checked out the honey bee fun station where we learned how honey is made; how many bees typically live in a bee hive, and all the different functions of bees. It was fascinating. We then went inside, and there was an arts and crafts station with recyclable material, and an artist who did face painting and balloon animals. There were quite a few kids around, and they were having a blast.
We went for a tour of the depot and learned about all the different material they take in for recycling, from your everyday stuff like plastic pop bottles, metal soda cans, milk cartons, cardboard paper, to electronics, batteries, paint, scrap metal, etc. The only thing they don’t accept is old medicine, which you need to take to a pharmacy for disposal. It was neat to see the giant machines that compress all the material into tight squares that then come out at the other end.
There were a few informational booths at the event. We spoke to a representative for Developmental Disability Association, who was there to collect used clothes, bottles, and etc. They are a local charity that has been around for 16 years. They fundraise for programs to help those with developmental disabilities to further their skills training and learning. They gave away a foldable water bottle and a keychain in the shape of their truck that is actually a small tape measure. You can find out more at www.develop.bc.ca Right next to them was another non-profit called ElectroRecycle, which is a not-for-profit recycling program for small appliances and power tools in B.C. The program accepts over 300 types of electrical appliances, including microwaves, hair dryers, electric toothbrushes, power tools, sewing machines and treadmills, and has a collection network of over 135 facilities around the province. ElectroRecycle is the first program of its kind in North America.
Fun fact: By bringing a recyclable item, you get a chance to enter the draw to win a brand new bike. The contest ends May 1, so go visit Regional Recycling at all their seven locations.
New Economy Summit @ UBC
We walked into the Building for Sustainability at the University of British Columbia to join a group of passionate students, academics, and social activists who are at the forefront of making the world a greener and more livable place to share ideas, and exchange dialogue with the general public in order to find solutions at the New Economic Summit.
became clear that as climate change accelerates, inequality increases,
and the imperatives of global finance drive speculative bubbles, the
organizers want to formulate a new approach to economic thinking. The
main question asked at this conference was: Due to the fact that our
political system hasn’t addressed an economic structural change, can
Canada’s universities jump start transition to a new economy?
This is a gathering of people who understand that there’s something fundamentally wrong with the current economic system and the pioneers who are already building a new economy. The students and community organizations hosting this summit have invited students from universities across the region, citizens and organizations who are interested in building momentum for this movement.
The vibe at the summit was high energy, and intellectually stimulating, as the audience was constantly throwing penetrating questions at the speakers, and many also contributed very valuable content adding value to the discussion. My friend and I participated in a session on Saturday called "Strategies for Economic Democracy" lead by Donnie McLurcan, Mike Lewis, and John Restakis.
The three talked extensively on case studies on Co-ops. In particular, a food co-op in Japan started in the 1970s that employs 1,600 staff called "Teikei" which delivers fresh organic produce and stables to its members' home directly, now has $1.1 billion dollars in sales annually.
This was achieved by collecting the equivalent of an $11 monthly membership. This shining example was followed by other illustrious examples of thriving co-op such as Sweden's JAK Bank, which doesn't utilize usury as a part of their banking practice of profiteering; and the caretaking system of mentally handicapped children called “Copaps” in Northern Italy.
When asked why the co-op has not taken over the market share of their perspective industry, the speaker noted that the Japanese food co-op only provides 600 basic and staple items, but a typically store has between 900-300,000 items, and most of them are cheaper to purchase. The speaker also said that these institutions aren’t for everyone. We spoke to the speaker regarding the rise of social enterprise in North America after his session, and he was excited to share that the "Mondragon" in Northern Spain, with 83,859 workers and consisting of 270 enterprises including big manufacturing plants, is the largest co-op in the world. They're healthy, thriving and making good wages, and contributing greatly to the stability of that region.
One of the most exciting panels we heard from was on Building a new economy by defining values. The line up was rather amazing: Elizabeth U, Found and Executive Director for Finance For Food, Vanessa Timmer, Co-Founder and Director for One Earth Initiative, and Dr. John Helliwell. We were most impressed with the speaker Dr. John Helliwell, the expert on happiness. He said that those who cooperate with others have a higher chance of survival, and it's those social connections that make us happy. Research has shown that there are 6 defining factors to reach happiness:
2) Healthy Life Expectancy
3) Someone to count on in times of trouble
4) Lack of corruption
Zamir Dhanji is an influential modern shaman, musician, artist and poet, who has woven many community gatherings to bring celebration, ceremony, and the ritual and concept of “Ayni” reciprocity from the Andean culture to Vancouver. This Dance of Life was held on Earth Day, which is April 21st, at St. Mark’s Anglican Church, offering an all day celebration between the generations to have fun and create fulfillment.
This event had a full program starting with Andean Wisdom Teachings and Personal Earth Rituals with Jhaimy Alvarez Costa, followed by community gift circles, and later, Partner Yoga with Slave and Jolene. The evening entertainment portion was an eclectic and varied line up of musicians and performers ranging from DJ Ash; Shakuhashi bamboo flute master, Alcvin Ryuzen Ramos; Buckman Coe; Bocephus King; Friends of Hafiz; and Zelko Kraken.
The venue was transformed into a giant open space, where a big carpet was laid in the middle with comfy pillows, and meditation cushions were used for a big cuddle party. We heard, we laughed, we played and danced to music, poetry and watched each other freely express our gifts.
Event partner, Seedstock was at the reception, kindly receiving door payment in seed stock. Food vendors such as Eternal Abundance and Golden Aura provided delicious vegetarian meals, Chai, and coconut chocolate dessert balls, which could also be paid in seed stock.
The event was from 2-11pm, with over 100 people in attendance. Proceeds from the event go to support Teen Journey Society, a Vancouver based non-profit group that leads rites of passage for youth.
Teen Journey is a transformational, experiential program for youth aged 13 - 19 in search of truth, freedom and the power of inner guidance. Indigenous wisdom meets the human potential movement in Teen Journey – a unique, experiential and transformational program for youth to develop their personal power and leadership potential.