SPECtrum Newsletter - Feb 2017 
Happy 2017 to all of you! Oh wait, is it February already?

We are having a very active and exciting start to the year with workshops and events for a number of our projects including the Elders Circle, the Climate Change Adaptation for Small Scale Farmers project, the School Gardens Program, Master Recycler and the Climate Change and Energy Education Program.

We are also very excited about our new board, elected at the November 2016 AGM. New energy, passion and skills have joined the team promising a very dynamic and inspiring 2017 for all of us. Read on and meet our Board!

Finally, I invite you to enjoy an article on the Connect Conference held in Vancouver in the late Fall, a piece on Co-ops around the world and Carole Christopher's piece on Climate Change, Uncertainty, and Elder Wisdom.

Stay connected with SPEC and your community. Learn, Volunteer, Donate today!


Oliver, SPEC ED

Practical Tips and Tools for Small-Scale, Diversified Farmers

On January 29, SPEC hosted a workshop as part of our Climate Change Adaptation for Small Scale Farmers project. The aim of the project is to explore strategies and approaches to farming that address issues, which improve growers' ability to weather changes and challenges brought on by a changing climate.

We had a wonderful day learning and collaborating with a number of local, passionate farmers and soils, pest management and irrigation experts. A big thank you to all participants, facilitators, volunteers and staff, our partners
UBC Botanical Garden
Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm
Young Agrarians and 
Vancouver Urban Farming Society 
and our funders 
Vancouver Foundation and 
Whole Foods Market Vancouver.

Also a big thank you to the Gow-Jarrett and Millard family for their generous contribution to this project. 
Welcome to SPEC's New Board of Directors
At the AGM in November 2016, the new board was elected, retaining eight previous directors and welcoming four new passionate and highly skillful members. We are excited for the work ahead! Meet the board here.
CONNECT: Catalyzing Social Connections

In 2012, the Vancouver Foundation presented the results of a survey of metro Vancouver revealing that people in the region identified their greatest concern as a growing sense of isolation

Since that study, social isolation and ways to remedy it has been the subject of frequent discussions. In December, 2016, the City of Vancouver, Vancouver Coastal Health and Metro Vancouver presented CONNECT: Catalyzing a Social Movement, a day-long event that offered a range of activities to engage and teach participants about making connections.

The conference was facilitated by The Leverage Lab, a project incubated by SPEC, and Richard Drake, Coordinator of the SPEC Elders Circle, co-hosted the workshop on inclusiveness. Read More
Report on the International Summit of Cooperatives: The Power to Act

How many people world-wide are members of co-operatives? The answer is a stunning One Billion. One out of every 7.5 people belong to an organization whose values focus explicitly on democracy, equality, sustainability and cooperation.* Their annual revenue is a whopping $3 Trillion!  That’s roughly equivalent to the annual budget of the US Government ($3.25 T,) and nearly twice the annual global military budget. ($1.6T)  Despite thinking of ourselves as a “private sector society,” many banks, businesses, housing options, lots of NGO’s bring the added value of cooperative principles to their products and services. Read More
What do you know about BC's energy system?
SPEC is working with a team of UBC students looking at public perception of BC's energy system. If you are interested, and have 5-10 minutes, please take this quick perception survey for this UBC student led project, overseen by Professor Sara Harris, on British Columbia’s electricity system. 

SPEC Elders Circle, February 28
Contributing Positively in Negative Times

Join us and other engaged elders as we explore the many qualities of Elder Wisdom. Why is this important? Our planet faces numerous crises. Seniors are a living reservoir of experience, knowledge and skills. However, that role has been minimized in society and relinquished by seniors. This is a huge loss for all.

Why should you come? The SPEC Elders Circle is offering a space and process that encourages deep reflection, personal connection and intimate discussion to foster the emergence of this wisdom.

Please join us at our February 28 event “Contributing Positively in Negative Times” at Kitsilano Neighbourhood House, 2305 West 7th Ave, Vancouver, between 5.30-8.30pm. Everyone is welcome. Light Supper provided.

Register at For more information please contact Project Coordinator Richard Drake at 604-499-5045, or Program information is available at

"The current problem on
the climate front has less to do with the climate than with our highly toxic public discourse and inability to talk to each other."  


Vancouver City Councillor Andrea Reimer at the recent CONNECT Conference

Embracing Uncertainty: a Principle of Mature Elder Wisdom

Dwelling in anger, resentment, envy and other negative emotions may have served as purpose in evolutionary survival but we forget how harmful they are to our spiritual/emotional well-being.  When we cling to negative emotions we give them enormous power to affect our lives and the lives of those around us.  They are impeding our ability to respond appropriately to the growing climate crisis. 

Contemporary physicists and meditation masters from ancient and modern times agree that there is a reality beyond our current capacity to fathom from our sensory experience and our everyday minds.  To put it succinctly, things do not exist as we think they do and we have only barely tapped the potential of our consciousness. Our beliefs are actually concepts based on cultural conventions and a lifetime of training to see things a certain way.  If we can’t be certain about what we see, hear, feel, taste, why are we so convinced that our views are correct and we’re entitled to speak with such certainty.  Can we make room for other views and find common ground?  Our future well-being may depend on it.

-Carole Christopher, SPEC President.  

Our Thank-Yous 
- A big thank you to our community supporters and matching donors that helped us raise $8,000+ this past Fall. This will be a great boost for our programs this year.
- If you are planning a birthday party and don't want the usual gifts, why not encourage your friends to give in your name to SPEC! 
A donation, no matter the amount, will help further our work in the community, and your friends and family will receive a tax receipt!
Through our Climate Change and Energy Education program, SPEC offers workshops for grades 7 and 9 as well as field trips to our Solar Panel installation in Vancouver. If you are interested contact Frances at
Come and check out what are teams are working on.

SPEC Committee Meeting Dates (meetings are open to the public)
▪ Energy & Transportation:
  ▪ 6 PM - 7:30 PM, Wed, Feb 15th: Kits House (2305 West 7th Ave)
  ▪ The 3rd Wed of each month

▪ Food & Environment:
   5:30 PM – 7 PM, Tues, Feb 21: Kits House (2305 West 7th Ave)
   The 2nd Tues of each month.

▪ Zero Waste:
   6:30 PM – 8 PM, Wed, Mar 08: 1055 West Broadway, 2nd Floor Boardroom
  ▪ The 2nd Wed of each month.
Photo/image credits: www.thefrogblog (Thank-Yous). Other images and photos from SPEC.
Copyright © 2017 Society Promoting Environmental Conservation - SPEC, All rights reserved.

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