View this email in your browser


Cultivating Community Resilience


November 2014

Benefit for Burnaby Mountain Caretakers

SPEC is in support of the cause of protestors currently attempting to prevent Kinder Morgan from conducting survey work on Burnaby Mountain. SPEC President, Rob Baxter, was there last week to show support for the cause. A benefit for the Burnaby Mountain Caretakers/BROKE is being planned for Thursday, November 27 at 7:30 pm at the Law Courts Inn, 800 Smithe Street, Vancouver.
Confirmed speakers for the benefit include Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Kennedy Stewart (MP for Burnaby-Douglas and NDP Critic for Science and Technology), Stephen Collis, Lynne Quarmby,  and Alan Dutton.
Music will be provided by Simon Patrick Russell and his band as well as Ramy Essam, the "Voice of the Egyptian Revolution."
Tickets are $25 (or pay what you can) and the first 200 sold will include a copy of a very special limited edition poem by Stephen Collis. Get your tickets here.
For more information, visit the organizers' Facebook page.

SPEC ZERO Fossil Fuels Campaign Launch

By Thomas Williams

On October 28th, SPEC launched its ZERO Fossil Fuels campaign in front of a crowd of students, academics, political candidates, and concerned citizens at UBC’s Robson Square.
Rather than the usual bleak future that is common among presentations on fossil fuels, the focus of this event was solutions and successes. SPEC President, Rob Baxter, kicked the evening off with his presentation about technologies and policies that are currently implemented in other jurisdictions that could help reduce Vancouver’s carbon emissions by up to 90 percent from current levels. Rob outlined the measures necessary to reduce Vancouver's GHG emissions, which is one of the targets in the plans to be the world’s Greenest City by 2020.
The second presenter of the evening was Ben West, a revered climate action campaigner with Forest Ethics.  Ben highlighted the power ordinary citizens can have in curtailing future fossil fuel infrastructure. From the Kinder Morgan pipeline protests in Burnaby to the coalition of Cowboys and Indians in Nebraska, Ben went over the successes that social movements across Canada and the U.S. are having in slowing the pace of oil sands expansion.
The ZERO Fossil Fuels campaign is the embodiment of a world concerned about the environmental and social consequences of our addiction to fossil fuels. The presenters showed that the technology and the will exist to transition us towards a more sustainable future.  The time has come to exit the fossil fuel era of energy and enter the new wave of renewables.  Will you join us?
To learn more about practical examples of how communities can eliminate fossil fuels from their energy needs, please visit
If you would like to volunteer for this campaign contact or call us at 604-736-7732

'From The Waste Up' brings people together


A few days ago the Waste Committee hosted it's first documentary screening: "From the Waste Up", Taina Utto's excellent film about her plastic-free life in Vancouver.  More than 60 people joined the discussion and learned about tricks to move away from single-use plastics. The event was hosted at The Hive and in partnership with CEP (Connecting Environmental Professionals).
With all the changes happening in our waste management systems - -an upcoming ban on organics from the landfill, Canada embarking on an Extensive Producer Responsibility framework and the province already beginning a conversation about what circular economy would look like in this region -- it is easy to get the impression in Vancouver that we are already doing as much we can to reduce our waste foot print. But while these long-term changes take place, we are still trapped in a system that makes fossil fuel-derived  products the cheapest and most convenient option.   

In contrast to what happens in hundreds of cities around the world where iconic single use plastic items are banned, in Vancouver they can still be found everywhere for free and the decision to avoid them still rests on the individual to actively refuse them. This is why we were so excited to present this movie that speaks about personal decisions and about letting go of wasteful habits. We are already receiving feedback from people who are re-thinking before accepting plastics. 

At SPEC's waste committee we are thinking about creative ways to promote these kind of decisions and we are always looking for enthusiastic people to join our efforts. If you are interested, please get in touch!

School Gardens

School is back and the SPEC School Gardens Program is also back in our partnering schools.  We have been doing lots in the gardens this fall - enjoying the harvest, planting garlic, transplanting winter vegetables, preparing the gardens for winter, and saving some seeds!  Please see the latest blog post on our School Gardens Blog to find out more:

Solar: Six times more expensive than in Toronto?

We are currently working with the City of Vancouver to adopt better policies for solar energy installations. We are asking them to look at best practices in other cities and adopt permitting policies similar to the cities of Toronto, Seattle and San Jose for Photovoltaic (PV) solar energy systems. As well, we recommend reducing the cost of electrical permits for PV systems.

Currently the cost of permitting a PV system in Vancouver is 6 times the cost of an equivalent system in Toronto.

Please consider contacting the City of Vancouver and asking them to take a better approach to solar energy. For more information check this out.

SPEC in new office!

SPEC has now moved to a new office in the newly renovated Kitsilano Neighbourhood House, 2305 West 7th Avenue, Vancouver V6K 1Y4 (the entrance to our office is on Vine, up the stairs).
We are very pleased with the move and delighted to be sharing a bright new space with Kits House!

SPEC Annual General Meeting

When: Friday December 5, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Where: Kits House, 2305 West 7th, Vancouver

The SPEC 2014 AGM is coming up soon and all SPEC members and friends are welcome to attend. For more information please contact

5th Annual Vancouver Urban Farming Forum

The Vancouver Urban Farming Society (VUFS) is delighted to announce it's 5th Annual Vancouver Urban Farming Forum, AGM & Social on November 30 at the Croatian Cultural Centre. The annual forum is an opportunity for urban farmers from across the region, policymakers, food security advocates, urban agriculture enthusiasts, members of the public, and all others with an interest and involvement in urban farming to come together. More information here.

Triple Your Gift to SPEC


Our goal this Fall is to raise $30,000 to support three of our current programs: the School Gardens Program, the Zero Fossil Fuels Campaign and the Zero Waste School. A generous supporter has pledged to donate $10,000 and another generous donor offered to match donations from the community up to $10,000. If we can raise an additional $10,000 from generous people like you we would reach our goal! Donate until December 31st and Triple Your Gift!
Triple your Gift Campaign - Your donation will be tripled until December 31st
Copyright © 2014 Society Promoting Environmental Conservation - SPEC, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences