Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sustaining Our World - 2012 Highlights

The day was a little on the grey and drizzly side, but a little rainshine didn't stop our fun setting up the Sustainability Fair in the Britannia cafeteria! :)

We had a Creativity Zone for making crafty items with a wide array of recyled materials, a seed station, an area for mapping green stuff in the neighbourhood, a screening area for sustainability shorts (such as the Story of Stuff series), and we even had music to boogy to which was solar powered courtesy of the Vancouver Renewable Energy Cooperative!

We were also happy to have volunteers from Free Geek and BC Hydro who came out to share information and many fantastic ideas!

The highlight of the day was having two great teams signed up for the inaugural Britannia Race to Zero Waste - 'Felipe Squared' and the 'GangGreens' who brought plenty of keen-to-be-green team spirit!! Yay!
The whirlwind race had the teams following clues and completing challenges providing a tour of some great green intitiatives and inspiration in our community!

To highlight the food gardens that some of our students have helped to grow we began the race at the Britannia Urban Garden (BUG). The first challenge was turning compost with our food security guru Ian Marcuse.
Once their first task was complete they had to find the living wall at Grandview Park and let us know when it was unveiled. Those who live close by will know the park was re-opened in 2011, but how many have even noticed the lovely greenery outside the new washrooms?
The next clue was to find the business that sells 100% sustainable seafood and tell us what certification they require for all their seafood products. If you have yet to enjoy a fishy treat from The Daily Catch you may want to learn more about Ocean Wise which ensures that seafood is harvested in sustainable ways (no overfishing, no habitat destruction, etc)...and that's all they sell here!

Keeping the focus on water and shifting to conservation ideas, teams faced their next challenge at Victoria Park. Each member of the team had to take turns running water from one bucket to the other with a sponge and trying to lose as little as possible. Once all the water had successfully been transferred from one end to the other, they were off again!
Now they're on the lookout for a home that has taken advantage of new city by-law allowing backyard chickens. The generosity of people in this neighbourhood never ceases to amaze me as we actually had a family that welcomed our racers to explore their back yard counting chickens so they could tell us how many they saw before receiving their next clue. Though they have 7 chickens both teams only found 3 outside enjoying the misty air that day. Here's 2 that stood still long enough for a photo op ;)

The next clue was an investigation of savvy green re-design. Our local hub for theatre, The Cultch, is a historical building that has recently received a facelift. They now aim to be one of the first LEED certified arts centres in Canada. Teams had to tell us what LEED stands for to earn the next clue. Do you know what it means? Well, just in case you don't - Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

Around the corner teams were next on the hunt to find out who funded the herb garden at the corner of Adanac and Salsbury? Those of you with creative ideas for small neighbourhood projects might appreciate the 'Small is Beautiful' mindset of the Vancouver Foundation and their Neighbourhood Small Grants that have helped to fund small gardens such as this one, as well as community programming and other great projects. What bright green ideas could you use a small dose of seed money to help bring to life? 

Back on the Drive teams then had to find the place where clothing and household items are given a new life while helping a social enterprise supporting Women Working with Women. What is the name of this business? misc'cel'la'ny
If you've ever felt like you're swimming in garbage then the last challenge was for you! Set up near the pool teams had to sort a bag of garbage to see how much they could save from the landfill by sorting the waste into recycle and compost alternatives.

Along the way the teams were able to earn extra points by answering bonus questions, such as "what kind of alternative energy can you find on the fence beside the WISE Hall?", as well as for taking pictures of a team member with something from the list we provided. The GangGreens provide a couple of great examples with team members standing next to a recycling container and next to a vehicle that belongs to a car share program such as Modo, Zip or Car2Go.
We would really like to thank our racers for taking on the challenge and being the first to complete a Britannia Race to Zero Waste! Both teams completed the race with incredible speed and awesome team work! Thanks to People's Co-op Bookstore and Havana for their support and contributions to our prizes for the winners!

 Saving the best for last - all great events require many helping hands to pull off, so our organizing team is full of gratitude for all of the volunteers who came out to help us celebrate the day! (We're sorry some volunteers had left before we thought of the group photo idea!)
A couple of months ago we had an idea to organize an event that focused on Sustaining Our World, and we are happy with the day we were able to provide. And we are already planning for next years event so we can showcase even more amazing efforts being made at the local level - this community is full of them! :D

Many thanks to Latin American Youth Project and Britannia Secondary Environmental Club for helping the Britannia Green Team with a great day!

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