On November 28th the Chateau Victoria, in the provincial capital, played host to over 50 delegates of the British Columbia Sustainable Energy Association (BCSEA).
The occasion was the 2015 annual general meeting and reception. This year’s AGM was especially notable in light of the world’s current focus on climate change.
The climate change conference in Paris, the new carbon plan in Alberta that is endorsed by big energy, and the billions of dollars that the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau has pledged to developing countries to reduce greenhouse gases all serve to accent the need and awareness of the sustainable energy issue. It is these issues that are the foundation of the BCSEA.
The BCSEA is a non-profit association dedicated to accelerating British Columbia’s transition to a low-carbon economy. The group encourages governments to adopt policies that give preference and support to renewable industries, industries such as wind, geothermal, solar and tidal energy. Additionally the BCSEA directs programs that educate British Columbians in sustainable practices. The Climate Change Showdown is one such program that teaches young people about the effects of climate change and how they can help reduce their impact on the environment.
Founder Guy Dauncey said that he felt the energy and optimism of the organisation was very powerful. The organization first started in 2003 with 8 people in Dauncey’s living room. It has grown to involve more than 1000 people over the last 12 years. Looking forward to the overarching vision for the future of BCSEA, Dauncey explained that “the goal is to move the whole of British Columbia to 100 percent renewable energy.” When asked if he had any advice for Premier Christy Clark going forward Dauncey advised her to “forget the excitement around Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and set a goal for the province to be 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.”
The BCSEA annual general meeting had presentations from a range of people across the province from the largest cities Vancouver and Victoria to the more rural areas of the province such as Kamloops and the Okanagan.
Vancouver Chapter member James Boak giving a speech on the Vancouver Chapter's work in 2014/15
The chair of Victoria’s chapter, Marion Pape, said that she was “particularly excited at the possibilities in municipal politics”. Pape looks toward focusing their efforts on municipal politics and lobbying municipal politicians to emulate Vancouver and make Victoria the leader on the Island.
Vancouver reported holding a debate in Burnaby-North Vancouver about environmental issues in federal government, which was well attended, outside the notable absence of the conservative delegate.
Presentations were also given by representatives from the Okanagan and Kamloops chapters. Ali Grovue, Executive Director of BCSEA, felt that the annual general meeting went well. She went on to say [the presentations] gave her energy and inspired her. Finance director Dave Dakers said that he has “never been more impressed by the range of projects that chapters have done”. He went on to say that the commitment by the volunteers was the best since he joined the BCSEA in 2007. Dakers said he is “absolutely proud to be a BCSEA member because of them.”
Board Secretary Jessica McIlroy and Executive Director Ali Grovue
Focusing on reaching the public and building on the strengths of the organisation is part of the BCSEA strategy going forward from the annual general meeting. Strengths that will be imperative as governments across the country increase their focus more on the environment and tackling climate change.