Hello BCSEA members!
We welcome new Steering Committee members, September Smith, Yaqiong Wang and Scott Mellett. And we thank Eleri Davies, Jesse Fraser and Larissa Stendie, who are stepping down – our volunteers make it all happen!
Our most exciting new project in 2018 was YIP – the Youth Involvement Project – lead by Steering Committee veteran and former educator, Rafe Sunshine. YIP educates high school students about renewable energy through presentations, and it works through the school counselling system to line up student work experience placements with sustainability businesses. Three high schools and five business members have signed on, and more schools are interested for 2019.
This summer, we worked with Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition; Walk On, Victoria; Greater Victoria Placemaking Network; Island Transformations Network; and Better Transit Alliance of Greater Victoria to highlight sustainable transportation in the municipal elections. We sent questionnaires to the candidates for all thirteen municipalities in the Victoria area. Half responded, and we got over 17,000 views of our joint website. We continued our 100% Renewable Energy by 2050 initiative, encouraging the municipalities on southern Vancouver Island to adopt and implement this ambitious, but necessary target. During 2018, we:
- pitched to Victoria a solar PV array for the Centennial Square bandstand;
- met with Mayor Lisa Helps to discuss how to build public support for 100% RE;
- joined Saanich’s One Planet Living Initiative, which engages businesses and other groups to make their own sustainability plans;
- acted as client for a UVic Environmental Law Centre student research project on legal tools for 100% RE;
- developed resolutions on 100% RE for Esquimalt to sponsor at the Union of BC Municipalities convention;
- made 100% RE presentations to half a dozen groups, including Metchosin Council and BCSEA’s own 2018 Energy Connections event.
We had a booth at Car Free Day, when a dozen block of downtown Victoria were closed to cars and opened to people. Thirty-five thousand people attended, and 300 people voted in our “bean poll” to choose their favourite mode of sustainable transportation. We held four pub nights, with speakers on home retrofit grants, green investing and other topics. Our January planning retreat drew 20 participants from local government, business and NGOs to exchange views and build our community of support. And the Victoria Chapter worked diligently to align our budgeting and accounting with the new standards that came with BCSEA’s newly acquired charitable status.
For 2019, we will continue YIP and the 100% RE by 2050 initiative, and we look forward to working with BCSEA head office to strengthen the organization, build membership, collaborate more with other chapters and generally support sustainable energy in BC.
If you live in the greater Victoria area and you have a great idea for a sustainable energy project, or if you just want to find out more about BCSEA, please give us a call or send an email. We are always looking for volunteers.