Everyone welcome to the Bowen in Transition Full Group Meeting

Sunday May 26
340 View Royal Pl  (off Sunset Dr)
5 pm potluck
7-9 pm meeting

Partial agenda:

  • Regular bi-monthly "circle" of 2-3 minute descriptions of Transition-related projects each of us is working on or would like to start
  • Special 5-10 minute presentations of new projects (especially those that are little-known or which need volunteers & sponsors) -- contact Shasta Martinuk <> if you'd like to present one of these
  • The "Projects Worth Doing" list being assembled by the Community Currency group
  • Possible "Introduction to Transition" workshop late September, and possible "Transitioning to the New Economy" workshop in mid-October, and the 2013 Bowen Sustainability Tour
  • Finding and creating a permanent "space" and presence for Bowen in Transition somewhere on the island (ideally a space with classroom and permaculture "demonstration' potential")
Please let others who may be interested know about these meetings, and please RSVP re: your attendance and additional agenda items to Shasta Martinuk <> and Dave Pollard <>. If you're not sure about your availability, feel free to show up last minute.
BIRD Update

The Bowen Island Recycling Depot (B.I.R.D.) is unable to accept 'Number 1' rigid plastics due to changing regulations.  The hard-working B.I.R.D. volunteers are appealing to the community to help ensure that Bowen Island complies with the updated rules.

In an effort to alleviate confusion, B.I.R.D. would like to provide the following clarification about Number 1 rigid plastic:

  • The number is inside a triangle, usually on the bottom of the container;
  • Numbers that are not in the triangle don't count;
  • There is no market for number 1 plastics, so BIRD has nowhere to send them;
  • Bottles with refund value are unaffected by these changes, so keep bringing them;
  • Number 1 plastics go in your garbage for now;
  • Any plastics without a triangle go into garbage;
  • All other numbered rigid plastics are acceptable for recycling at B.I.R.D. except Styrofoam;
  • All plastics must be free from food residue.
The current situation is a direct result of changing regulations in China. Most of our plastics go overseas for recycling and China is now enforcing rules that it has, up until now, been lax about.  

This has led to new rules put in force here to avoid plastics that are difficult to recycle, including the No. 1 plastic which tends to splinter and shatter when baled, making it awkward to handle. The end result is that B.I.R.D. has nowhere to send them because there is no value or market for this particular plastic.

To separate your plastics, the numbers are inside a triangle located on the bottom of the container. All plastics without a triangle, or plastics with a number outside the triangle cannot be accepted, and are deemed as garbage. B.I.R.D. accepts all rigid plastics with the numbers 2, 4 and 5.

B.I.R.D. is requesting  help from the public in volunteering a couple of hours to stand by the plastics bin and help explain the new rules and how to identify Number 1 plastics. If interested, please contact Jim McConnan at or 604-947-2574.

Gaia -- Singing the Sacred Web

Music by Karl Jenkins and Paul Winters
St. Andrew's-Wesley United Church
(Burrard & Nelson)
A concert featuring 100-voice choir, including a number of Bowen Islander singers, (some whom you just might know) conducted by Alison Nixon.
Tickets $20; Available from choir members, call 604.926-1621 or at the door.

Hemcrete Building Workshop to be held in Nelson is excited to be hosting a comprehensive hemp-building course on a real hemp-house that is being built in Nelson, BC! Participants can expect to learn lots, have fun, and get your hands dirty. This course is being offered in two parts, a 7 day building intensive in Early July, followed by a 4 day plastering and pigmentation course Sept 22-26 that will be focused upon the exterior and interior finishing of a HempCrete structure.

A discount is available for those people taking both course segments. This course includes wonderful home cooked organic meals and accommodations in our beautiful retreat setting within walking distance of Nelson BC. You will be participating in the construction of a round Mandala Hemp-crete home.

This course will give you the experience you need to successfully build a HempCrete structure of your own. Email for more details:

Become an Ocean Keeper

While Australia recently protected over 35 per cent of its marine ecosystems, Canada has protected less than one per cent. Even the United States is doing a better job of safeguarding its ocean environment.

The David Suzuki Foundation invites everyone who loves the ocean to help out by becoming an Ocean Keeper. "Whether you have just a few minutes a month, or are ready to be a community ambassador, everyone can play a role to protect our oceans. Joining the Ocean Keepers team will allow you to work together with others to make a real difference. Whatever you decide, we’ll help you along the way."

Click on the image above to get involve and help protect our oceans!

Good Reads

What does resilience meant to you? For Joanne Poyourow, from Transition Los Angeles,  resilience means building up our “bounce-back-ability” – putting in place the local resources and social interconnections that will help us flex and adapt with whatever the future throws our way. That makes sense to me. I also really like the way she's defined disposable as "a marketing department euphemism for brazen waste and destruction. Single-use anything is a waste of money, plus it is pillaging our planetary life-support system and the fair shares of other peoples."

Joanne's book, 10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy offers a survival kit for what lies ahead. The 10 Practical Tools work together -- like interlocking puzzle pieces -- to form the foundation of a new, more fulfilling and sustainable economy. Check it out by
clicking here.

New Book by Rob Hopkins

Rob Hopkin's new book -- The Power of Just Doing Stuff: how local action can change the world is due out June 13. Here's the buzz:

“Something is stirring. People around the world are deciding that the well-being of their local community and its economy lies with them. They’re people like you. They’ve had enough, and, rather than waiting for permission, they’re rolling up their sleeves, getting together with friends and neighbours, and doing something about it. Whether they start small or big, they’re finding that just doing stuff can transform their neighbourhoods and their lives.

The Power of Just Doing Stuff argues that this shift represents the seeds of a new economy – the answer to our desperate search for a new way forward – and at its heart is people deciding that change starts with them. Communities worldwide are already modelling a more local economy rooted in place, in well-being, in entrepreneurship and in creativity. And it works”. Click on the image above to read more.

The Transition Free Press now available!

The Summer Issue is packed with 24 pages of full-on, full colour news and views from the Transition Network folks. Great photographs, great articles, contributed by Transitioners and community activists working in the field. Ordinary people doing extraordinary stuff in all kinds of places: in the city, in the wild, in books, housing co-ops, small businesses, allotments, in the park, down the pub, on the (solar- panelled) roof, underwater, even on the netball court. We’re in Greece, Spain, France and Portugal; we’re in Sheffield, Louth,  Crystal Palace and Lostwithiel. Click here to read online.

Let Them Eat Chocolate
and hedgerow jam cake, with elderflower custard. 

Transitioners have figured it out that "people don't change their behaviour in response to information, fear of future consequences, or even being inspired. We respond instead to positive depictions of the future and being given the practical tools to make change." Sara Ayech writes that this became evidently clear as as her local group hosted one of their most successful events ever - CakeFest. The event was dreamt up over a vegan boxing day dinner, with the goal of taking people a step or two further down the road towards ethically and locally sourced food through the lens of a vegan bake sale, and cake-making demos.

Check out the tasty blog by clicking here.

Hot Under the Collar about Wasteful Design
Katy Anderson introduces the cutting edge approach to zero waste. Click here to read  more.  


May 2013

Transitions e-newsletter is intended for any and all Bowen Islanders interested in creating resilient, vibrant communities that are ready for a post peak-oil future, and are involved in averting climate change through positive, grassroots local action.

The intent of this newsletter is to deliver:

  • Information on local projects and initiatives, publicity of upcoming events, workshops, etc.
  • An inspiring report on projects being undertaken elsewhere.
  • A link to a YouTube, or other easily accessible video with provocative, innovative and interesting content regarding energy, economy and our relationship with the earth and all living things.
  • A needs list, or wish list, identifying equipment, expertise and general requests for assistance for local initiatives.
  • Suggestions on actions you can take to help save the world.
Contributions are welcome. Please email:

PLEASE NOTE that inclusion of articles and videos does not indicate endorsement by Bowen in Transition or the editors. They are offered as food for thought and further personal research and understanding of the information, principles, initiatives and projects is always encouraged.


Removing Waste from our Oceans

19-year-old Boyan Slat has unveiled plans to create an Ocean Cleanup Array that could remove 7,250,000 tons of plastic waste from the world’s oceans. The device consists of an anchored network of floating booms and processing platforms that could be dispatched to garbage patches around the world. Click here to read more about this invention.

California town of Sebastopol will require solar panels on all new homes

The small community of Sebastopol, Calif., in Sonoma wine country has just become California’s second city to require that new homes be outfitted with panels to produce solar energy.

Sebastopol’s ordinance will require new residential and commercial buildings — as well as major additions and remodelings — to include a photovoltaic energy-generation system. The system would have to provide 2 watts of power per square foot of insulated building area or offset 75 percent of the building’s annual electric load. In situations where solar power is impractical, such as shaded areas, new buildings may use other energy alternatives or pay a fee.

Read more about this initiative here.

Meanwhile, back in Canada

The Drake Landing Solar Community (DLSC) is a master-planned neighbourhood of 52 homes in the Town of Okotoks, Alberta, Canada that has successfully integrated Canadian energy efficient technologies with a renewable, unlimited energy source – the sun.

DLSC is heated by a district energy system designed to store abundant solar energy underground during summer months and distribute the energy to each home for space heating needs during winter months.

The community is unprecedented in the world:
  • Establishing the largest subdivision of R-2000 single-family homes in Canada, each being 30% more efficient than conventional housing;
  • Fulfilling 90% of each home’s space heating requirements from solar energy and resulting in less dependency on fossil fuels;
  • Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per home by 5 tonnes annually.
For more information, and an explanation of how it works, click on the image above.

While over in Ireland, it's hard not to get excited by the eco-village Cloughjordon

The ecovillage is set within the heritage village of Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary.
It's surrounded by 50 acres of land dedicated to woodland and active food production.

A renewable energy centre provides heat and hot water to all homes, and the eco hostel "DJango's" is now open. Construction on the "WeCreate" green enterprise centre has started and plans are in place for more community buildings.

Building is complete or well underway for many of the planned 114 low-energy homes and 16 live-work units. As of July 2012 we have more than 50 buildings complete and more due to start shortly.

Founding members of the ecovillage first came together in 1999 to incorporate Sustainable Projects Ireland Limited, which trades as The Village. The Village is a company limited by guarantee but with articles of association ensuring that the group operates in much the same way as a cooperative.

A members agreement defines members' rights and obligations. In addition members subscribe to an ecological charter which sets out guidelines for the design of the development and which will continue to affect all future operations.

Cloughjordon is a member of the European Eco Village Network.

Ecovillages are urban or rural communities of people who strive to integrate a supportive social environment with a low impact way of life. To achieve this, they integrate various aspects of ecological design, permaculture, ecological building, green production, alternative energy, community building practices, and much more. The means by which an ecovillage grows and evolves are as follows:

Community aspects

» Recognising and relating to the needs of the local community
» Sharing common resources and providing mutual aid
» Emphasising holistic and preventative health practices
» Providing work by fostering ecological business ideas
» Promoting unending education
» Fostering cultural expression

Ecological aspects

» Growing food as much as possible within the community bio-region
» Supporting organic food production
» Creating homes out of local materials where possible
» Using village based renewable energy systems
» Protecting biodiversity
» Fostering ecological business principles
» Assessing the life cycle of all products used from an ecological point of view
» Preserving clean soil, water and air through proper energy and waste management
» Protecting nature and safeguarding wilderness areas

Cultural aspects

» Shared creativity, artistic expression, cultural activities and celebrations
» Sense of community unity and mutual support
» Shared vision and agreements that emphasize the cultural heritage and the uniqueness  of each community

For more info on Cloughjordon, click here.



James Hansen: Why I must speak out about climate change

Recently, top climate scientist, Dr. James (Jim) Hansen announced he was retiring from his duties at NASA. "Retirement" is not exactly where he is headed apparently.  Dr. Hansen has made clear that he will become more engaged in communicating climate science to the general public and he will continue to carry out the high-quality work which he is known for.

In this TED talk, Jansen tells the story of his involvement in the science of and debate over global climate change. In doing so he outlines the overwhelming evidence that change is happening and why that makes him deeply worried about the future. Click on the image above to hear what Dr. Hansen has to say.


Hopeful founder Alex Steffen argues that reducing humanity's ecological footprint is incredibly vital now, as the western consumer lifestyle spreads to developing countries.

Here is an inspiring presentation
 by Alex Steffen, one of the world's 
leading voices on sustainability and 
planetary futurism. 

Take a quick tour through some amazing 
innovations already in use that can put 
the world on the path to healing. He 
speaks of the Bright Green City, featuring 
buildings that generate their own electricity, 
recycle their own waste and have green roofs. 

And he tells us of a flower that can detect 
the presence of mines. Click on the image above to watch this TED talk.


Resilience Fairs -- coming soon to an island in Howe Sound?

At least two Canadian transition groups recently held events that created community and helped people build strategies for sustainable living. Both Salt Spring and Guelph hosted
Resilience Festivals, inspired by other transition groups around the world.  So what is it? Resilience Fairs can be just about anything you want them to be and as unique as the host village.

In Guelph they held a re-skilling fair, with dozens of people gathered around tables in a local hall to learn everything from knitting and darning to beer-making and worm composting, to bird-house making to sprouting. Meanwhile in the kitchen, Canadian Organic Growers were hosting their Organic Stone Soup workshop (culminating in an amazing soup and organic bread lunch for festival goers)!  In another room, people heard strategies for sustainable building, and resilient healthcare.

The group also held a Community Connections fair, with more than 30 exhibitors introducing all types of innovations and ideas for living more sensitively on the planet  Meanwhile, lively facilitated discussions on a dozen topics lit up the stage area.They also had a kid’s area, face painting, seed-planting, a scavenger hunt, kid’s parade, a stuff swap.

In the evening, an army of volunteers descended on the hall to reconfigure everything for the Earth Hour potluck, while still more volunteers turned a mountain of donated food into delicious salads and other dishes, sliced bread and arranged donated desserts on tables. Meanwhile a Celtic band and two solo performers entertained followed by a poetry slam.  Sounds like fun?

Over at Salt Spring, the folks there held a one-day event, with over 25 community groups represented.

Activities began with opening remarks by Rob Hopkins, who taped a message especially for this event. The main thrust of his talk was on Local Economic Resiliency and he spoke eloquently about the importance of groups taking the time to celebrate their successes.
The main purpose behind the Salt Spring Resiliency Fair was to highlight and celebrate the community’s successes at becoming more resilient and to support the groups doing the on the ground work. Transition Salt Spring did this by inviting organizations /groups to the fair to tell the community about what it is they do, their successes, and to engage the public with a question or two, the answers which might help direct their work into the future. This was the public engagement part of the day. A number of these groups’ successes were highlighted on stage. A few new groups were introduced: A new Clean Energy Group, Letter Writing Group, and Car/Truck/Camper Van Co-op group.

Elizabeth May surprised the audience by showing up and introducing the Key Note Speaker, her friend, Michael Lewis.  Lewis is the author of the book Resilience Imperative: Cooperative Transitions to a Steady – State Economy. Lewis made the case a transformative change from a global growth economy fed by fossil fuels toward more local and resilient economies.

Could Bowen stage the next Canadian-based Resilience Fair? Just might be something to think about...