Sustainability Fair this weekend

  • Oct. 14, 2009 11:00 a.m.

By Heather Ramsay-Linking the local with the global and getting islanders’ input and solutions when it comes to climate change is what this weekend’s Sustainable Living Fair is all about. Organizer Jacques Morin said the idea for the weekend fair, which will be held Oct. 16 to 18 at the Haida Heritage Centre and other venues, came about as the local Sierra Club group discussed the challenges of climate change. “We discussed what we can do best as an organization to help community members and leaders make personal changes,” said Mr. Morin, who is himself a huge advocate for renewable energy, going so far as setting up solar panels at his home, which now return power back to the BC Hydo grid. Mr. Morin said the fair, which includes speakers, workshops, booths showcasing local sustainable initiatives and more, is about the people of Haida Gwaii becoming informed about global issues, their local impacts and finding a way to move forward in a sustainable way. “We want to know what the public’s vision of sustainability is for Haida Gwaii,” said Mr. Morin. Leaders’ panels will allow for discussion of what is already happening in some sectors, like at the opening address on Oct. 16 when Haida Nation president Guujaaw and Forest Service district manager Len Munt will talk about the vision for land and resource use on the islands and explain how far things have come. Connections will be made between global and local initiatives on forestry, fisheries, food, economic development and more during afternoon panel sessions. “In order to overcome challenges, we need to build unity,” said Mr. Morin, of the successes on the islands so far. But the public also needs to get involved. Developing skills is just one way to become part of the solution, said organizer Stephanie Fung. “The small changes you make in your life can have an impact,” she said. To that end, workshops where people can learn how to compost, repair their bikes, make jam, use solar and wind energy and more, will be offered throughout the weekend. The fair also wants to practice what it preaches, so the Green Team, a group of youth from Queen Charlotte Secondary, have amassed a pile of plates, cups and cutlery for use during the weekend. But Ms Fung said people should still bring their own cups and bowls, especially to the dinner, as there isn’t enough for everyone. “There will be no disposables,” she said. A free shuttle will bring people from Old Massett, Masset, Port Clements, Tlell and Sandspit to the events at the Haida Heritage Centre in Skidegate. Phone 559-4461 to reserve a seat. The events start at 7 pm on Friday, Oct. 16 at the Haida Heritage Centre with Guujaaw and Mr. Munt’s vision for the future, along with pirate performance theatre and storytelling by Diane Brown. On Saturday, the doors open at 9 am with coffee for all and a chance to browse the display booths. Severn Cullis-Suzuki will give a keynote address at 10:15 am outlining a way forward towards sustainable living. Panels and workshops are spread out throughout Saturday and Sunday (see the schedule on-line at The community dinner starts at 6 pm at the Skidegate community hall and everyone is welcome. Don’t forget to view local artists’ banners celebrating sustainability, which are decorating the Spirit Lake Trail. Go for a walk and check them out!