(PRWEB) June 26, 2012
The West Kootenays EcoSociety launched its new website making it easier for people in the West Kootenays and beyond to connect with regional environmental issues of the day and engage in community responses to those issues. A place of incredible natural beauty, the human inhabitants feel that the environment is a key asset in their quality of life. For the non-human inhabitants, the forests, waterways and alpine landscapes are home, and the protection of these places is critical to their survival.
There are several contentious issues in the West Kootenay region at this time. Since the Provincial government approved the Jumbo Glacier Resort proposal in March, ending more than 20 years of indecision on the issue, there have been protests in both the East and West Kootenays. In the East, the organization Wildsight is working to organize the community in opposition to the decision and in the West, the EcoSociety is rallying support through education and calls to action as part of the West Kootenay Coalition for Jumbo Wild. Although some do support the Jumbo project, including Kootenay East Liberal MLA Bill Bennett, the opposition to the project is strong. The EcoSociety is committed to educating the community and protecting this pristine wilderness area in the Keep Jumbo Wild campaign.
In November 2010, the EcoSociety and other environmental organizations in the province celebrated when the AXOR Glacier-Howser Independent Power Producer (IPP) proposal was put on hold. The Clean Energy Act, released in BC in 2002, is intended to encourage the production of renewable sources of energy such as wind, solar, geothermal and hydro. The act, although well-intentioned, does not take into account the possible negative environmental, social and economic impacts of IPPs. The negative impacts of the Glacier-Howser proposal include the permanent diversion of large amounts of water, damage to blue-listed bull trout fish habitat, permanent destruction due to tunnel construction and transmission lines through forests which are home to grizzlies, caribou, wolverine and mountain goats. Although the Environmental Assessment process is on hold, the EcoSociety is keeping a watchful eye on this issue and is ready to reactivate the campaign to protect this crucial wilderness area.
Not all environmental actions in the West Kootenays are coordinated by the EcoSociety, but the Society takes a keen interest in other campaigns and uses its voice to support other initiatives. Opposition to the proposed Enbridge Gateway Pipeline is province wide and are likely to increase with the recent oil spills in Alberta. In Nelson the “Caravan to Kitimat” is departing from the Nelson Commons, in front of City Hall on July 16. The EcoSociety is promoting a send off party; check Kootenays for a Pipeline Free BC on Facebook for more details.
The need to respond to pressing environmental issues is part of the mandate of the EcoSociety but long term solutions to our relationship with the Earth is also an important concern of the group. Developing an environmentally sustainable culture in the West Kootenays is a priority, and the EcoSociety has several projects to address this in concrete ways. Sharing transportation with the Kootenay Rideshare program is one way to cut the number of cars on the road. The Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) has recently provided funding for the EcoSociety to create an innovative rideshare app; more details on this project will be released in the coming weeks.
Supporting local economies, food production and distribution is another area of action. Local markets have long been a successful project of the Society, and the current market season is already well underway. On Saturdays, there is the Cottonwood Market, recently featured in Chatelaine magazine as one of the top ten farmers’ markets in Canada. On Wednesdays, there is the Nelson Downtown Local Market on Baker St., featuring fresh local produce, crafts and small businesses. Devotees can join the "I love the Wednesday" Farmer’s Market on Baker Street! Facebook group to feel the love.
The advantage of local economies is that they ultimately reduce our carbon footprint, by reducing the use of fossil fuels for transportation. Because fewer people engage in farming and food production than in past generations, we need to revitalize this part of Canada's cultural landscape. The EcoSociety celebrates the Fall Harvest each year with the Annual Fall Fair, complete with live music, games for kids, prizes for best produce, preserves and pies, plus all of the delicious food and beautiful crafts that Cottonwood Market is famous for. In addition, in the summer the Society features a monthly Marketfest, closing Baker St. for an energetic evening of vendors, live music and performances. The first Marketfest of the season is Friday June 29 and has an amazing lineup.
Volunteers are the backbone of EcoSociety projects. People who are interested in helping out can use the new webpage to explore Society projects and to get involved.
West Kootenays EcoSociety
#206 - 507 Baker St
Nelson, BC V1L 4J2
phone: (250) 354-1909
fax: (250) 354-1966