Whistler Celebrates International Mountain Day through the World Mountain Forum

Whistler Celebrates International Mountain Day through the World Mountain Forum

The United Nations has designated December 11 as International Mountain Day and to mark the occasion, the Whistler Centre for Sustainability, in partnership with the Resort Municipality of Whistler and Tourism Whistler, is hosting a live videoconferencing event on Sunday, December 11, that will connect a Whistler audience to Verbier, Switzerland for the World Mountain Forum (WMF). The vision of the WMF is to conserve, construct and celebrate mountain regions as vital ecosystems, by engaging their inhabitants and all those who benefit from mountains, and to jointly promote their conservation and sustainable development. At various points during the day, the WMF will connect with the communities of Verbier, Switzerland; Lima, Peru; Kathmandu, Nepal; and Whistler, Canada. The whole event will be livestreamed. In Whistler, the one and a half hour programme, live-linked to Verbier, will feature pro skier Mike Douglas, mountain entrepreneur and newly elected councilor Jayson Faulkner, and All.i.can filmmaker Dave Mossop, as they share their personal and professional experiences with mountain culture. Whistlerites are invited to come to Millennium Place for breakfast, and to take part in the conversation with a Verbier audience, including a 30 minute presentation by David Breashears, world-renowned photographer, mountaineer and producer of IMAX film Everest. When and Where: Sunday December 11, 2011, from 7am-9:30am at Millennium Place The World Mountain Forum is part of the three-day Green Pioneering Summit in Verbier, developed in partnership with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The forum’s intent is to raise awareness of issues of climate change and environmental degradation facing mountain communities, and the need for more sustainable development, while uniting and celebrating...
What happens to a community vision during challenging times?

What happens to a community vision during challenging times?

I’ve got dreams on my mind – specifically community ones. With municipal elections on the near horizon and the current state of the global economy, I’ve been thinking lately about how our community will respond to these events. While my role at the Centre is to help communities articulate their aspirations for a better future and get there, I’ve also got kids, a mortgage, debt, taxes, and, like many people, lots of things on my mind. In fact, I’m feeling just like everyone else and what they’re focusing quite a lot on today.   When we ‘feel’ that our prosperity is on the line our focus turns inward to the present. In this state it is difficult to think about shared community aspirations and better futures.  That seems rationale doesn’t it? I mean if we are feeling personally vulnerable today, why care about next month, next year or even the next 10 years? I know that I’m not alone; citizens everywhere are questioning the need for long term community dreams, visions and paths to a better place. “Achieving these dreams costs too much”, “we don’t want to pay for it today” is the mantra expressed with the belief that tomorrow’s future is incompatible with today’s reality. Visions of sustained success for our communities are being brushed aside and being called a waste in an attempt to make room for discussions about tightening our financial belts, better (less?) government, and creating jobs. But if we step back from our fear for a moment and consider this, aren’t these really one in the same? I’ve yet to read a shared community vision...
What does a Community Energy and Emissions Plan actually do?

What does a Community Energy and Emissions Plan actually do?

When it comes to the issues of energy and emissions, having a policy of “don’t worry, be happy” is probably not a good idea… Time Magazine’s 2006 Cover Page headline on their climate change story might be a more appropriate policy… “Be worried, be VERY worried.” Was this just plain old fear mongering or was it common sense preparedness for what’s likely to come? The Centre has been working with several local governments, businesses, and First Nations communities on energy and emissions planning lately, including Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction strategies and preparing for the effects of Peak Oil .  The first question we are asked on this topic is “how realistic and serious are these things that we’re hearing about fuel shortages and climate change impacts?” while the second question we’re usually asked is “Yikes, so what can we do about it, and how much will it cost?” Here’s the answer: The concerns are serious and gaining ground, and in the meantime, the climate isn’t getting any cooler. Conservative organizations like the International Energy Agency suggest that the world’s atmosphere might be able to handle 450 ppm (parts per million) of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent, a measurement that includes other GHGs like methane) before we start burning up.  “Burning up” means increasing the average annual temperature globally by two degrees or more, leading to catastrophic environmental consequences and, as a result, catastrophic economic and social consequences. The great majority of scientists, however, believe that 400 ppm is the tipping point, including the Nobel Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). How close are we to this tipping point?  In...
The RBC GranFondo Whistler Raises the Sustainability Bar for Whistler

The RBC GranFondo Whistler Raises the Sustainability Bar for Whistler

We are working with GranFondo Canada, the producers of the RBC GranFondo Whistler, on a sustainability strategy to make their events as sustainable as possible. This is the first event of this size in Whistler (apart from the 2010 Winter Games) that has developed a comprehensive sustainability plan to guide its planning and execution for this and subsequent years. “The RBC GranFondo Whistler has just set the bar for Whistler events. We hope that all events coming to Whistler will begin considering their own sustainability strategy that will achieve positive economic and community outcomes as well as having lower environmental impact,” indicated Cheeying Ho, Executive Director of the Whistler Centre for Sustainability. For this year’s event, taking place on Saturday September 10, the RBC GranFondo Whistler has already committed to initiatives such as compost bins for food waste at all aid stations and the finishing area. “We are excited to welcome the RBC GranFondo Whistler again this year with over 7000 riders and their supporters,” said Mayor Ken Melamed. “This event generates tremendous business for our community, and I am particularly pleased that they are reducing their environmental footprint as well.” GranFondo Canada has adopted CSA (Canadian Standards Association) standards for sustainable events and its own strategic goals that it aims to achieve by 2020 in order to become a sustainable event: 1.    All of our suppliers, partners and sponsors have a proven commitment to sustainable practices, and are local where possible. 2.    Our events create a positive impact in each community we start, touch and finish in. 3.    Our events use materials efficiently and are zero ‘waste to...
How sustainability can create opportunities for business and community

How sustainability can create opportunities for business and community

From a marketers perspective, Whistler would appear to have it all; a year round product offering, quality infrastructure and natural resources and a world class reputation. Enough, you’d think for a thousand brochures. But what if Whistler had another resource? One as valuable as outdoor pursuits and as authentic as the mountains. One that can’t be seen, or touched but is evident and embedded throughout the community. A resource so rare and valuable, few organizations, let alone communities have been able to develop, and one for which their is growing demand, not just in Canada, but around the world. That resource is Whistlers authentic and sustainable brand. In this two hour session, John Harrington will explore the characteristics, potential value, and how all that is Whistler can be further developed and leveraged for the benefit of all stakeholders and the pursuit of sustainability itself. Listen, learn, discuss… Understand the characteristics of a sustainable brand Assess Whistlers brand equity and how to manage and communnicate it Review ‘place’ brands from around the world Explore new opportunities to develop new offerings based on brand position Discuss the role of citizens, visitors, businesses, and the municipality in developing and leveraging Whistlers brand resource Explore the role of social media as a valuable tool to both engage and inform brand strategy Join Sustainability expert John Harrington with RealEyes Sustainability from Dublin, Ireland for an informal presentation and dialogue on the value of a sustainability brand, and the opportunities to leverage that using social media. Everyone welcome. When: Tuesday, August 16, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Where: Whistler Public Library Cost:...