Sustainable Gabriola is an informal network of community members and organizations concerned about broad sustainability issues here on Gabriola. Our open monthly meetings provide space for conversations, collaboration and idea exchange. In many cases action plans are created, and independent groups form to carry them out. Here is a summary of our initiatives.
Our two main goals are:
- to facilitate useful connections between individuals and groups working on sustainability issues in the community;
- to create spaces for exploration and dialogue about issues.
We see ourselves as helping to guide the process of visioning, strategizing, and integrating positive solutions into the community, by encouraging and facilitating communication and education.
How we work
Sustainable Gabriola is not a registered society (by choice). Rather, it’s an informal network of people and organizations interested in sustainability. There are many individuals, societies and co-ops on the island already taking action on sustainability, and SG meetings give them an opportunity to share what they are doing, and find ways to work together.
This process happens largely through our monthly meetings — a space where problems are discussed, ideas incubated, and in many cases action plans are created. We discuss current issues to share and cross-fertilize ideas for movement in the direction of sustainable living.
Our vision is that future generations will enjoy diverse, healthy ecosystems with access to renewable and non-renewable resources, and that individuals and communities will experience economic prosperity, environmental quality, and social justice.
Specifically, we envision a future in which generations to come have access to:
- clean air and water;
- healthy, abundant, affordable sources of food;
- safe and affordable shelter;
- fossil-fuel-free energy;
- safe, caring communities;
- opportunities for dialogue and discussion; and
- equitable opportunities to participate in the economic, social, cultural, and spiritual life of a vibrant, diverse, healthy ecosystem and human community.
Five principles guide our vision for a sustainable Gabriola:
- A recognition of the interdependence of life in all its forms, and that the decisions we make today will have a profound effect on future generations.
- A recognition that resources are finite, and that living within our resources means there are limits to growth.
- A commitment to weigh the costs and benefits of decisions fully, including the long-term costs and benefits to future generations.
- The belief that sustainability requires the exercise of individual rights and responsibilities in the context of the greater community good.
- Notwithstanding that Gabriola is part of the larger world community, we believe that Gabriolans are entitled to have democratic control over decisions that impact their community.
How we got started
In May 2009, 30 people attended the inaugural Gabriola Sustainability meeting at the Haven ― an Open Space session where participants self-selected topics for discussion. Thus began the process of defining sustainability from a Gabriola perspective.
The discussion continued at a second meeting in October 2009, when about 70 people identified goals, actions, and indicators, and commented on principles and a vision. Based on those conversations, various actions were begun, including the initial development of a community sustainability plan.
A third public meeting was held in April 2010, with approximately 100 community members attending. Out of all this was born the Community Sustainability Plan ― recommended reading for learning more about what Sustainable Gabriola represents.