Building Sustainable Communities Conference: closing thoughts & thanks

Wow. Where do I even start. I suppose I should just express some gratitude for a full size keyboard after tweeting my finger tips off the last four days from my iPhone! (Find the crowd-sourced micro-blog here.)

This last day kicked off with a keynote by Peter Comrie of Full Spectrum Leadership, who appropriately used our supremely heroic and passionate conference organizer, Joanne de Vries, as an example of someone who is taking full responsibility for her life’s experience and impacts. Joanne is someone who asks “what more can I lovingly contribute?”  We could all stand to be a lot more like Joanne.

My favourite quote Peter provided went something like:

In times of change learners will inherit Earth, while the knowers will find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.

– Eric Hoffer

This plainly strikes me as beautiful. Perhaps because I consider myself a learner, and it feels like a pat on the back… but also because it summarizes the imperative that Dr. William Rees spoke to: that we must re-evaluate our current worldview and associated paradigm. That a reality where we can infinitely grow our economy, and derive ongoing well-being, does not exist.

Hard knocks, for sure. But us learners will get over it.

A very close second was along the lines of:

In the sands of time, one who sits idle will not leave footprints… and who wants to leave butt prints?

I spent the last couple years questioning my commitment to footprints, due to an influence of “knowers”. I let the judgement and expectations of people close to me steer me away from a passion and true sense of self…

I respect everyone’s right to their own world view (which does conflict at times with the urge to give a littering bigot a somewhat violent shake), but I feel compelled now to re-acquaint myself with mine. This conference gave me a fresh outlook on this.

I will not leave butt prints. I will take full responsibility for my life’s experience and impacts.

What makes me feel even better about this, is that I am not alone. The 5th BSC gave me the opportunity to admire a variety of footprints, of all shapes and sizes. I’ll share a few here in brief, and hopefully will find time soon to elaborate more on each in future blogs.

  • Midway.  I have a hard time typing that without a throat lump and tear.  Want to be one of the first to see the catalyst for a movement that will change the way we live every day?
  • Wes Kmet. This friendly Kelowna citizen shared with me his passion for holding his local government accountable. How does he do it? He gives away business card sized contact lists for all city council members… and encourages citizens to be responsible for their lives impacts 🙂
  • Youth need space. Eric Brown from Sustainable Cities International shared some insights for youth engagement. A striking irony for me: youth don’t have the funds to patronize commercial and other public spaces, so are driven out (“no loitering”), and forced into dark basements with video games… then criticized for it. Youth need safe public space!
  • Bus me there, Scotty. Public transit and active transport routes really are the future – for significant health, environmental and economic reasons. Lots of smart people working on this.
  • Sustainability needs a succession plan. There are variety of gaps in the workforce needed to deliver sustainability solutions.
  • Food security. It really is as critically important as I have been going on and on and on about for years. Next: to explore my potential contribution.

Okay, I really could go on… but it’s getting late. I think in closing, I’ll share a tweet stream of some random food security concerned tweeters that stumbled upon in the #5thBSC feed:


Looks like a good conference going on in Canada under #5thBSC Discussing food security, agriculture, sustainability, great topics
@shmeedieEdie Irons

.@NYFarmer Thanks for that! I’ve been looking for good Canadian food and farm tweeps to follow, and #5thBSC is a treasure trove.

@Schmeedie We hit the motherlode of info with #5thBSC Edie @arzeena @RealEstateFdn
To a new world waiting,

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