Friday, October 10, 2008

Working together for a sustainable community

As a university researcher my primary focus has been researching and writing about more effective ecologically sound approaches to the use of our natural resources. Our research group, Forests and Oceans for the Future, takes as it's fundamental purpose not simply studying ecologically sound use, but the development of policies and programmes that work in real-time for real people.

From my work with north coast First Nations to research with commercial fishermen in Brittany and Ireland my objective is to find realistic solutions to real-world problems. Academics are often accused of Ivory Tower or impractical solutions. I have to tell you though there's no space for Ivory Tower when you are standing face-to-face with a fisherman who's livelihood is ending due to mismanagement by big government or sitting in the kitchen of a First Nation elder who is struggling desperately to keep language and traditions living.

I apply the same direct, realtime solutions in the work I do in my community. Since 1996 I have worked in schools as a volunteer and as a participant in parent advisory councils at Ecole Jule Quesnel, Queen Elizabeth Elementary, and University Hill Secondary. I have also participated as an elected district parent representative in the Vancouver School District.

In my residential community on the UBC campus I have worked to make certain that we have positive environmentally friendly living spaces that take into account the multi-generational reality of our society. Our parks, greenspaces, and areas of second growth forest need to have toddlers, youths, elders and the middle aged. Diversity leads to resiliency -and without resilience we are socially and ecologically bankrupt.

We need local leaders who are willing to work with diversity, who aren't afraid of being wrong, who are tolerant and open to collaboration. As a parent working in school-based advisory councils I know that collaboration and cooperation is the only way to move forward. That's the same thing for our electoral area. As long as one small group controls access to power no one will truly be able to move forward.

As your elected Director for our area I pledge to ensure that all voices are heard -this doesn't mean that I will do what each elector thinks I should. But it does mean that when I act I will act in the full knowledge of all of our community -students, UEL ratepayers and renters, and UNA residents.

Vote Menzies - Effective Local Leadership.


Randall F. White said...

Charles, this is a critical issue facing Metro Vancouver and our entire region. The quote is from an online petition drive to oppose waste incineratino: "Metro Vancouver adopted Zero Waste as a challenge, but the Solid Waste Management Plan and the staff are focusing on burning the waste as their first priority with plans to build up to 6 incinerators with costs of up to $3 billion. Zero Waste works towards waste elimination through holding producers responsible for their products, composting organics, social marketing to change behaviours, and creating incentives to eliminate waste."

Would you oppose this proposal for incineration of waste, which pollutes the air (incinerated plastics are a leading source of dioxins, which are carcinogens and endocrine disrupters that contaminate the food supply worldwide)?


Randall White
6260 Logan Lane

Charles Menzies said...

Dear Randall,

I agree with you completely.

In our household of four we have already tried to move toward our own personal 'zero waste' plan. With the good fortune of having access to the UBC composting programme (thanks to people like yourself) we are able to compost most of our organic waste (in the past we had our own backyard/balacony style composter).

As best we can we refuse packaging when we purchase items. We also try and leave packaging with the source retailer.

We are able to recycle most paper, plastic, and glass that we have. But that still leaves some items that end up being sent to the landfill sites. To take it to the next level we will require institutional support and infrastructure combined with sanctions against waste producers that are unwilling to move forward with the reality of our times.

Incinerating waste is a serious problem that can, as you note, lead to increased pollution problems that transfer, rather than solve, the problem.

I would oppose the use of any incineration system that added carcinogens such as dioxins into our airshed.