The 2014 Cascadia Sustainability FIeld School kicked off this week. A group of 20 Geographers from the University of Victoria, we are traveling down the coast from BC to San Francisco. Along the way we are meeting with and learning from a range of different folks - First Nations, planners, EcoVillagers, academics, entrepreneurs and other citizens grappling in different ways with sustainability challenges in this trans-boundary region some call Cascadia.
We will be blogging our journey of self-discovery, sharing stories of the inspiring efforts and people we encounter.
The tone of the field school is critically optimistic, inspired by the following quote from Paul Hawken...
We are keen to critically interrogate development in our region and, indeed, how "sustainability" has come to be understood and mobilized in often contradictory ways... but we are also keen to explore the efforts of those looking to do the work of restoring the Earth and grace, justice and beauty in this world.
Our first week got us out of the classroom and into our own region - hiking up recently renamed PKOLS (formerly Mount Douglas) with WSANEC poet and educator Kevin Paul; we met with planners from the City of Victoria and the Capital Regional District to learn about sustainability efforts in our region from a local government perspective; we spent a day at OUR Ecovillage learning about permaculture, building a cob structure and enjoying a zero-mile diet feast and we toured along the upper waterfront seeing through the eyes of urban designers and developers at Selkirk Waterfront, Dockside Green and the proposed Roundhouse development site.
David Fullbrook, Focus Equities, discusses plans for redeveloping the old railway Roundhouse site in Vic West. It was a great learning experience for us to be able to contrast the vision of sustainable community development of the so-called "big, bad developer" and say that of the EcoVillagers we met the day before.
Check out reflections of students in the following posts...