A new grouping of concerned Squamish citizens with a passion for the environment convened at the Brew Pub last Monday April 6, on the heels of the wrap-up of a popular eight-week series of films on climate change organized by Ana Santos and shown at the Adventure Center Monday nights throughout February and March.
"When I started working on the movie series six months ago, I thought I'd be happy if 10 people stuck with me through the program," said Santos. "Instead, I was overwhelmed by a full house at the Adventure Center every single one of the eight weeks."
The group came together spontaneously, fired up over concerns for the challenges dramatically depicted in the films and to see what can be done locally to fight climate change.
"Half-way through the movie series, people started asking me what was going to happen next," said Santos. "It was their idea to create an independent group dedicated exclusively to climate change initiatives in our community. Obviously, Squamish is ready for action and we are simply getting ready to instigate it."
Over 20 people showed up at the discussion to explore where the community wanted to go next in examining local environmental issues.
A great deal of energy was present at the table where a broad range of people were represented - young and old, experienced environmental hands and those newly discovering the issues.
Everyone was seized with the same concern to do something concrete in the specific community context of Squamish, as well as to meet and interact with others sharing similar interests.
Several members of other environmental groups were present, particularly from the Squamish Environmental Conservation Society (SECS) and the Squamish Streamkeepers.
Many at the table felt it was important for the new group to avoid reinventing the wheel and duplicating activities of existing groups, but everyone agreed that there was more than enough work and projects to absorb everyone's interests and talents and that the new group could easily carve out a sector for specific attention.
The meeting explored possible directions the group might take -even the task of choosing a name for itself was deferred until the group can better define itself. Everyone recognized that a broad spectrum of environmental issues exists out there, and many of them are already the focus of other environmental groups in Squamish.
Most of the group agreed that it might most profitably focus on specific ideas and projects to induce changes in public and private attitudes that directly impact climate change. But the group realized even that mandate contains multiple possible ways to approach the issues on the ground. The range and kind of possible activities of the group will be explored in coming meetings.
The group agreed on the importance of maintaining some working co-ordination among all environmental groups to help avoid duplication and to strengthen the overall clout of the green movement in Squamish through co-operation and shared tasks.
They decided to inventory the interests, experience and talents available among via emails over the next week, and to solicit ideas for specific projects that they might undertake - all to be discussed at a next meeting on May 4. Everyone is welcome, said Santos.
"I am happy with the success of the series, rewarded by the interest that exists in the community, grateful for all the support I have received from so many groups, companies and individuals, and very excited about the possibilities for the future."