Setting the path for sustainability 

Guy Dauncey takes a positive approach to environmental issues

What: Passion for the Earth: Visions of a Sustainable Future, with author Guy Dauncey

Where: Telus Conference Centre

When: Wednesday, Feb. 18 at 7 p.m.

Reading the papers, it’s easy to get a sense that the global environment is deteriorating quickly and that there’s little that individuals can do to stop worst case scenarios from coming true.

"Our children have been immersed in negative environmental news for so long by the people of my generation that their whole attitude towards nature it that we’re screwed, it’s all hopeless," said Guy Dauncey, a writer, speaker and consultant, as well as a leader in B.C.’s sustainability movement.

"First of all, I don’t believe that’s true, that it’s all hopeless. If we start to believe that then we really are all sunk, but there’s still a lot we can do – (the sustainability movement) is just getting started."

Dauncey will speak in Whistler next week as part of the Sustainability Speaker Series, which is hosted by Whistler. It’s Our Nature and the Whistler Centre for Sustainability.

Dauncey believes that there are positive environment stories to report as well as negative stories, and that the success of the sustainability movement ultimately depends on keeping the dialogue positive and our hopes for the future alive – at the end of the day, he says, the future is up to us.

"People are delighted that I’m putting a positive spin on everything," said Dauncey.

"It’s almost a (Winston) Churchill-ian approach to things (on the eve of the Second World War)… to say that success is really the only possible strategy we can imagine.

"I take the same approach with the environment. I’m aware of how awful the news is for most people, but really the only possible stance for us to take is to stand up and visualize the future now, and to aim for complete success."

In addition to being positive, Dauncey’s approach to sustainability is also practical, focusing on proven technologies and processes that are already in use around the world that individuals, companies and communities can readily adopt.

"It’s part new, and part old. You can’t get more high-tech than solar voltaic lightning and you can’t get more low-tech than growing vegetables in your own backyard," said Dauncey.

Dauncey has written three books on the subject to date, and is collaborating on a fourth.

His first book is called After the Crash: The Emergence of the Rainbow Economy , which was originally published in 1988 and is in its third printing with updated sections. The book takes a look at the different measures that companies and communities took in the wake of a recession and stock market crash to protect themselves in the future. A lot of their solutions involved building and supporting sustainable local economies that are isolated from the world market, which is an important facet of the sustainability movement.

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