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The Galiano Conservancy Associacion Interview

24 November 2010 No Comment

The Morning After Show goes green

Thanks to my girlfriend Maruska (who took the photo) I have been visiting Galiano island for the past two months. A small paradise just an hour away from Vancouver. The island is very environmentally conscious and thanks to that the Galiano Conservancy Association has been able to purchase land for their conservation and restoration. They have implemented  good environmental programs, specially educative programs. They are trying to boost them by purchasing a piece of land and making it sustainable and bringing youth to learn about conservation and sustainability while camping in the forest. So I interviewed Emily Menzies of the employees on The Morning After Show where I played a lot of green songs including Back To The Planet which has been a British sensation in the 90s, also we played Arcade Fire, Like Animals Again, John Pippus, The Cure, Christina Martin, Nadia Von Hahm, ThePack AD among other local stars. Listen to the podcast and the complete interview with Emily who talks about all the great programs that are happening right now in Galiano island. Some of these practices could be examples to follow and solutions to some of the problems humanity is facing due to its massive consumption and waste. Here is what we found about the conservancy from their website.


Galiano is a long, slender island, roughly 6,000 ha in size, and is entirely contained within the endangered Costal Douglas-fir zone (CDF), an ecological classification that has recently been ranked as imperiled both provincially and globally.  The CDF has the highest density of species of conservation concern in BC and has been identified as the highest priority for conservation.

Mid-Galiano is bound by the Strait of Georgia to the Northeast and Trincomali Channel to the Southwest.  The proposed conservation network extends from the Trincomali across to the Georgia Strait and back again – it would protect a significant portion of the island’s topographic variation and associated ecological diversity and would secure valuable pathways for plant and animal migration from sea level to Galiano’s highest ridgeline.   The network includes threatened coastal and inland bluffs with their Garry Oak and associated ecosystems; significant wetlands; and mature coastal Douglas-fir forests.

Marine areas adjacent to existing protected shoreline are presently in a Marine Protection Zone designated though local bylaws – proposed additions to the conservation network would significantly increase the area under Marine Protection zoning.  These areas provide important habitat for many species of rockfish and other marine life.    The success of this project could serve as a model for community-based conservation planning.

The underlying foundation of the Galiano Learning Centre, both educational programs and facilities alike, is to provide examples of how we can live in harmony with the land. From use of energy and water to production of food and waste to sourcing of materials and labour, we will demonstrate the same responsible, informed, and adaptive approach that we have employed for over two decades in the restorative management of our conservation lands. Participants will learn how to live with a small footprint, experiencing first hand life on a small island where ‘limits’ are palpable. The Learning Centre will operate in an environment where there is no “garbage”; where everything is recycled, energy is produced on site, carbon is saved instead of spent, food comes from outside your window, and water is collected and filtered at your doorstep. Achieving this vision will require an approach to long-term and daily decision making that embraces diversity and is anchored in healthy ecological systems.

Embrace Diversity

The Galiano Learning Centre will be an open, safe space for discussion and critical thinking about contemporary sustainability challenges. It will enable a meeting of the minds; a place where all bodies of knowledge about sustainable living can come together and be applied in a living model. We will encourage participation from First Nations, descendents from pioneering families, and people coming from rural, urban, immigrant or other contexts, as cultivating diversity of ideas and perspectives is as important as stewarding the surrounding ecological diversity. Visioning for and management of the Learning Centre will include participation from the Galiano community and our visitors – we will model a participatory approach where people learn by doing. The

technologies and planning processes we use will create a showcase for living with the land, sharing the story of our successes, challenges and solutions.

Ecosystem-based Approach

Our vision for the Learning Centre and approach to land management is based on a relationship where economies are part of human cultures, which are part of ecosystems. The integrity of ecological health provides the basis for sustainable cultures, including their economies.

We intend to build a model showcasing how we can transform our economy and society to respect the limits and work to actively restore the ecological services our communities depend upon.

Restorative Enterprise

Based on the teachings and tools of community economic development and the social enterprise movement, we will subsidize our youth programs by offering for-profit courses at the same site. Adults will learn how to make the transition to a sustainable lifestyle through experiential “Restorative Retreats” similar to those the youth will enjoy, with special rates for courses run in partnership with post secondary institutions. The profitability of such programs has been demonstrated by learning retreat facilities such as Hollyhock Educational Retreat Centre on

Cortes Island, BC. Our niche will be practical training in sustainability solutions.

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