All posts by mari

ORCAS INSPIRE PEOPLE TO CARE ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE. AN INTERVIEW WITH ORCALAB FOUNDER.

ELSE, (Emerging leaders for Solar Energy), is partnering with the Great Climate Race and Bullfrog Power to raise funds to fund a unique whale research facility on the BC coast, OrcaLab, to get off diesel power and run on 100% renewable energy.   

You can turn your daily walking and running activity into fundraising opportunities for this important project. Until the end of 2017 Novo Solar will match every dollar raised. Get started today:

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The OrcaLab is an amazing place doing important work. We caught up with their founder Dr. Paul Spong to learn more.

About Dr. Paul Spong

  • Originally from New Zealand
  • He’s a neuroscientist and cetologist (the branch of zoology dealing with whales and dolphins)
  • Dr. Spog has researched orcas in British Columbia, Canada for almost 50 years
  • In 1972 he moved to Hanson Island and established the OrcaLab

ORCALAB’S PHILOSOPHY: LEAVE THE WHALES ALONE

Dr. Spong explains, “OrcaLab’s research is land-based, and as a matter of philosophy it’s research without interference. The approach works well in our area, with its many waterways & relatively small distances. OrcaLab’s location on Hanson Island at Blackney Pass is perfect for reception of radio signals from Johnstone Strait & Blackfish Sound, two of the most important areas used by the whales.”

Dr. Spong explains that they’ve developed a network of remote hydrophone stations that provides acoustic coverage of much of the orcas’ core habitat. Adding, “this remote system enables us to follow the whales. In the past these were mostly acoustic, but recently we’ve been able to incorporate video. We now have a network of six remote hydrophone stations, and a network of ten remote cameras.”

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MEETING ORCALAB’S ENERGY NEEDS WHILE ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE

As both a place of research, and the place the team calls home, Dr. Spong describes the lab as “fairly complex, and capable of using a lot of energy.” He points out that they do cook with a wood-burning stove, and explains, “when we started the lab in 1970 we basically had no energy source at all; then incorporated a small gas powered generator to charge our VHF radio batteries for a little bit of communication with the outside world.”

OrcaLab’s energy needs began to change as they started developing the systems and capabilities to monitor the whales remotely. He’s quick to point out that today “our energy needs keep escalating, in particular as our technology and communication needs expand. Since the early ‘80’s we’ve being trying to boost our energy capacity by using solar. We’ve bit by bit increased our ability to meet our energy needs using solar.”

 

Today the goal is to get Orcalab as close to 100% renewable energy using a mixture of solar panels and batteries.

WHY PROTECTING ORCAS MEANS STAYING OUT OF THEIR WAY

It’s worth appreciating that OrcaLab’s want to help people feel a connection to these amazing creatures without disturbing their lives. As he said, “it’s a tricky balance. You have to think about ways in which people become involved with the environment, coming to care about it, and ultimately coming to protect it.”

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Bringing us into contact with the orca in a benign way “is helping people learn and care about them, and this in turn leads to the understanding that their habitat needs to be protected.” We wholeheartedly agree with Dr. Spong when he says, “I think it’s a big message for the environment.”

ORCA LAB GOAL: TO GET OFF DIESEL AND ONTO RENEWABLE ENERGY

Being on Northern Vancouver Island there is no shortage of cloudy and rainy days, which dictates the need for more solar capacity.

“Our whole objective is to become oil free, which is what we’re really hoping the Great Climate Race will allow us to become,” Dr. Spong added.

We’re thinking about this story from our human connection with nature and climate as well; he points our that “the work we do with orcas inspires people to care about the environment. Not just our work, but the orcas themselves inspire people. In a large part the work we do is an attempt to help people understand the lives of the orcas which in turn gives them context and a connection to their own lives.”

If you would like to walk or run to raise funds for this important project you can get started today.

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PARTICIPANTS GUIDE VIDEO – INTERNATIONAL VIRTUAL RACE 2017

You can register now for the Great Climate Race 2017! https://virtualrace.greatclimaterace.or…

 

We made an “Explainer Video” for you with all the key things you need to know about participating in the Great Climate Race this year using our new tool kit.

If you have any questions that weren’t answered in the video post a comment or send us a direct message.

Facebook Messenger

Email Us

 

Thanks!!!

DAVID TINDALL

2017-10-27, 9:01:36 PM

Hi Ben and Marie, I am fairly “old school” I guess, but I am confused about the new set up for the race. By old school I mean I like to look at text and maps as opposed to watching videos. I don’t think the website makes it entirely clear where and when to meet if you just want to run the race in the same way as the past. The video says to meet at 10am (but I don’t think there is any text on the website saying this). And if you had not run the race in the past, I don’t think there is any information about exactly where to meet … other than in the same location as the past. I think adding text details about time and location for the non-self-organized race would be helpful. I think I’ve figured things out … but it is not easy from this year’s version of the website, unless you are planning to totally self-organize. DBT

ELECTRIC VEHICLES MISCONCEPTIONS + MORE – GREAT CLIMATE RACE – LIVE EPISODE #2

This week was the second installment of our new weekly show on Facebook Live. We broadcast every Friday at 12 noon PST (currently 3pm EST for us here in Toronto). The show will continue every week as we travel across Canada on our road trip and at least up until our next International Virtual Race at the end of October (stay tuned for more details).

Reminder: You can pledge support for us per km as we go for runs and walk in different locations across Canada to raise money for the Tsleil-Waututh Nation Solar Project here:

LEARN MORE

We will be doing interviews, project profiles and updating you on breaking news in the world of climate solutions as the cross Canada tour continues. Hope you like watching the show as much as we love making it. See below for the complete show notes.

Feel free to share any feedback, comments or suggestions in the comments section below.

This Week on Great Climate Race – LIVE

What We Are Excited About – A big week for EV’s. We take a closer look at Tesla new Model 3, Volvos big EV announcement and the new VW electric bus. Ben walks you through common misconceptions about EV’s and shares slides from the Union of Concerned Scientists looking at the life cycle assessment of emissions related to EV’s vs gasoline cars.

 

Great Climate Race Updates – The latest developments in our tour across Canada and new features in our fundraising app.

Interview – Mark Tizya from Novo Solar – We talked to Mark in front of the Tsleil-Waututh Nations existing solar installation along with his mother.

Question of the Week – Would you like to be part of a monthly book club discussion on climate solutions? We are considering the book Drawdown as the first book in our book club. Have you read it? Would you like to be part of it?

 

Volvo, Betting on Electric, Moves to Phase Out Conventional Engines-

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/05/business/energy-environment/volvo-hybrid-electric-car.html

Hippie Approved VW bus –

 

https://www.ecowatch.com/volkswagen-microbus-i-d-buzz-2445720895.html

Everything you need to know about Tesla Model 3, which is starting production today –

 

https://www.theverge.com/2017/7/7/15934756/tesla-model-3-production-electric-car-musk?utm_campaign=theverge&utm_content=entry&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook  

 

Union of Concerned Scientists report on full lifecycle emsission of electric vehicles vs gas engines – http://www.ucsusa.org/clean-vehicles/electric-vehicles/life-cycle-ev-emissions  

 

Get updates on the Great Climate Race Cross Canada Tour here: http://www.greatclimaterace.ca/tour-updates/  

 

Sponsor us running per kilometer to raise money for solar projects here: http://Ayura.ca

 

Check out Professor Patrick Condon Seven Rules for Sustainable Communities: Design Strategies for the Post Carbon World

 

http://amzn.to/2tUdrbR  (a portion of funds from buying this book go to supporting solar projects)

 

Read more about the Japanese Bullet Train Shinkansen and their use of Biomimicry emulating the Kingfisher birds beak here:

https://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2012/10/19/how-one-engineers-birdwatching-made-japans-bullet-train-better  

 

The Biomimicry website mentioned on the show http://AskNature.org

 

Here is the book Biomimicry by Janine Beniyus –

http://amzn.to/2tTUbLn  (a portion of funds from buying this book go to supporting solar projects)

 

Finally… Here is the book Drawdown (edited by Paul Hawken) we are considering this book for our first monthly book club. Are you interested in being in a book club?

 

http://amzn.to/2sRKLAm (a portion of funds from buying this book go to supporting solar projects)

 

IS HAVING FEWER KIDS THE BEST WAY TO FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE?

Great Climate Race – Live Epidode 3 – Friday July 14th 2017

This week on our weekly live broadcast we take on a hotly discussed topic. Is having less children the best way to fight climate change? A series of articles (see show notes below for links) were written recently outlining various perspectives.

I was inspired to highlight the issue by a Facebook post from University of BC Prof. Kathryn Harrison. It’s worth pointing out that her kids Sophie Harrison and Sam Harrison are both doing a heck of a lot to fight climate change. They were founders of the group Kids for Climate Action and have been actively engaged in campaigns most of their lives. Professor Harison expressed distress at this proposed strategy. Spoiler Alert: I don’t think focusing on the number of children you have is the best approach to fighting climate change. Focusing on individual choices is a much more limited strategy then focusing on collective action.

We started the Great Climate Race to personally connect individuals with community scale climate solutions. In this show you will also here more about our new app we are currently testing during a cross Canada road trip. We would love your support fundraising per km as we go for walks and runs in different spots across the country.

LEARN MORE

In this broadcast we explore this issue in the context of Frances recent climate policy announcements + my two cents on how it relates to the Porter Hypothesis and more.

I’m eager to hear your thoughts and feedback. Please feel free to weigh in with your comments.

SHOW NOTES

Reminder: You can watch Episode 1 here: Great Climate Race Live Episode 1

and

Episode 2 here: Great Climate Race Live Episode 2

Episode 3 was originally posted here as a Facebook Live video:  https://www.facebook.com/GreatClimateRace/videos/1799428647037080/

Following Our Tour – http://www.greatclimaterace.ca/tour-updates/

On Not Having Children to Stop Climate Change

Piece in Question from the Guardian

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/12/want-to-fight-climate-change-have-fewer-children?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Slack

David Roberts Response in Vox

https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/7/14/15963544/climate-change-individual-choices

Sophie Harrison recommended this article re the choice to have children

http://gutsmagazine.ca/motherearth-on-choosing/

Emphasizing individual solutions to big issues can reduce support for government efforts

https://m.phys.org/news/2017-06-emphasizing-individual-solutions-big-issues.html

On the shift to focusing on personal responsibility:

“The packaging industry justifies disposables as a response to consumer demand: buyers wanted convenience; packagers simply provided it. But that’s not exactly true. Consumers had to be trained to be wasteful. Part of this re-education involved forestalling any debate over the wisdom of creating disposables in the first place, replacing it with an emphasis on “proper” disposal. Keep America Beautiful led this refocusing on the symptoms rather than the system. The trouble was not their industry’s promulgation of throwaway stuff; the trouble was those oafs who threw it away.”

https://orionmagazine.org/article/the-crying-indian/

Drawdown (edited by Paul Hawken) we are considering this book for our first monthly book club. Are you interested in being in a book club?

http://amzn.to/2sRKLAm (a portion of funds from buying this book go to supporting solar projects)

On Climate Policy in France

France – Banning Fossil Fuel exploration

“The President is also planning a huge renovation programme for French homes to  reduce energy consumption, cut carbon dioxide emissions, reduce energy poverty and create jobs.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/france-ban-new-oil-gas-exploration-stop-granting-licences-macron-hulot-renewable-energy-drive-a7806161.html

France – Largest EV Market

http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/french-foreign-policy/economic-diplomacy-foreign-trade/facts-about-france/one-figure-one-fact/article/france-is-the-largest-electric

EV Updates and Common Misconceptions – Great Cliamte Race Live episode 2

http://www.greatclimaterace.org/blog/electric-vehicles-misconceptions-more-great-climate-race-live-episode-2

France Closing 17 Nuclear Reactors

http://www.france24.com/en/20170710-france-hulot-could-close-nuclear-plants

Porter Hypothesis https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porter_hypothesis

Debate about Path to 100% Renewable – NY Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/20/business/energy-environment/renewable-energy-national-academy-matt-jacobson.html?ribbon-ad-idx=4&rref=business/energy-environment&module=Ribbon&version=context&region=Header&action=click&contentCollection=Energy%20%26%20Environment&pgtype=article

Solutions Project

http://thesolutionsproject.org/why-clean-energy/

 

HOW SNAPCHAT (AND CANADA POST) SAVED THE DAY WITH OUR CROSS-CANADA ROAD TRIP.

An Important Package

Off in the distance along the gravel road we saw a truck turn the corner towards us and for a moment I had a rush of hope. We were driving away from my in-laws home in Prince Edward Island, having given up on my important package finally arriving. We were about to begin our return trip from PEI all the way back to Vancouver in our little Prius. The FedEx logo on the truck in the distance filled me with a mix of angst and exhilaration.

As we pulled up along side them we anxiously flagged them down. They could barely hear us (and vice versa) as our little rescue dog Rosie, who like many rescue dogs is scared of everything, barked at the Fed Ex drivers from her back seat pillow zone.

Did they have my precious cargo on their truck? Let me first explain why I cared so much.

The Beginning

I got a pair of Snapchat Spectacles in April.

They weren’t available for delivery in Canada yet so we drove out to Point Roberts, Washington from Vancouver, BC to pick them up from a PO box company there. A thriving business in that small town by the way. Well actually to be accurate I waited in a Starbucks in Delta, BC while Mari drove across the border because i needed to renew my passport.

I had a feeling these video camera sunglasses would be a very useful tool to have to document our cross Canada tour as we went for walks and runs in amazing places and connected with amazing people. Short little point of view fisheye videos at the push of a button…cool! For a social media junkie like me that was pretty exciting.

It turned out I did love them and used them all the time. In fact I used them so much that sometimes I would instinctively touch the side of my face to try to shoot a video even when i wasn’t wearing them. Kinda like when you try to click on your laptop screen because you’ve gotten so used to using an iPad or something. Have you done that?

Am I Too Old For Specatcles?

My co-workers joked that I was too old to be on Snapchat. One even shared this gif with me.

Ironically on my 40th birthday my Spectacles stopped working. I wondered if this was something hard coded into Snap Inc’s products, to self destruct when you get too old. Seemed plausible for the social media site young people are most likely to use. The Spectacles still basically a product in beta at the moment, not that long ago they were only available in pop up shop vending machines as a special promotion. So I wasn’t surprised that they had issues.

I checked out the website and they had a replacement policy and a form to fill out for your replacement shipping information. Cool. Because they only delivered to the USA I set up the replacement Spec’s for express post shipping to my friend Alex Zerbe’s place. He had just recently injured his knee in the midst of a juggling show, and was home but offered to limp over to a delivery company and send the package to my moms place in Toronto. What a guy. Shout out to the Zaniac, he’s a living legend. Book him to juggle and be funny at your next event. For sure.

Some of the first video work I did after film school (several lifetimes ago) was making promo videos for this guy.

Anyways… I was at my mothers place in Toronto. We had already driven (in 4 days) from Vancouver to Toronto and we were spending time with family and friends for my 40th birthday.

A Four Day Drive to Toronto…with Specs

On the way from shot a bunch of footage using the Spectacles including some point of view perspective stuff during our press conference with the Mayor of Vancouver launching the first solar project we helped fund in Vancouver. The solar panels are on the Dragon Boat Sheds in False Creek at the Olympic Village.

I also used the Spectacles on the first run we did during our road trip at Lake Louise.

In Toronto for a Few Weeks – No Specs

I wished I had a convenient POV camera while running through all kinds of street art with the Night Terrors Run Crew in downtown Toronto or when we visited Bullfrog Power’s office for a Lunch and Learn session but we did our best to get shots and do interviews regardless. I waited patiently for a couple weeks wondering what was going on.

This was where the problems started. First somehow after two weeks nothing showed up at Alex’s place in Washington state. Snapchat to their credit had already touched based with me. They sent a personalized message from a rep named Steffi who I was able to reply to and carry on a conversation. This was the start of a thread of emails, 31 of them to be exact (I just checked). I will not put you through having to listen to me rant about all the details of this situation ended up requiring 31 emails. Mari has had to endure it more than once already. Here’s the Coles Notes version:

I emailed the rep from Snapchat about how the replacement pair of spectacles and she was super apologetic. She brought in a colleague named Emily to help rectify the problem. They replaced the original order right away and had them sent to my friends place express post. At least thats what I thought…

I then learned that the glasses had shown up in Point Roberts Washington, at the PO Box my original pair had been sent to. Not my friends place in Washington State. Honestly I don’t know if this was Snap’s mistake or Fed Ex’s but the folks from Snap were so helpful and the fed ex’s people were such a pain in the butt that at this point I basically blame them for everything that happened related to this package.

I asked other friends if they could pick up those glasses in Point Roberts and send them to me in Toronto before we started driving to PEI. No luck, it was asking a lot for friends on both sides of the border. The shipping place couldn’t redirect it themselves either, it had to be a request from the shipper, so I emailed the folks at Snap again.

This is Where Snapchat Saved The Day

Snapchat then did something amazing. Another rep got involved and he offered to send the glasses to me in Canada even though they usually only shipped to the US. They agreed to send them all the way to PEI and cover the cost of the shipping. Now I have to say this is going the extra mile… literally. Thanks so much to Jay who clearly could tell how important this was to me.

This level of customer service is worthy of the kinda of thing Scott and Allison talk about on the UnMarketing podcast. Pro Tip: Great podcast (and books). They are funny, smart and provide great advice for organizations who want to be awesome.

So problem solved right? I would finally get my goofy looking glasses that I am clearly too old to wear. Right? Not so fast.

We asked the Spectacles to be sent to PEI instead of Toronto because at this point it was the only thing that made sense time wise. We were leaving for PEI and would be there in a few days. We would be in PEI for two weeks. So lots of time for a package to get to us.

I was tracking the package on fed ex’s website. Everything seemed fine at first. The package took an extra day to clear customs. Not a big suprise and no big deal. Still lots of time.

Is Fed Ex The Dragon at the Gate in This Adventure?

Then things got weird. A couple days in a row the package left the the shipping centre in Moncton New Brunswick and was supposed to be en route and then it returned to the shipping centre.

I got back on the phone with the Fed Ex’s customer service folks. At this point I had memorized the shipping code and the sequence of numbers I had to type into my phone to reach a human being. Every time I talked to someone it was different. They told me they were on it and would work through the night to make sure the package arrived.

They said they would have the package delivered over the weekend. Next time I called, on the weekend they had no record of that offer and said it wasn’t even possible. The only option was going to be waiting until the end of the long weekend. To be fair there was a major power outage all over Atlantic Canada the second day in a row the package mysteriously disappeared. I would have almost understood if my customer service experience wasn’t also so frustrating.

I asked for the package to be left in Moncton so we could pick it up from there. Well actually Jay, from Snapchat asked them to leave it in Moncton for me. Fed Ex told me only the shipper could request that, the second time I talked to their customer service team about it. The package would be there waiting for me Fed Ex told me… more than once. Guess what, on the day we were leaving I talked to Fed Ex again and the package was not held in Moncton and was actually en route to PEI right as we were about to leave town.

Leaving PEI… Still No Specs

We had no choice but to leave because we had camp sites booked for several nights in a row in various locations hours down highway one. And interviews set up we wanted to shoot. And people we were gonna go for walks and runs with. All this stuff we hoped to shoot with those Spectacles.

I had already missed out on shooting a bunch of stuff with the glasses including amazing sunset runs on the beaches of PEI.

And the Color Run, which we did in Charlottetown.

I got some footage using my phone. Not the end of the world I know. First world problems… no doubt. But the Spectacles are a useful tool and I was eager to get my replacement pair because I knew there was a ton of magic that lay ahead of us and I wanted to capture it.

Why I Care So Much

All of this was important to us not only for the footage from the trip to post along the way but also because we were beta testing our new fundraising tool and wanted to use the footage for the launch roll out we are now working on for October.

But even more important than that is just how organizations treat people. Now,I don’t want to rant. I really don’t. I totally understand when mistakes happen. Heck, Snapchats product didn’t work after a few months and the replacement pair didn’t show up for weeks but I still love the company. Because they connected to me in a human way and I was able to continue the same conversation with their people until the problem was solved. There is a real big difference beetween that experience and having to start from scratch repeatedly with. Big faceless corporations with reps that give you contrasting and incorrect information frustrate me as do companies that ultimately don’t deliver on their promises. Right?

The icing on the cake for me was when we pulled over the Fed Ex truck in PEI to figure out if we just happened to run into them right as we were pulling out of town. It was the last possible moment at the end of the gravel driveway into this little community built around a lighthouse. They checked the truck and nope, no package for me was there they said. It seemed odd to me given from what I understood this was the one truck in the area that day. Guess what, Mari’s dad called when we were about an hour down the road to tell us the package had arrived.

We considered turning around to get the package but adding 2 hours or more to our trip would have made our destination out of reach that night. We were already behind schedule trying to get to this camp site on the St. Lawrence close to Quebec City before sunset. So we asked Mari’s dad to accept the package and send it to us further down the road via Canada Post.

Good Old Canada Post

I got on the phone with a rep from Canada Post who was able to help us set up a FlexDelivery account over the phone while I sat in the passengers seat and Mari drove us through New Brunswick.

I barely had one bar of service on my phone but luckily the call never cut out. This special account made it possible to receive a package at any Canada post location. I used google maps to pick a location in Ottawa close to where we would be meeting some cool folks at Carleton University. They are building a visionairy tiny home with solar panels and water catchment that could function either off grid or on grid. Very cool project, you can see the interview about 15 min into the Great Climate Race LIVE broadcast from that week.

Everything went as planned with Canada Post. I tracked the package with their app and it arrived a day before we did. We found the Canada post location inside a local drug store and to my delight I finally had a new goofy pair of sunglasses. They even sent a friendly ghost to hang out with our Unicorn gear shift.

Finally… I have the Specs

Before you know it I was using them next to a waterfall on an old Ojibway portage trail

and then while joggling into a shockingly beautiful sunset at Lake Superior Provincial Park.

Im so glad I had those glasses for so many amazing places after that.

Like meeting this beautiful horse close to Vulcan Alberta, (live long and prosper).

Exploring Head Smashed Buffalo Jump International Heritage site.

Checking out a bunch of renewable energy projects in Invermere with Bill Swan from Solar Now.

Bill was the first person we interviewed as we were about to leave Vancouver and the last person we interviewed a couple months later on the way back.

Finally we got some cool point of view shots on our last run while on the road at Skunk Cabbage Provincial Park (yeah that is a real place… its a unique ecosystem in the rockies check it out).

Long story short I was glad to have my glasses back and started putting them to good use. I was so thankful of Snapchat that I sent my new friends some of these video clips. That was the 31st email in our thread. I also tweeted and shared posts on instagram thanking them. Now I’m writing this blog to thank them again (and also as an excuse to show you all these highlights from our trip and to tell you about the new tool we are launching soon).

Back on the West Coast… Two Months Before our Next Great Climate Race

Since I have been back in Vancouver I have been wearing the glasses on all kinds of walks and runs recently even while dipping my bare feet in the Pacific Ocean.

I’ve now ran almost 200km since we started testing our prototype that lets you raise money per km for a cause and captured a lot of it on video.

This is the tool we will use to facilitate the Great Climate Race this year. Its still a work in progress. We will be using the footage we shot over the summer in the month ahead to thell the story of this new tool. I can’t wait to share more about this nifty tool we are developing and what we hope to do with it. We will also keep using the footage from the spectacles as part of segments during our weekly LIVE show at 12 noon pacific time on Fridays.

What’s The Moral of the Story?

As we launch our new piece of tech I will be thinking about what a big difference there is between the experience I had with Fed Ex and with Snapchat. It made a big difference to me having friendly human beings to deal with that were committed to fixing the problem. It made enough difference that it turned a broken product and a shipping mix up into an opportunity to do something great that made me like the company even more. Thanks again to the folks at Snap, especially Jay, Emily and Steffi. Also thank to Canada Post who were helpful and got the job done. And of course thank you to Mari’s dad for getting the package back in the mail for us… and Mari and Rosie for putting up with me generally speaking. 🙂

We have always tried our best to be very personal and real with people who were involved in the Great Climate Race. This will continue to be our  as we expand to a growing international audience. Our new web app will enable more people to raise money from wherever they are. That opportunity will also come with our share of challenges I’m sure.  

Nobody is perfect, mistakes will happen. We will soon publicly launch a new tool, just like Snapchat did. Just like the Spectacles our tool will be exciting but in truth still a work in progress. The question is how do you treat the people who use your services. The tool itself is awesome but at the end of the day it all comes down to human relationships. You have to be very intentional about how you treat those that take the time to reach out to you, especially when something goes wrong. If a massive company like Snapchat can do it right there is no reason our little organization can’t.

I’m very excited about the road ahead and what we can accomplish becuase we know that what makes it possible is people supporting each other, doing the best we possibly can and working together until the problem is solved.  

EXCITING CHANGES FOR THIS YEARS INTERNATIONAL GREAT CLIMATE RACE

We have some big news about this year’s Great Climate Race. We are trying something new.

Mari and I have been gathering feedback over our first two years.

We have been dreaming big about how we can have the most impact as quickly as possible and that lead us to make some changes…

For starters we are eliminating our registration fee! That’s right the race is now free to enter.

This is possible because we are focusing on expanding our International Virtual Race and our Vancouver event will look very different this year. We will soon launch our new tool kit to facilitate the Great Climate Race in Vancouver and Internationally.

To compete in the 10k you will be able to run or walk wherever you want with a group or alone on the last weekend of October Saturday the 28th and Sunday the 29th.

There will be meet up runs happening in cities around the globe including a race on the seawall in Stanley Park in Vancouver like past years. But now Vanouver participants will be competing (and cooperating) with people from around the world!

 

To preserve the tradition of our event from the last two years we are organizing a 10k meet up on Sunday morning Oct 29th.  

We are currently looking for people to be involved in our race committee to help organize the Sunday morning sewall run. Please join our race committee Facebook page to contribute your thoughts and ideas.

If you want to volunteer and get more involved day to day send me a reply and we can talk details. Great way to get organizing experience and volunteer hours for students. Please pass this on to anyone you think would be interested.

Registration will open at the beginning of October. For now we just wanted to give you an update on what was up.

You will be able to use our tool kit to facilitate fundraising per kilometer of running or walking from whenever you registered until race day.

PRO TIP: There will be prizes that take into consideration your total km’s and fundraising in October not just on race day weekend.

SURVEY:  If you have not yet filled out our survey we are still looking for more feedback to optimize the race experience.

Help With The Survey

We will be sending out more information soon about the race and how the tool kit will work but we wanted to fill you in on the big news.

That’s it for now from me, thanks for everything.

Ben

Co-Founder, The Great Climate Race.

P.S. – Please consider getting involved in the Race Committee for the Vancouver event in Stanley Park.

You can use the race committee to kickstart the planning of your own meet up somewhere else for that weekend if you want as well.

Get in touch if you have any questions or comments.

SIWASH ROCK IN STANLEY PARK — WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Ben West took a walk around the Stanley Park seawall with Khelsilem a Coast Salish First Nations language teacher to learn more about a giant boulder known as Siwash Rock that sits on west side of Stanley Park, the site of the Vancouver meet up  of The Great Climate Race.  Khelsilem is from Squamish Nation, whose traditional territory is  6,732 square kilometers (673,200 hectares) around what we now know as British Columbia, Canada, including parts of Vancouver.  Squamish Nation has a strong, rich history and have their own government, Chiefs and Council and belief systems and traditions.   The First Nations that once occupied BC before European colonialist forces arrived, have a shared, complex history with other Coast Salish First Nations  like Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh that they have passed on through oral traditions.  Khelsilem is helping to revive the Skwxwú7mesh Snichim or the Squamish language which is critically endangered.  Skwxwú7mesh (pronounced Squ-HO-o-meesh) means  “the Squamish People.” Khelsilem speaks Skwxwú7mesh fluently and is an advocate for the renaissance of  indigenous languages globally.  

This video explores the origins of what we now know as “Siwash” rock. Do you know the traditional teaching associated with this landmark and the history of the word Siwash? If you live in the area or have seen this rock, you will probably never see this rock the same way again.

The Great Climate Race International Virtual Race takes place on the last week of October 2017.  Sign up here: http://www.greatclimaterace.org/virtualrace

GREAT CLIMATE RACE CROWDFUNDING FOR TSLEIL-WAUTUTH NATION SOLAR PROJECT

The Tsleil-Waututh Nation are a Coast Salish people whose ancestral territory resides around  North Vancouver as well as thousands of acres around the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada.  The Tsleil-Waututh (pronounce slay-wah-tuth) are the People of the Inlet.  Their ancestry date back over 10,000 years and to this day have never signed a treaty with the Crown.  Therefore their territory is “unceded” which means the land was “never ceded through treaty, war, or surrender”.  Those were the words contained in the unanimous motion by the City of Vancouver in 2014 to acknowledge that the city is on unceded Coast Salish territory which includes the Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish and Musqeam nations.

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TSLEIL-WAUTUTH ARE CLIMATE LEADERS

Tsleil-Waututh are strong advocates for a cleaner healthier future for just like their ancestors fought for and for future generations.  When you hear Tsleil-Waututh Nation member speak about their land and water, they always speak about protecting it for all of us.  They have been a leading voice in opposing the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline and tanker project. The project will see hundreds of tanker traffic carrying diluted bitumen, a highly toxic and flammable substance, through the Burrard Inlet next to Vancouver where a spill would be inevitable or a massive explosion could happen.

WALK OR RUN FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY

Now they are calling on supporters to help them walk or run and crowdfund for a renewable energy installation in their community to help illustrate the alternatives to increased fossil fuel infrastructure.

Charlene Aleck, Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust representative

“We know many people agree that there is a better way to go than to allow the new Kinder Morgan pipeline and tanker terminal to be built” said Charlene Aleck a spokesperson for the Tsleil Waututh Nation Sacred Trust Initiative. “We are happy to be inviting people to join us in the Great Climate Race to crowdfund for a large solar array in our community that will help provide a model for renewable energy directly across the inlet from the proposed oil tanker terminal. We don’t want this inlet to be the gateway to global warming. We are part of an unbroken wall of opposition to these kinds of projects and a big part of that is doing our part to contribute renewable energy and a vision for a better tomorrow” said Aleck.

 

“We are delighted to invite native and non-native people to join us to walk or run with us as part of the virtual race anywhere around the world!” said Aleck. “We are excited to know that we already have supporters involved in Australia, India, New York, France, Italy and Japan. This is truly a global movement to highlight a global problem.”.

By getting involved in this race, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and their friends and neighbours intend to communicate the wide spread support for an urgent transition to 100% renewable energy.

Sign Up for the Virtual Race

SOLAR POWER: NEW BUILDING, NEW ENERGY SOURCE

The Tsleil-Waututh Nation is building a new administrative building and health centre in North Vancouver which will be completed in Spring of 2017. The project will include a grid-tied solar project that will offset the energy demands of the buildings and put power onto the grid. The plans include an approximately 47,000 kwh a year solar installation. Donations of solar panels for this project have already been made by environmental groups.

Gifting of solar panels to Tsleil Waututh Nation Chief Maureen Thomas and former Chief Leonard George

JOIN THE INTERNATIONAL VIRTUAL RACE

Crowdfunding has alredy begun on the Great Climate Race website and will continue with the help of a new app. (sign up to be amongst the first to get the app here: register for the virtual race “Running to raise money for a cause isn’t a new idea but this is a great new twist to be able to give people a way to do something that is good for their health and good for the health of the planet” said Aleck. “Let’s help everyone understand that expanding our dependence on oil is not only dangerous but it’s unnecessary.”

SIGN UP FOR THE VIRTUAL RACE

 

SOMETHING MEANINGFUL YOU CAN DO ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE EVERY DAY

 

It’s hard to know what to do about climate change. Our goal is to give you something meaningful you can do every day to take steps in the right direction.

Now that the 2017 International Virtual Race is over we are moving on to our next phase… monthly fundraising challenges!

We will still host an annual race but of course we can’t stop runaway climate change by being active just once a year.

Its now easier to sign up to use the Great Climate Race fundraising tool. This will give you the ability to turn your day to day running and walking activity into funding for awesome renewable energy projects.

Register In Your City

Compete internationally every month in the categories of Most Money Raised and Best Run Pics (or Videos) Shared.

Help raise money and help spread the word… every day!

Until the end of 2017 we are working towards fully funding some important renewable energy projects. You can read more about these projects and more here: www.greatclimaterace.org/climate-solutions

New Sponsorship Opportunity

A big thanks to Bullfrog Power who sponsored the first 200 registered participants in the Great Climate Race International Virtual Race. If you were sponsored by Bullfrog Power you have until the end of November to take advantage of the funds they have pledged to support you.

Novo Solar, who has also supported the Great Climate Race since day 1 is now offering  to match dollar for dollar all funds raised up to the next $2,500 (Canadian). So if you get sponsors now and get out there walking or running (or on the treadmill at home or wherever you are) you can double the amount you raise!

Reminder: Share your runs or walks and tell us why you are participating to help spread the word and increase the amount of money you raise.