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Feature - The road to sustainability

A year after the launch of Whistler. It’s Our Nature, how far have we travelled?



Remember that information-packed booklet and CD you got a year ago in the mail telling you all about sustainable living?

What, you don’t think you got it.

Oh, you did, but you can’t remember what you did with it.

Did you read it?

Titled the ‘Household Toolkit’ it hoped to tweak your curiosity about how to meet your own needs and society’s needs while also maintaining the integrity of the ecological systems our very lives depend upon.


Don’t turn that page. I know it sounds boring but this is important stuff.

It is so important that the leaders of Whistler are committed to working toward sustainability as a goal for the community.

As part of this journey a new community program was developed, Whistler. It’s Our Nature , which developed and produced the toolkit.

Members of the program include the municipality, Whistler-Blackcomb, the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, Tourism Whistler and the Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment.

The program relies heavily on the Natural Step, a framework developed by Swedish scientist Dr. Karl-Henrik Robert, in response to growing concerns over health problems resulting from increased environmental toxins and current resource use practices.

In fact, proponents of the framework in Whistler are now sought-after to give lectures and advice on how other communities in Canada and around the world can get on board.

Dave Anderson has lived in Whistler for 10 years. He got the toolkit last February when it was mailed to everyone on the municipal tax list.

"I did read it," he said.

"I think what we try and do personally in this house is try and comply with everything that was in the book."

Anderson was aware of the various responses to the booklet – everything from rave reviews to fury over wasting "tax-payers dollars."

But he felt, as did many others canvassed locally as they shopped, that anything which can be done to educate people on the subject is worthwhile.

"I think everything you can do to raise awareness should be done," said Anderson.

"But you have to realize that some people will look at it and others won’t. Was (mailing it out) the best way to reach people? Well, it’s a moot point as different people will respond to things in different ways."

For Felicity Smart, a Washington resident who shares a condominium here, the tool kit was a wasted effort.

"It’s not that I don’t think protecting the environment and using things well is important," she said.