This time four years ago I was researching which ski resort to choose for a six-month sabbatical from the real world of work. With so many options for amazing slopes, culture and lifestyles around the world, I really didn't know where to go. Then I researched Whistler.
With an academic and work background in the environmental sector, my intrigue soon meant I had spent hours immersed in the pages of Whistler 2020, learning about a community that drives this kind of process and seeks out actions to improve its future sustainability. At that point the choice was made.
As current president of the Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment, I am continually amazed by the impact this volunteer-run organization has had in this community. The young and the not-so-young have ongoing opportunities to be involved in AWARE programs such as the Nature Kids Club, in-school climate and waste workshops, Green Drinks or the Sustainable Speaker Series, which included Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and David Suzuki.
Going back through AWARE's history, there are links to much of the developments we see today - the Nesters Bus Depot and the golf course where I now work were both lobbied against by AWARE to try and save these red-listed and lakeside wetlands. Even the recycling facilities we often take for granted today were started by AWARE directors over 20 years ago, spending their weekends driving trucks of recyclables to Vancouver.
However, despite the many merits of the past we must always focus on the future. Over the past few years the number of active board members for AWARE has dwindled. We now continually struggle to make quorum at meetings and without an influx of new active board members we will no longer be able to retain our charitable status.
For me personally I want to see AWARE become more active in the community rather than survive simply to exist in the status quo. To be more active, we need people. People who want to give their time, energy and enthusiasm to speak for the environment through education, awareness and on-the-ground initiatives.
If you think this might be you, then now is the time to get involved. Come see us at Envirofest or call me at (604) 966-7806 to discuss the kind of work/projects you could get involved in. Crunch day will be our AGM, taking place at 6 p.m., June 22 at the library. If we are not able to elect a board of 10 motivated individuals then AWARE will fold.
Director applications can be made through our website www.awarewhistler.org.
Whether you choose to apply or not, I would like to invite the entire community to join us on June 22 for a celebratory event - either we celebrate AWARE or its past or the start of a new beginning.