Although Whistler is still a clean place to live by any standards, we are not immune to the environmental issues of the day.
Our municipal landfill is rapidly filling up, even as build-out is being reached and reuse and recycling programs have reduced the waste stream by 50 per cent.
Air quality is deteriorating, partly because the number of cars on the highway and homes in the valley are steadily increasing.
We are also being challenged to protect our remaining wetlands, curtail development outside of Whistlers boundaries, and find sustainable ways to reduce our consumption and waste, and lessen our ecological footprint.
To become more aware of the issues, both local and global, Whistler is participating in Environment Week, a national event devoted to environmental issues and activities. The key themes are preservation, protection and restoration of our environment.
This year Whistler residents and visitors can help to celebrate Environmeent Week by taking part in educational activities and events.
To kick off Environment Week, the Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment (AWARE), the municipality, Whistler. Its Our Nature , Whistler and Valley Express and the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District are hosting an Environment Festival in Town Plaza, by the gazebo.
This information-sharing event takes place from noon to 4 p.m. on May 31.
Community groups will be on hand to provide free information to the public on a variety of topics, including transit alternatives, stream stewardship, worm composting, waste reduction, and other local initiatives. During this event, billed as EnviroFest, people can bring their expired household batteries to be recycled free of charge.
In addition, there will be live music all afternoon with Leanne Lamour and friends, and the second annual Re-Use-It Centre fashion show at 2 p.m. with local celebrities modeling some great used clothing.
Local school children from Myrtle Philip are participating in a Clean Air Day poster contest, where they will be asked to describe in pictures what clean air and climate change mean to them. All of the posters will be on display during Envirofest and on a WAVE bus, and the public will be asked to vote for their favourite posters.
Other events during Environment Week include:
Saturday, May 31
Spring Flair at Myrtle Philip Community Centre, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. This is a free family event featuring performances, workshops, games, face painting, a bouncy castle, hair wraps, a barbecue, and arts and crafts. In addition, you can talk with members of local organizations, and ask a horticulturist your spring gardening questions. You can plan a wildflower seed to take home.
Enjoy a birdwalk with the Whistler Naturalists, starting at 7 a.m. at the bottom of Lorimer Road.
Monday, June 2
Take a walking tour of the White Gold wetlands with AWARE. Meet at the Boot Pub parking lot at 6 p.m.
Tuesday, June 3
Join the Whistler-Blackcomb Habitat Improvement Team on one of its hands-on projects around Whistler. Past projects have included trail cleanups, hanging bird boxes, cleaning wetlands, and stream work. Meet in front of Merlins at 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, June 4
For national Clean Air Day, the Resort Municipality of Whistler is sponsoring free transit all day on WAVE buses.
The Whistler Naturalists will lead a guided nature walk around Lost Lake, meeting at the Lost lake parking lot at 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, June 5
WORCAs regular Loonie Race for members will include some tips on how to best preserve and enjoy Whistlers bike trails.