Friday, March 30, 2007

[Project] City Within

City Within is a citizen film project that is in development with the VSEF. We're very excited about it, and promise to share our learnings in the newsletter.

Thought it would be a good idea to share one of the ChipIn widgets being used to connect and include as many people as possible, while raising additional funds for this project.

Here's a full size version:

You can also see another on our sidebar.

If you'd like to encourage the VSEF film project, it's easy to "chip in".
--------------------- Tags for information about: for:vsef, Social Economy, Video, ChipIn


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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

[Recommended Read] SustainAbility - Growing Opportunity: Entrepreneurial Solutions to Insoluble Problems

SustainAbility and the Skoll Foundation have just published Entrepreneurial Solutions to Insoluble Problems.

More later ...

[Heads Up Credit: Joel Makower]
Interested in learning more about social enterprise? Take a browse through the Vancouver Social Enterprise Book Store (Vancouver | United Kingdom | United States) and see what other social entrepreneurs recommend reading. Tags for information about: for:vsef, Social Enterprise, Social Entrepreneur, SustainAbility


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Monday, March 26, 2007

If it's from the CBC ...

Online, CBC is covering a story related to Vancouver based Co-operative Auto Network - CAN.

[Attention grabbed. Eyes focus on the monitor.]

The story begins ...
A pioneering Vancouver car-sharing co-op is raising concerns about the possibility that a city car-sharing contract may go to an American-based firm.

Officials at Vancouver city hall recently put out a call for bids to run a car-sharing service for a fleet of 40 vehicles.

So far, two private American companies, ZipCar and Flexcar, have expressed interest.

The founder of Vancouver's Co-operative Auto Network doesn't think the non-profit group should have to fight for the contract.

Now the CBC online is a ... a ... pale rendition of the radio network. So it seems reasonable to look at the CAN website for more information. (Aside: We're guessing the sleuths at the CBC received a press release from CAN)

All we can see ... a nice webpage with the phrase "Content to come...".

We like CAN.

Maybe someone can help them with community engagement.

This story is interesting - there's tension between two social enterprise models, i.e. private vs "held in common". Here's a perfect "home grown" example to discuss the benefits of each model.

I can't tell you how interesting this is!
--------------------- Tags for information about: for:vsef, Social Economy, COOP, Co-operative Auto Network, Flexcar, ZipCar


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Saturday, March 24, 2007

[Opportunity] Mountain Equipment CO-OP - Community Program Administrator

The purpose of the Mountain Equipment CO-OP is to
support people in achieving the benefits of self-propelled wilderness-oriented recreation.
If that stirs your soul, then you'll want to know they're seeking a Community Program Administrator.

The role is described as ...

  • Providing administrative support for MEC community programs and events (i.e. correspondence, answering inquiries, updating content for the website, coordinating product donations)

  • Facilitating the grant review committees' role in reviewing, assessing, recommending and funding grant applications

  • Administering active grant files for conservation and access grants as well as expedition support

  • Supporting community involvement and member outreach activities across the Sustainability Network

  • Completing special projects as requested by the Community Program Manager

  • The deadline for applying is March 29th.

    Aside: Pleased to see the MEC is getting the word out (BSR/CBSR). Shame at BSR the contact e-mail address was truncated to "" - it should read
    --------------------- Tags for information about: for:vsef, Social Economy, COOP, MEC


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    Friday, March 23, 2007

    IMPACS - No Longer

    The Institute for Media, Policy and Civil Society (IMPACS) was committed to strengthening the voice and profile of civil society organizations in Canada and internationally.

    The March 21 Statement from the board declares the ten year old organisation insolvent. A highly regrettable outcome.

    IMPACS has been a friend to the VSEF since our inception. As a civil society organisation believing ...
    that when not-for-profits, or civil society organizations, do a better job of communicating the issues that are important in their communities - such as environmental protection and social justice - those issues are more fully and better represented in public policy debates.
    ... we had areas of mutual interest.

    We note the following portion of the board's statement:
    The Board and management of IMPACS have worked hard over the last several months to keep the enterprise viable and solvent. However, a number of factors have combined to make that goal elusive.

    While IMPACS had recently received word of some greatly appreciated new funding for some of its programs by a number of Canadian foundations and new federal funding for one of its international projects, the IMPACS Board has determined that the only responsible course of action available at this time is to plan for an orderly wind-up of IMPACS, assisting in the securing of new work opportunities for the organization's employees and to limit the adverse financial exposure of the organization and its valued creditors.

    The experience of IMPACS is, regrettably, not an isolated instance. There are numerous non-governmental organizations and charities in Canada's community non-profit sector that are facing many of the same financial stresses. Chief among them is the lack of what is often called "core-funding,"i.e. revenue sources from operations or grants from governments or foundations that can sustain what is even the modest central management function at the heart of any organization.

    There are lessons here.

    Heads Up Credit | Rob Cottingham
    --------------------- Tags for information about: for:vsef, Social Economy, Nonprofit


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    Thursday, March 22, 2007

    [Project] DTES Video Diaries - Toward a Beautiful Vancouver

    While the city is focused on another YouTube video. We thought today was a good time to start some thinking about a video project looking at the daily lives of Vancouverites living and working in the DTES.

    More to follow ...

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    [Recommended Read] Social Entrepreneurship: The Case for Definition

    The Spring 2007 issue of the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) features the paper Social Entrepreneurship: The Case for Definition. It's worth a read.

    Here's a snippet:

    Social entrepreneurship is attracting growing amounts of talent, money, and attention. But along with its increasing popularity has come less certainty about what exactly a social entrepreneur is and does. As a result, all sorts of activities are now being called social entrepreneurship. Some say that a more inclusive term is all for the good, but the authors argue that it’s time for a more rigorous definition.

    Here's a little about the authors of the paper.

  • Roger Martin has served as dean of the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto since 1998. He is director of the school’s AIC Institute for Corporate Citizenship and serves on the board of the Skoll Foundation. In 2004 Martin received the Marshall McLuhan Visionary Leadership Award, and in 2005 he was named one of Business Week’s seven “Innovation Gurus.”

  • Sally Osberg has served as president and CEO of the Skoll Foundation since 2001. Before joining Skoll, Osberg was executive director for the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose. She sits on the boards of the Oracle Education Foundation and the Children’s Discovery Museum. Her essay on philanthropy’s changing landscape is included in Social Entrepreneurship : New Models of Sustainable Social Change, published in 2006 by Oxford University Press.

  • ---------------------

    Interested in learning more about social enterprise? Take a browse through the Vancouver Social Enterprise Book Store (Vancouver | United Kingdom | United States) and see what other social entrepreneurs recommend reading. Tags for information about: for:vsef, Social Enterprise, Nonprofit, SSIR


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    Tuesday, March 13, 2007

    Pivot Launches Housing Solutions Contest

    Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside provides low-income housing and a network of social services to more than 5,000 of the Vancouver’s poorest residents. However, the neighbourhood is facing rapid erosion of that housing as a result of development and gentrification pressures.

    Today, Pivot Legal Society announced it will award $2,000 for the winning essay in a contest to find the best and most practical solutions to the housing crisis in Vancouver.

    The top six papers, as judged by a panel of professional developers, government planners, and academics, will be published by Pivot in a Special Report on Housing Solutions for the Downtown Eastside. The report will be presented at a public meeting to discuss solutions to the housing crisis in Vancouver in the Fall of 2007.

    According to one of the judges, SFU Professor, Nick Blomley, "Homelessness is one of the most challenging issues facing today's Vancouver. These essays will hopefully allow us to think outside the box a little, and offer practical as well as innovative ideas and solutions."

    The housing solutions contest is looking specifically for policy proposals that:

  • have been implemented and are successful in other jurisdictions;

  • involve partnerships between government and developers; and,

  • respect the needs of the existing low-income community in the area and do not displace, either directly or indirectly, that community.

  • The essay contest deadline is Monday April 30, 2007. For more information about the contest, visit the Pivot online.

    For more information call Pivot Legal Society on (604) 255-9700 or e-mail.

    --------------------- Tags for information about: for:vsef, Social Economy, Nonprofit, Housing


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    Show a Future Start a Discusssion

    This blast from the past is the infamous "Daisy" political ad used, briefly, by Lyndon Johnson in the 1964 US Presidential campaign.

    The ad has the dishonour of being the first political attack ad. Of course it caused a stir.

    From Wikipedia ...

    On September 7, 1964, Johnson's campaign managers for the 1964 presidential election broadcast the "Daisy ad." It portrayed a little girl picking petals from a daisy, counting up to ten. Then a baritone voice took over, counted down from ten to zero and a nuclear bomb exploded. The message was that Barry Goldwater meant nuclear death. Although it was soon pulled off the air, it escalated into a continuously very heated election. Johnson won by a sweeping landslide. Johnson won the presidency with 61 percent of the vote and the then widest popular margin in the 20th century—more than 15 million votes.

    I think this ad still works. As a child of nuclear winter, ozone depletion, acid rain, AIDS, and War, I'm getting immune to being "messaged".

    That being said there's always room for a clear message that brings me in touch with my humanity.

    How's your communication working for you?

    With thanks to the folks at Daisy Consulting Group for the pointer.
    --------------------- Tags for information about: for:vsef


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    Sunday, March 11, 2007

    [Event] EPIC 2007 - The Sustainable Living EXPO

    If you're a budding social entrepreneur mark the March 16th weekend as "market research". That's the EPIC 2007 weekend at Vancouver's Convention & Exhibition Centre.

    EPIC 2007 is billed "The Sustainable Living EXPO"...
    Today's ethical consumers know they have the power to create change. Businesses in the know are following suit, creating forward thinking products and services that appeal to this growing audience.

    Enter EPIC 2007, The SUSTAINABLE LIVING EXPO - where style meets sustainability and vision meets practice - a celebration of producers and consumers coming together to support a better world.

    This inspirational exhibition is for people who want to make smarter decisions but don't want to sacrifice on design, quality or price. It's an event for consumers to find new products and companies they can believe in.

    EPIC Vancouver is a production of Sustainable Events Limited, which is owned and operated by The GLOBE Foundation of Canada. GLOBE is world-renowned for its leadership in developing and producing highly successful international conferences and exhibitions in the sustainability sphere. Events under GLOBE's management include the highly acclaimed GLOBE™ Series, and the recent World Urban Forum in Vancouver.

    There aren't many chances to come face to face with your potential market. EPIC is one such chance.

    Here's a partial list of attendees/exhibitors:
  • Toyota Canada
  • Capers Community Market
  • Translink
  • Ethical Funds
  • Salt Spring Coffee Co.
  • Mountain Equipment Co-op
  • Earth Water International
  • Limelight Event Marketing Inc.
  • Adhesif Clothing
  • Australian Outback Collection
  • Bare Fruit
  • Bring Your Own Bag
  • Canadian Health Network
  • Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform
  • Cotton Ginny
  • Dahlia Drive
  • Dinoflex Manufacturing
  • Dream Designs
  • Easywash
  • Ecotrend Ecologics
  • Electric Coast Vehicles
  • EPI Environmental Products
  • Frogfile Office Essentials
  • GenYDoors
  • Greater Vancouver Regional District
  • Green Table Network
  • Greenworks Building Supply
  • Ha-Ra Products Canada
  • Hard Bite Chips
  • JMH Home Environmental Solutions
  • John Fluevog Boots & Shoes
  • Jorg & Olif
  • Lela Designs
  • LUSH Cosmetics
  • Lyndhurst Naturals
  • Mojo's Designs
  • Navitas Naturals Canada
  • New Society Publishers
  • One Day - City of Vancouver
  • Ouno Design
  • Po-Zu
  • SeaChoice
  • SFU Community Trust
  • Simple Shoes
  • smart Canada
  • SMArts Segou
  • Sustainable Solutions Intl
  • Tenfold Organic Textiles
  • The Urban Green Cohousing Project
  • Tinctoria
  • Vancity
  • Wondertree Learning Centre and SelfDesign

  • When you need a break from the razzle dazzle of the sales floor, be sure to check out the presentations.

    Of particular note will be the sessions on Saturday featuring Sarah Rich (Sat. March 17th @ 4:00 pm) and Alex Steffen (Sat. March 17th @ 7:00 pm).]

    To get a better sense of Sarah and Alex, read their contributions to WorldChanging. The book, Worldchanging : A User's Guide for the 21st Century, is available at the VSEF bool store [US readers/UK readers].

    There will also be presentations of The Core Gore. This time by Mike Gerbis, CEO of The Delphi Group (Fri., March 16th @ 8:00 pm); and, Robert Safrata, CEO, Novex Couriers (Sat., March 17th @ 1:00 pm and 6:00 pm). I'm guessing Robert and Mike won't take a page from VanCity and bring a presentation they "cobbled together in a few weeks".

    Register to attend here.

    See you there!
    --------------------- Tags for information about: for:vsef, Social Economy, Sustainable


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    Friday, March 09, 2007

    [Event] “Saving the planet and feeling good about it”

    Bill ReesCome and listen to Bill Rees (no relation) and John Helliwell.

    Here's what the blurb says:
    Two of UBC’s leading professors and proponents of sustainability will lead this lecture. Bill Rees will be approaching the discussion from a community planning perspective and John Helliwell will be using and advocating a well-being perspective. Attend this engaging interdisciplinary conversation on how our city can decrease its ecological footprint and enjoy the benefits of becoming sustainable.

    The details are ...

    Date: Thursday March 22, 2007 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
    Category: City of Vancouver events
    Location: University of British Columbia, Robson Square, 800 Robson Street, Vancouver

    Cost: Free.
    Reservations required: 604.873.7707 or
    --------------------- Tags for information about: for:vsef, Social Economy, Sustainability


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    Thursday, March 08, 2007

    The Core Gore

    The Core GoreEarlier we mentioned Dave Mowat's commitment to spreading the message of The Climate Project.

    Tonight was the night and the Ridge in Kitsilano was the place. Were you there?
    It's a few hours after the event and confusion rules over the jotted notes, recollections.

    Forgive the random blurtings.

    Once past a phalanx of VanCity board-member-wannabes pressing pamphlets and urging support the "scene" was serene. A mild surprise given the e-mail invitation noted "capacity crowd anticipated". My guess, the Ridge was half capacity. I could be wrong. I was put off by the four complete rows reserved for VanCity that seemed sparsely populated. I never checked for lurkers in the balcony.

    The white letters on the black screen at the front of the theatre ask me ...
    "Can you handle the truth?"
    "What can you do?"
    The questions are too hard. I scan the gathering crowd wondering how many will litter the floor with discarded VanCity Board election material. I don't need to wonder long.

    The couple next to me drove separately. One from home. The other from work. Guessing they haven't looked at the adapted one tonne challenge handed to them as they walked into the theatre.

    It feels like we're starting late.

    I think I heard Dave say, "Almost everything good tracks back to our use of fossil fuel". I'm wondering how Gordon Gekko would deliver "The Core Gore".

    The talk swings between "we", "you", "We", "Us", "global", "national" ... getting dizzy.

    Nice to know the "enviro foot print" has a local connection. Nicer to mention Bill Rees. Nicer still to let folks know he and John Helliwell will present "Saving the planet and feeling good about it".

    Nice graphic of Florida coastline changed by 6m rise in tide levels. [Note to self: suggest Dave considers Tufte on Visual Explanations.]

    A couple of nice VanCity newsy bits:

  • A soft launch of a Climate Change Mortgage

  • Here's Dave telling you more:

  • VanCity working with Pattison Group to use White-LEDs instead of using energy eating neon.

  • Wondered if they'd given any thought to working with the Light Up the World Foundation - LUTW. Maybe LUTW will benefit from the Climate Fund created by the climate mortgage.


    Time to take action:

  • 1. Reduce home temperature by 5 degrees - when not at home.

  • 2. Use low-flow showerheads.

  • 3. Turn hot water temperature down to 49 degrees.
  • Will that mess with the warranty?

  • 4. Wash clothes in cold water.

  • 5. Replace light bulbs.
  • See LUTW above

  • 6. Weatherstrip windows and doors.

  • 7. Upgrade my home's insulation.
  • Audience member points out how landlord/strata might need to be consulted

  • 8. Use "Green Power".
  • Ummm. Described as paying extra so BC Hydro can go green. Think Dave needs to chat with Bob Elton.

  • 9. Maintain my vehicle regularly.
  • These action steps were suggested by the good folks at the Pembina Institute. Right?

  • 10. Don't idle my vehicle.
  • Pembina was founded in Drayton Valley, Alberta. Right?

  • 11. Use ethanol blended gas.
  • Much oil pumping/farming happening in the Drayton Valley?

  • 12. Reduce my cruise speed.

  • 13. Take public transit to work.
  • Might have been nice to plug eco-density

  • 14. Replace my car with one that is more fuel efficient
  • Is this still "The Core Gore"?

  • 15. Take one less flight

  • Using the handy-dandy Pembina/VanCity Take-Eco-Action meter each attendee calculated their opportunity to reduce GHG.

    Apparently if we all did these things we'd counter the emissions of 66 cars. Which is about half the number of cars parked at the theatre. [How long are we countering these emissions for?]

    We done good!

    Vancouver Eco-density takes on a new meaning.

    BTW - We're including Livestock’s long shadow in next months newsletter.

    --------------------- Tags for information about: for:vsef, Social Economy, Climate, VanCity


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