Sparks will fly at sustainability conference

With delegates from a cross-section of the community, next week's Building Sustainable Communities conference will be lively.

Joanne de Vries of the Fresh Outlook Foundation

Joanne de Vries of the Fresh Outlook Foundation

When people from all sectors of the community get together to talk about sustainability, sparks can fly.

That’s why organizer Joanne de Vries has made the effort to allow more non-profit organizations to send delegates to next week’s sixth Building Sustainable Communities conference in Kelowna.

While typically it’s local government, or planners, or administrators or engineers who get together to talk about sustainable communities, in this four-day conference, all of those are involved, as well as those from academia, business people, non-profits and students, she says.

While non-profits tend to bring the passion, academia brings the innovation, local government the long-term perspective and the ability to affect change, business the competition, and the students will inherit it all, explained de Vries.

“It’s very exciting for me; I find it very hopeful to see the young people so passionate about change,” she commented.

In addition to the four days crammed with speakers and panels, discussion groups and presentations, there are four evening sessions at the Grand Okanagan conference centre, which begin at 7 p.m., that are available for both delegates and non-delegates, for a donation of $5 or so.

Sunday, Nov. 24 Michael von Hausen of Simon Fraser University will talk about designing a new eco-city; while Monday there’ll be a debate about Genetically-Modified Organisms or Genetically Engineered food; Tuesday about Life Outside the Bell Curve, with Ralph Bromley of Hope for the Nations; and Wednesday, Stephen Shepherd of UBC will talk about Visualizing Climate Change in your own Backyard.

De Vries says they have more than 450 delegates pre-registered, but she is still accepting registrations, and students and non-profit organization representatives are eligible for a free one-day pass, but they must pre-register by contacting

Go to the website for details and to register at:



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