Force of Nature is working to promote solar power as a viable, accessible clean energy alternative to conventional sources of electricity. Our Solarize the Cities campaign involved a four-pronged approach that integrated research, education, advocacy, and fundraising for local infrastructure projects right here in the Lower Mainland.
RESEARCH: Our teams compiled high level data about the potential for photo voltaic energy in Metro Vancouver, assessed obstacles and opportunities to uptake, and addressed myths and misconceptions that were coming up on the door. To learn more, you can check out our solar factsheet, our solar brochure, and the detailed reports our teams compiled for the cities of New Westminster, Port Coquitlam, and West Vancouver. You can also check out the solar slideshow we presented in New Westminster.
EDUCATION: We shared our findings with the mayor and council of five municipalities and tens of thousands of Lower Mainland residents as we canvassed at farmers markets, festivals, and in local neighbourhoods throughout the spring, summer and fall. We also hosted a packed Mission: Transition town hall in January with Chief Phil Lane Jr. and Rob Baxter from Vancouver Renewable Energy Co-op, and a number of smaller slideshows and presentations on solar within the community.
ADVOCACY: We advocated for the reduction of bureaucratic barriers to residential solar, with an emphasis on expediting the municipal permitting process and reducing building permit fees. We collected over five thousand petition signatures calling for these changes, and presented our case to the municipalities of Burnaby, Port Moody, New Westminster, Port Coquitlam and West Vancouver. Port Moody and West Vancouver both voted to create an expedited permitting process.
INFRASTRUCTURE: A core objective was to directly support a local solar installation that embodied the principles of authentic sustainable development and community leadership. The Tsleil Waututh First Nation has taken a powerful stand against fossil fuel expansion in their traditional territories, and are demonstrating leadership and initiative by incorporating photovoltaics and renewable energy into their new developments. Our teams fundraised through distributed events and a solar charger raffle to raise $5000.00 from our community, and donated the funds to the new public solar installation at the Tsleil Waututh nation in December of 2017.
Organizer Jake Hubley took the lead on the Solarize project - you can read his blog about the campaign here.
A huge thank you to Lush Cosmetics who provided the bulk of the funding for this project.