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Maple Ridge’s GETI Fest adds new townhall discussions

Annual environmental event happening this Saturday in Memorial Peace Park
The Raging Grannies performed at the GETI Fest in 2017. (The News files)

Maple Ridge’s popular environmental festival GETI Fest happens this Saturday in Memorial Peace Park, and there’s a new feature – townhall talks.

Organizer Christian Cowley is the executive director the the CEED Centre that founded the Golden Ears Transition Initiative (GETI) when the first festival was held in 2010.

At that time global warming was still somewhat theoretical, with many climate change deniers behind heard. These days, he said, it’s obviously happening, and people are more ready to engage in solutions.

“People are willing to listen,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that it takes fires and floods and human misery to get people’s attention.”

This year’s townhall talks will feature five speakers:

• Amir Hassanpour is a PhD student in the Department of Civil Engineering at UBC, whose primary research interest is the emerging transportation technologies and policies to create a sustainable transportation system. He is also working on the cost-effectiveness of electric bicycle incentives for greenhouse gas mitigation. He will speak about ‘micro-mobility.’

• Gerry Pinel is an active member of the CEED Centre Society, ACES (Affordable Community Environment Society) and GETI (Golden Ears Transition Initiative Society), the host of GETI Fest. His dream is to build a community that is able to reduce its carbon footprint while adapting to changes, and he will speak about housing.

• Ana Sanchez has a background in community development and health equity. She worked in neighbourhood food justice committees and food-related initiatives in Toronto, and her topic will be food security.

• Leanne Koehn, who spearheads community Engagement for Ridge Meadows Recycling Society, will talk about waste management.

• Cowley himself will also speak about “connecting the dots” of climate change solutions.

READ ALSO: Should big oil companies pay for climate change costs? 69% of British Columbians say yes

Cowley said the speakers will not be so much sounding the alarm, as letting people know that solutions to global warming are readily available.

“We’re hoping to take people from anxiety about climate change to action that will mitigate – so they can be hopeful about it, and be part of a collective solution.”

GETI Fest happens from 10 a.m. 2 p.m.. and the town hall speakers will begin at 11:20 a.m., and speak for about two hours.

There will also be music by Connie Ballendine, Gerald Charlie, and Kat & the Low Barrier Chorus. There will also be dancing by Jane Wylie.

The festival will feature about 35 exhibitors, a repair cafe, and a soap box to introduce the public to candidates for municipal office in the Oct. 15 election.

GETI is a volunteer-based organization that strives to find local solutions to global problems, such as peak oil, climate change, environmental degradation and food security.

READ ALSO: VIDEO: NASA uses satellites to track climate change

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Neil Corbett

About the Author: Neil Corbett

I have been a journalist for more than 30 years, the past decade with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.
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