On Saturday August 15th, I attended a social event that was unique to my Vancouver experience. Environmentalist Susan Kammerzel hosted an entire morning and brunch of activist in her own apartment in Mount Plesant. The theme of the matinee was to raise awareness on peak oil.
After screening “The End of Suburbia”, we sat in a circle and agreed on how the concept of suburbia as based on growth was not sustainable.
Saturday’s potluck brunch was only one of the meetings that Apocalypse for Dummies has put on throughout its 6 months of operation. Apocalypse, by the way, does not refer to the end of the world, but to the disclosure of something secret. I had the chance to learn more about the group, their mission and how one can start making sustainable changes with Apocalypse for Dummies co-founder Alexandra Rea.
Apocalypse for Dummies was established 6 months ago as a drop-in, home-run educational groups that operate under the Village Vancouver umbrella. Village Vancouver is a “transition town that is working on preparing people to face the global resource depletion crisis, peak oil, economic sustainability and climate change”.
Alexandra Rea started the program with Susan Kammerzel because they wanted to meet people in the sustainability movement and join forces in taking action. They also shared an interest in increasing the capacity of the movement itself. Their format is fairly simple: “We share what we know through documentary films, and then we put our counseling skills to work. Namely we create a space for people to express how this information impacts them.”
Having originally grown up in Macedonia, Rea told me about what had inspired her to get involved.
“I’ve been an activist for social change since I was 14. And when I made the move to Vancouver, I realized the importance of sustainability more than a local would because the patterns of consumption in Macedonia were very different from those in North America”. It was natural then, that Alexandra was interested in learning about sustainable development, which not necessarily means growth.
“In my family”, she adds, “I learned to love the environment. We spent months in the wilderness over the summer camping, fishing, hunting, and living completely off the grid. So with my dad, I learned to appreciate nature and so for me, it is like that strong connection to the planet became so much stronger. Then I found myself in this concrete jungle. And, as an immigrant you have an objective perspective on the picture that some things are not working”.
And the more Alexandra learned about peak oil, the maximum level of worldwide petroleum extraction and after which consumption will gradually decline, she threw herself into action by organizing and attending workshops, conferences, leading some of them and networking. That was when Alexandra and her friend Susan Kammerzel started running Apocalypse for Dummies.
Visit http://villagevancouver.ning.com/ to find out how you, too, can advocate for your cause.
By Jamal Saad