Friday, October 23, 2009

Gaining Ground: Getting Ready for the Storm

Fall and Hopyard Mountain, Agassiz BC

Not every day has a blue sky but nearly everyday has something spectacular to express.  Look for it.  This attempt of mine sought to capture a small grouping of  fall trees mid field hunkered down against a threatening sky. I hope you can smell the maple leaves, feel the coming rain and rejoice for a moment in the dance of transformation. 

Click on the picture for a better look.

Gaining Ground and Getting Ready for the Storm

It is appropriate that the picture above shows the world once again in a seasonal decline hunkering down before a threatening sky because that was the tone of the message I received from the Gaining Ground Resilient Cities Conference held in Vancouver, BC this past week.  Climate change and the end-of-oil were the Big storm clouds as explained by scientist Dr. Bill Rees.  Pretty scary stuff but to cope a phrase, I found that "green shots" were also popping up in the most unexpected places. Places that were devasted like the Bronx in New York and North Charleston reinvented with love,caring and a hell of a lot of work. This post looks at how these planetary forces will, briefly, come to change our world the winter we are facing together and the promise of spring.

It is easy to disregard the slowly emerging facts that our world is in a transformative process and pretend that it does not exist. I'll admit that is where my head was until this conference.  Why do we discount these threats?  I am reminded of how you go about boiling a frog - that by placing the frog into pot of cold water and then slowly raising the temperature of the stove under the pot. That is what may be happening to us but instead of the heat of an appliance we are facing the slow increase of fuel costs and the amplifying volatility of weather.  Is this happening locally, Chilliwack broke numerous heat records this year plus we had the hottest day ever recorded on July 29, 2009 of 39.2 degrees celsius!  So, in short yes.

With respect to the end of oil, think back to 2008 and recall that the stock market meltdown was preceded by the costs of oil reaching new heights albeit somewhat speculative in nature.  There is a great book on the end of oil situation that I would recommended reading, it is "Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller" by Jeff Rubin, a fellow Canadian. If you remain unconvicted just go and gas up.

Al Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth is readily available at most video stores and will give you the overview needed there.  That is where I want to leave this part of the discussion because it is more important to not get blinded into a sense of immobility by the immensity of these issues. We need to ak ourselves "what can we do" and "what can I do"?

Mount Cheam Brillant Sunrise

What can be done?

Do what you can and keep doing it.

Green Shoots

The conference was a great place to meet and chat with people and it gave me a sense of what the "do what you can" might include.  Talking with Karen C. I learned that several blocks in her East Vancouver neighbourhood had organized themselves to share resources and support each other.  We will not be able to solve these huge problems without each other.  I think the street level is a great place to start.  The best part though, was this,  Karen gave me a sense that people were enjoying each others company and that this was adding depth to their lives.  Why not get together with your neighbours?  Carpool.  Talk amongst yourselves, organize, we need to bring more people into the conversation.

A couple of ladies in Sardis did something they had not done for years this summer they dug and planted a garden.  By September they had more vegetables than they knew what to do with.  By the way, Marie, if you are reading this thanks again.  Again, a shared experience; their produce did not have to be trucked in on a carbon trail and how much fresher can it get than today's harvest?  So, think ahead to 2010 where can you plant a garden?

Look to resources in your own backyard and neighbourhood.

Vote with your wallet, support businesses that purchase local.  Ask your restaurant where their produce comes from and chose business that are buying from the local farmers. Did you know that every dollar that a local farmer earns can get multiplied in the local economy as much as 5 times?  If you know the farmer ask them where they make their purchases.  Think about what other products made locally could be purchased - good for the economy and avoids those nasty shipping carbon emissions. If we can build a diverse economy we can build a more resilient community one thar can face up to the challenges ahead.

Despite the heavy tone of the conference I am encouraged by the "budding" of green shoots I see and the resilience of everyday people,like you and me, they give me hope that regardless of the winter to come, a spring will follow.

Best quote I heard at the conference: "there is no elevator to sustainability you have to use the stairs".

Stephen Mullock is a Chilliwack real estate associate broker with 29 years of experience. He can be reached at Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty, telephone 604-792-0077.

Copyright October 23, 2009 by Stephen Mullock.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Launch of New Children's Book - "Dude"

Emily Mullock Illustrator

In case some of you are wondering when the second book penned by Christopher Aslan and illustrated by, our daughter, Emily Mullock is due out you will be relieved to learn that the wait is over.  "Dude" portrays a young dude's emotional journey through everyday life... each pictures starts with a bit of a mystery, "what is Dude feeling?  It is a great way to talk about the social context of everyday life with the youngster in your life.

As you can see in the announcement above there will be a book signing at "antisocial" a skateboard shop located at 2337 Main Street, Vancouver, BC on October 20, 2009 starting at 6:30 pm.  If you plan to come, please RSVP to  Emily will be there and I am sure she would be happy to see a few familiar faces.

The complete catalogue of Benjamin Brown Books can be found at including the first book illustrated by Emily Mullock also written by the talented Christopher Aslan called  "Wenda the Wacky Wiggler".

You can also check out Emily's "Blog of M"  with a simple click or Google "Emily Mullock" for more of her fine creations.

Emily is responsible for the caricature that I use on this blog - it looks just like me except that I have greyer hair. :-)

Now I realize that this posting has little to do with the intention of this site except in a loose cultural sense so please indulge me.

Stephen Mullock is a Chilliwack real estate associate broker with 29 years of experience. He can be reached at Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty, telephone 604-792-0077.

Copyright October 11, 2009 by Stephen Mullock except graphic.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Between the Bridges: The Agassiz – Rosedale Bridge

My “Between the Bridges” part of the blog examines that area north of the Fraser River between the Mission Bridge and the Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge in the upper Fraser Valley of British Columbia. Previous “Between the Bridges” posts have looked at the Kilby Museum and the Harrison Mills area.

Agassiz - Rosedale Bridge looking north

The Agassiz – Rosedale Bridge was built in 1956 during the W.A.C. Bennett years replacing a ferry that had provided a crossing service for many years.

Fraser River View of Agassiz - Rosedale Bridge

It is hard to believe, but the merchants of Agassiz opposed the bridge proposal, largely championed by the Chilliwack Board of Trade as early as 1910, with the result that another 46 years would pass before its opening. What were the merchants of Agassiz thinking? That the local residents would drive across the bridge in search of better prices?  Or were they just resistant to change?

Anyways, I drive across it almost daily and think it is beautiful and the landscape as well. The Fraser River in a late evening light; the farms of Agassiz so green and pastoral; the Coastal Mountains; and of course Mount Cheam. I took a walk across the bridge a couple a weeks ago and snapped these pictures. I hope you like them and that they convey to you the beauty I see.

Gateway to Agassiz

Bicyclist Beware

Under the Bridge Canopy

Long shadows on Farmland

Fraser River

Sunset on Sandbars

Bridge Under Structure

Stephen Mullock is a Chilliwack real estate associate broker with 29 years of local real estate experience. He can be reached at Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty, telephone 604-792-0077.

Copyright October 5, 2009 by Stephen Mullock.