De-Growth on the Sunshine Coast

By James Reinert, March 2012
Courtesy of Degrowth Vancouver,

Recently, a group of like-minded people got together for a viewing of Conrad Schmidt’s documentaries on de-growth and efficiency shifting. Since then, we have been meeting twice a month in Roberts Creek to discuss how to go about achieving a non-growth based, local economy.

Currently we are looking to put forward a proposal to the district of Sechelt to have Sechelt Golf and Country Club, which was recently shut down, converted into an education centre to teach people permaculture, homesteading, and generally how to get off the grid, or at least depend on it less. We recently met with Emanuel Machado, Sustainability Manager of the District, to discuss our idea, and he seemed genuinely open to it. As well we’d like to eventually organize a block party and idea fair, where people can host and attend workshops to share and learn skills such as pickling, seed saving, knitting, community organizing and so forth. Creating a local currency is also on the agenda, as is getting a de-growth-minded person elected to the local credit union board of directors. Road signs encouraging hitch-hiking and picking up hitch-hikers are going to be put up, with the goal of getting people out of their cars for short jaunts, as well as giving people the opportunity to meet their fellow Coasters and spontaneously carpool!

Active involvement in areas such as food sovereignty and sustainability are nothing new to the people of Roberts Creek, and the Sunshine Coast in general. One might say that many a pioneer of sustainability has called the Coast their home at some point or another. One member of our network, and long-time resident of Roberts Creek, Scott Avery, is currently building Vardo houses: small, portable homes that take up little space or resources, and can be accommodated cheaply where land tends to be expensive.

Many individuals in our small town are quick to adopt the idea of de-growth, or rather, talk about the proverbial elephant in the room openly, and in a community forum. De-growth has been the practice here for quite some time, it is just recently that a name has been put to it.

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