September 22, 2003

Stewardship and the Environment

Heroes and Heroines for Our Time:
Celebrating People with Courage to Do the Right Thing

The meeting was attended by 11 members, 2 friends and 9 guests.

Business of the Institute

Youth and Education. Bill Borgen and Gerri Schwartz reported that they are planning to meet soon with key officials and school leaders to introduce the Living Values program in Westminster School District. Other schools in other districts are also interested.

Health and Wellness. Maggie Gold reported that an important initiative has developed over the summer. The Integrated Medical Association of BC now exists as an informal group of like-minded people who wish to see an integrated model of health care develop in BC. An important meeting will be held on September 30 to develop further support for the concept. Anyone interested is welcome to attend the meeting at 7 p.m. on September 30 at the Masonic Hall, 1495 West 8th Ave., 4th Floor, East Wing. There will be a $5 charge to cover the cost of the room.

Business and Sustainability. Desmond Berghofer reported on the latest development in the effort to create the Canada Act for the Measurement of Well-Being, which the Institute is supporting. The responsibility for moving ahead with this initiative is now with Hon David Anderson, Minister of Environment. The Institute will be in touch with Mr. Anderson to encourage him to proceed and to inform him of the work that the Institute has done on this concept. The other initiative of this sector, the Ethical Competence Framework, continues to be presented in business and educational circles.

Relationships and Personal Development. In the absence of Diane Jennings, Gerri Schwartz reported that this sector will be hosting the next meeting on October 27. The intent is to create an ongoing dialogue on the need for ethical relationships in personal, business and community life. Full details of the program are provided in the attached flyer. Members, Friends and guests are invited to come out on October 27 to what will surely be a stimulating and informative meeting.

Stewardship and the Environment. Jim Haliburton reported good progress on nine projects sponsored and supported by this sector.

  1. The North Shore Schools Recycling Program has now spread to 11 private schools to make a total of 79 schools now with a full recycling program.
  2. The Eco Home Project will soon be publishing on its website the information to help homeowners reduce their environmental footprint. We will provide a link from the Institute website when this is done.
  3. The Environmental Block Watch Program has now been taken over by North Shore Recycling who have created a Neighbourscapes Program to encourage neighbours to learn together about sustainable living.
  4. The Commercial Sites Inspection Program is now being re-launched through the Environmental Studies program at Capilano College.
  5. A decision on the process to be used to recycle batteries will be made this month by the Municipalities Association of BC.
  6. Plans are underway to create a major Disney animated film of Saving the Spirit Bear, a long-time project of Simon Jackson, who spoke about this at a meeting of the Institute 2 years ago.
  7. Names are being collected on a petition to encourage Pesticide Awareness in West Vancouver, then hopefully beyond.
  8. The program to teach children in schools about Energy Conservation in the Home, which was presented to the Institute last year by Ken Martin, has now received funding from government to establish a pilot project.
  9. Michael Dunn reported that the Gulf Islands Centre for Ecological Learning (GICEL)is moving ahead on all fronts. They held a second series of successful summer programs and discussions are now underway with potential partners to establish programs on several Gulf Islands. Desmond Berghofer represents the Institute on the GICEL Board and is assisting with their development of a vision and business plan.


The program tonight was intended to recognize and support personal initiatives for ethical action that have come to the attention of the Institute..

Michael Dunn introduced a video entitled “Stewards of the Land.” This describes four inspirational initiatives in BC by people acting as stewards of land with which they are connected. One initiative is by a cattle rancher; the second is by an organic farmer; the third involves the preservation of a Garry Oaks ecosystem through a Nature Conservancy; and the fourth involves a restoration project with the support of a mining company.

In the second part of the program Carmen and Mel Zajac were present to describe the work of the Zajac Foundation, which has already sponsored several community projects involving seniors and children in memory of two Zajac brothers. The current project under development is the Zajac Ranch on 38 acres in Mission on the site of a former Correctional Centre. The vision is to establish this ranch as part of the worldwide network of “Hole in the Wall” projects sponsored by actor and philanthropist, Paul Newman.

The Zajac Ranch will be a place for children suffering from disabilities or illness to go “to just be kids.” It will have an intergenerational component to bring seniors and children together. It will also have a Bereavement Centre to comfort families of children who die from their illness. For more information about the Zajac Foundation and its projects, please see their website at


Following the presentations the audience met in three discussion groups to reflect on what they had seen and heard. Comments and ideas coming out of the discussion included the following:

  1. 1. We heard about other great initiatives like Drugs Free Marshals (kids helping to prevent the spread of drugs); Junior Achievement programs preparing young people to become future business leaders; Caring about Kids, where children are linked with mentors; the Canadian Memorial Church support of street mums.
  2. it was suggested that the Institute should publish good news stories on its website using the Readers Digest model.
  3. We heard about the Eco Village at Shawingan Lake on Vancouver I sland where people learn to build with locally available materials.
  4. It was suggested that the Institute develop an electronic directory of good news projects, which would provide a means for people to learn more about good news projects.
  5. It was emphasized that an important feature of projects is that they should be economically sustainable and thereby provide a model for how things can be done differently and sustainably as part of the normal way of living.


Following the discussion Gerri Schwartz and Desmond Berghofer made a presentation to Mel Zajac of the first of the Institute's new series of awards Yes to Ethical Services (YES). It is our intent to present similar awards to the people described in the video, “Stewards of the Land.” We anticipate over the coming years to make hundreds of these awards to encourage the spread of good works.

Next Meeting

The next meeting is October 27, 2003: 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Vancouver Public Library
Theme: Relationships and Personal Development