Archive for September, 2010

Free Lecture: Stewart Brand

How have you heard about Stewart Brand?

Perhaps as founder of the Whole Earth Catalog. Or of The Well, a precursor to today’s social networks. Or maybe as cofounder of the Global Business Network or The Long Now Foundation.

Whether you realize it or not, your awareness of the world has been influenced by Stewart Brand. He thought the image of our planet might be a powerful symbol, so in 1966 he campaigned to have NASA release the then-rumoured satellite image of the entire Earth as seen from space. He distributed buttons — for 25 cents each — asking, “Why haven’t we seen a photograph of the whole Earth yet?” In 1968, a NASA astronaut made the photo public, and in 1970, not coincidentally, Earth Day began to be celebrated. Brand explained that the image “gave the sense that Earth’s an island, surrounded by a lot of inhospitable space.”

He is on the board of the Santa Fe Institute, and maintains connections with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Wired magazine and MIT’s Media Lab, while occasionally consulting for Ecotrust. He is the original editor of The Whole Earth Catalog (winner of the National Book Award); author of The Media Lab: Inventing the Future at MIT; How Buildings Learn; and The Clock of the Long Now: Time and Responsibility (MasterMinds Series); and Two Cybernetic Frontiers, on Gregory Bateson and cutting-edge computer science. It had the first use of the term “personal computer” in print and was the first book to report on computer hackers.

Most recently, he is author of “Whole Earth Discipline” — a provocative book that is likely to make one question the entire range of thinking on the state of the earth and how we should respond. Whether you agree with Stewart Brand or not, you have to hear what he has to say —something you’ve been doing all your life, whether you know it or not.

This free lecture will probably fill up quickly. Reserve now – but only if you intend to go. Otherwise, others who do may not be able to get seats.

Stewart Brand and “Whole Earth Discipline” —October 4, 2010, 7 pm
Venue: Milton and Fei Wong Experimental Theatre, SFU Woodwards, 149 West Hastings Street, Vancouver
Admission is free, reservations are required.

Reserve here.

Stewart Brand: “Always two steps ahead of others…..(he) is the least recognized, most influential thinker in America.” LA Times.


September 21, 2010 at 2:07 pm Leave a comment

Talk Green to the Mayor

Building on the success of the “Talk Green to Us” campaign, the public is invited to participate in the on-line forum to share ideas they want to put into action to help Vancouver become the greenest city. The public can also visit the forum to vote on their favourite ideas.

The most innovative and creative ideas with the most votes will be selected to be pitched to, and receive feedback from, a prestigious panel of experts facilitated by Mayor Gregor Robertson and Bill Richardson, host of CBC Radio’s Saturday Afternoon at the Opera and In Concert programs.

The panel features professionals from the sustainability sector and community leaders including: Mayor Gregor Robertson; Councillor Andrea Reimer; Arran Stephens, President of Nature’s Path Foods; Tamara Vrooman, Chief Executive Officer of VanCity; Janet Austin, Chief Executive Officer of YWCA Vancouver; Matt O’Grady, Editor of BC Business Magazine; and Greenest City Action Team (GCAT) member Cheeying Ho who is the Executive Director of the Whistler Centre for Sustainability.

Contestants can enter by adding ideas on the forum by September 24.

Innovative and creative ideas with the most votes have the best chance of being selected for the panel. A people’s choice winner, chosen by the audience attending the panel review, will be treated to dinner at a local Green Table restaurant as well as tickets to “Cities, bicycles and the future of getting around with musician David Byrne and Mayor Robertson on Sunday, October 24 at the Vancouver Playhouse.

Hosted by the City of Vancouver, the Vancouver Public Space Network and the Simon Fraser University (SFU) City Program, the panel event will take place at the SFU Woodward’s Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre.

Poet laureate Brad Cran and musician Veda Hille will be providing entertainment while Jaime Kowal and Ryan Tomkinson will share art and photography submitted by citizens of Vancouver to their website:

The public are encouraged to attend but must register for the event as space is limited:

The panel event is part of the Greenest City Open House taking place at the Woodwards Atrium from 4-7 pm on Friday, October 1. City staff will be available to discuss the greenest city vision, goals and targets and to hear your ideas and feedback. Everyone welcome.

The deadline to participate in the contest is September 24; however the forum will remain open until October 7. More information about the contest is available at

The Greenest City initiative is also on Twitter: and facebook:

September 15, 2010 at 3:23 pm Leave a comment

Warren Gill

Dr. Warren Gill, Vice-President, University Relations at SFU, passed away this week.  He was a great friend of the City Program, and a passionate and insightful citizen of Vancouver.   We mourn his loss.

Warren worked tirelessly during his 33-year tenure to expand the reach and reputation of Simon Fraser University. He was one of the world’s true optimists who motivated his colleagues to believe in the great things the University could achieve.

A Vancouver native with a PhD in urban geography from the University of British Columbia, Dr. Gill joined the University in 1977 and quickly became a champion for the creation of a downtown Vancouver campus. He was intimately involved in all stages of that development, which grew from the original Harbour Centre complex to include the Wosk Centre for Dialogue, the Segal Graduate School of Business, and most recently SFU Woodward’s.

A popular teacher and senior administrator, Dr. Gill was also committed to serving the larger community: He was a frequent media commentator on urban and transportation issues, and held volunteer positions at a variety of organizations including the Vancouver Academy of Music, the Downtown Vancouver Association, and the Economic Leadership Council for Greater Vancouver.

A fan of classic rock and R&B, Dr. Gill frequently performed with the local band, Wager. His many friends and colleagues will treasure the memories of his tremendous energy and enthusiasm as well as his great sense of fun. 


Our sympathies go out to his wife, his parents and other family members and close friends. Warren’s many contributions to SFU will not be forgotten.

September 8, 2010 at 5:55 pm 2 comments

Special Lecture with Mayor of Fremantle

Creating Carbon Neutral Cities Down Under – Reflections on climate change and sustainability from Australia.

In conjunction with Urban Studies at SFU, we’re pleased to be hosting the Mayor of Fremantle, Australia, for a special lecture.

Dr Brad Pettitt’s talk will explain Fremantle’s recent sustainability journey and how community support was nurtured and harnessed towards this goal despite a lack of leadership on climate change at the national level. Dr Pettitt will explain the key sustainability projects the city of Fremantle has embarked on including the City of Fremantle’s recently installed solar PV array which was the largest in Western Australia.   He will also explain proposed future sustainability initiatives.   His talk will also reflect on global sustainability and climate change debates from an Australian perspective and the connection with US and international policy.

The City of Fremantle is the first carbon-neutral local government in Western Australia and the second in Australia after the City of Sydney.

Dr Brad Pettitt was elected Mayor of the City of Fremantle in Western Australia in 2009. He has been a Councillor at the City of Fremantle since 2005 where he chaired the Urban Development Advisory Committee amongst others. Before being elected Mayor, Dr Pettitt was Associate Professor and Dean of School of Sustainability at Murdoch University. His teaching and research areas include sustainable development, international aid, climate change policy, and local sustainability planning.

Limited seating.  Register here.

September 3, 2010 at 10:52 am 1 comment