What's the Purpose of this Site?
Perhaps it is our youthfulness - Vancouver is less than two hundred years old; or perhaps it is our proximity to a vast, natural world; or perhaps it is both factors that have developed an intense love of the outdoors and physical activity - especially when the rain clouds clear and Vancouver sparkles in the fresh sunshine. That love of sailing, hiking, and playing golf on courses shared with bears; fishing for gigantic salmon in waters shared with Orcas, otters, sea lions and eagles; and skiing down slopes prowled by wolves and coyotes encourages a desire, among many, to respect and steward the land we call home.
In its short history, Vancouver has generated some world famous environmentalists such as Bill Rees who developed the notion of ecological footprinting; David Suzuki, who enjoys international respect and celebrity as an environmental advocate; and the founders of Greenpeace who began their activism in Vancouver some x years ago.
Given this location and heritage it is fitting that Vancouver take a lead in moving its visitor "industry" towards a more sustainable path and explore ways of growing in value but not in environmental cost...
Vancouver is not sustainable yet - we are using up more resources than can be replenished and are responsible for a significant share of British Columbia's greenhouse gases. But we are trying and this site is about our successes and our failures, our struggles and our triumphs.
We have committed ourselves to strive towards an ambitious target - to play our part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 33% from 2000 levels by 2020. These are the goals set by the government and tourism must play its part even though the challenge is a tough one - well over half of CO2 emissions associated with tourism are generated by visitors in the act of moving from their home to destination. Aircraft have few immediate alternatives to the jet engine that burns kerosene so a wide range of reduction measures will be needed across all members of the tourism community.
In less than 600 days, the Olympic flag will be flying high in Vancouver and the world's attention will be focused our way. By February 2010, this site will be replete with fascinating stories - tales of the struggle to shift to a lower carbon economy; yarns about what worked and didn't, memories of pioneers and heroes who stepped out front and showed the way.
Whose Site is It Anyway?
This site belongs to the people of Vancouver who call it home and the visitors who come to share its magic - albeit briefly. The stories presented here are theirs. They have been researched and assembled by our in house Green Team - members of Tourism Vancouver who started by ensuring that we put our own house in responsible, sustainable order and then set out to show and tell what was happening throughout the larger community.