Talk Green to Us Ideas Slam at SFU imagines Vancouver's future as world's greenest city

The Talk Green To Us Ideas Slam last night at SFU pulled together talent like the CBC's Bill Richardson, Brad Cran, Vancouver's Poet Laureate (pictured here), Mayor Gregor Robertson, Musqueum Elder Larry Grant,  Assistant City Manager Sadhu Johnston, Vancity CEO Tamara Vrooman and a host of innovators. An enthusiastic crowd filled the theatre and the future of Vancouver as the world's greenest city seemed near.

Vancouver Poet Laureate Brad Cran reads a poem about the gray whale that explored False Creek and its impact on people at the City's Talk Green Idea Slam at SFU. Photo by Linda Solomon

 Larry Grant, Elder, Musqueam Nation, opened the Talk Green to Us Ideas Slam at SFU last night, telling stories that wove in and out of the Vancouver he knew as a boy, the wooded West End, the abundant streams filled with salmon throughout the city that "they covered over." 

"They looked at the trees and saw gold," this eloquent speaker, who teaches at UBC said, as Mayor Gregor Robertson, Brad Cran,the city's poet laureate, a panel of city business leaders and a packed SFU theatre listened. I felt like I'd fallen into a dream listening to him, following his words back through decades...and his soft and yet powerful critique of current culture. 

Larry Grant, Elder, Musqueam Nation, speaks below

There was once a stream filled with salmon in South False Creek.  What will we do now?  Build a building with a green roof, he asked.  A world lost, a world found.  There's no way to go back to the past, he said.  We can only go a short way into the past and then we must go forward.

It was a beautiful opening to a great evening.


Bill Richardson of the CBC joked about being the moderator for a political event when he was a radio personality that talked about opera.  Brad Cran wowed the audience with a poem he wrote earlier in the day about a gray whale in False Creek and its impact on its human neighbours.  Sadhu Johnston spoke of green initatives that worked in Chicago when he was employed by Mayor Daley to make the city more sustainable. 

This all took place last night at the Talk Green to US Ideas Slam, an entertaining, engaging evening of music, culture and civic involvement put on by the City.

And Vancity CEO Tamara Vrooman answered a question about community gardens, indicating that, in her view, gardens were scalable on just about every level.  There was a project proposed by Amy Walker, the publisher of Momentum Magazine, to create more bike infrastructure in the city that had the packed auditorium filled with applause and cheering.  And there was a project proposed to create zero waste in the city, a goal some of the panel viewed as impossible to achieve.  

Sadhu Johnston, Assistant City Manager, waves below


Helen Spiegleman, of Zero Waste, spoke to the need for reducing Vancouver's garbage production to nothing, pointing to a photograph from the days when dead horses in the streets of the city posed the worse problem and "repulsed" citizens into action.

Below: Vancity CEO Tamara Vrooman speaks to the beauty of gardens for building community

Swing dancers made use of public space...

As a group that's all about Vancouver Public Space handed out literature afterwards in the lobby, while, again, swing dancers enjoyed the...public space.

On the way in, I encountered an amazingly skilled juggler standing on a ball...

Photographs by Linda Solomon

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