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Christianne Wilhelmson wants politicians to take bolder steps toward a future in balance with nature

As part of the Tar Sands Reporting Project on Kickstarter, The Vancouver Observer asked supporters of the project what their vision of the energy future looks like. Georgia Strait Alliance executive director Christianne Wilhelmson says the energy future is about living slower and seeing environmental protection as part of economic growth, not in opposition to it. 

As the executive director of the Georgia Strait Alliance, a citizen's group dedicated to protecting the coastal waters of the Strait of Georgia, Christianne Wilhelmson thinks a lot about how to build an energy bridge to the future.   

And she thinks a sustainable future depends on all of us being bolder today.

"Everyone is afraid of change," she said. 

"It's up to us as individuals, as voters, as members of society to push industry and government to move in a different direction," she said.

But a truly sustainable future would require not only advancements in technology.  It depends on Canadians leading a slower, more balanced lifestyle that is in tune with nature. 

"We want things fast, and we want them now," Wilhelmson said. "And anything that is inconvenient, we don't want it.

"Eventually, we will have vehicles that don't come at a big environmental cost. But there has to be an across-the-board understanding that we have to live in tune with nature and build economies in balance with nature."

The best option for sustainability is to build cities in a way that people don't have to drive very much. 

"You'd hope that in the future, we will have built our cities in such a way that people aren't so reliant on driving. You really want the idea of working and living in the same place," she said. 

But for these big changes to happen, she said, leaders  must  take bold steps, and so far she hasn't been seeing much sign of that in Canada's political landscape.

When politicians say, 'Yes, the environment is important, but --- ' it means they still haven't understood that things are out of balance now."

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As part of the Tar Sands Reporting Project , The Vancouver Observer asks supporters to share their thoughts on how to build an energy bridge to the future.
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