Environmentalist Rex Weyler calls on Vancouver to "localize"

Imagine a landmass 390 times the size of the city of Vancouver. That’s the “biocapacity” required to sustain Vancouver’s ecological footprint, according to local environmentalist Rex Weyler.

The Greenpeace International cofounder is set to give a presentation to city council on Tuesday (October 20) calling for the city to make a dramatic shift toward the local production of food and energy, and to put public transit over “car culture”.

“What I am talking about is large-scale planetary overshoot,” Weyler told the Straight in a phone interview. “That being the human use of all planetary resources beyond the capacity of the planet to sustain them.”

Weyler, a member of the Vancouver Peak Oil Executive, a group concerned about the impact of oil depletion, said he has decided to address the Vision-dominated council because he believes “that they sincerely want to do what they can to make Vancouver a sustainable community”.

Weyler said his numbers are based on the research of Bill Rees, the UBC professor who came up with the ecological footprint concept.

“A lot of my solutions fall under the category ”˜localize’,” Weyler added. “In other words, forget relying on global economics for our survival. In the future, what we need to do is focus our community on localization.”

On Monday (October 19), Weyler will moderate a panel discussion featuring Rees and others in Room 700 at SFU Harbour Centre, starting at 7 p.m.




Oct 15, 2009 at 8:36am

"Imagine a landmass 390 times the size of the city of Vancouver."

Very well. Now suppose that a similar calculation is done for every metropolitan area, and for every medium sized city and smaller town or village across the nation. What's the total area involved? Suppose a similar calculation is done for all the world's urban areas, large and small. What's the total landmass involved?

Estimates like this remind me of studies done for particular industries, which claim that their direct and indirect employment impacts add up to x% of the economy. There's just one problem. If you added up the estimates provided by a half dozen or so industry groups, you'd end up with more than 100% of the total economy.

Rod Smelser


Oct 15, 2009 at 8:59am

Yes!! It isn't just a dream - we've survived locally before and we can do it again. We were creating a lot less damage to our environment before someone thought we needed progress and development. I've said it a million times - on the prairies you can only have so many animals per square acre - and I am so glad to hear someone actually putting to the powers that be.


Dec 14, 2010 at 11:10am

@Burrows: A landmass is a (usually named) chunk of land that has MASS. You know - stuff; it's heavy. Get out your dictionary, and look up AREA. Then hire an editor.

@Zany: What's a square acre? Is that a leftard unit of area?
Saying it a million times doesn't make it so.