Saturday Nov. 1 1pm – 4pm Invite to all Highlanders Meet and Greet at the Eco-Sense Home.
3295 Compton Rd, off Munn Rd – East Highlands
We really want the opportunity to meet Highlands residents. If you have always been curious as to who we are, what we do, and/or if you just want to come and express your thoughts and concerns… we want to meet you. We really do! (Or if you are just so curious as to what the greenest modern home in the world looks like).
Who are Ann and Gord
Integrating Business, Science, Ethics, Ecology and Passion
Many Highlanders may recognize Gord and Ann from 9 years of media coverage documenting their adventures creating the Eco-Sense homestead in the District of Highlands. Or they may recognize Ann and Gord from the full size road side “campaign” sign which we borrowed from the 2008 Royal BC Museum exhibit.
The Eco-Sense home has gained international acclaim for it’s environmental achievements in green building and for their leadership role inspiring a greener local lifestyle. Click here for a link to some of their media coverage. (Harrowsmith, Canadian Geographic, USA today, Japanese magazine Sotokoto, TV, CNN, CBC radio, Sierra Magazine, West Shore TV Video, and various documentaries). The Eco-Sense home is also listed as one of the heritage sites in the Highlands Heritage report.
Platform – We will work towards:
Innovative water resource management strategies
Effective and efficient Bylaw enforcement
Strengthening community (and regional) resilience
Identifying & Sewing up holes in the Municipal wallet (identifying and reducing leakage)
Secondary housing (suites or dwellings) with conditions
Promoting better communications between Mayor, Council, Staff and Public
Ann and Gord live a 3-Thirds lifestyle where they work 1/3 of the time for income, 1/3 volunteer, and 1/3 following their own passions. They talk about their Eco-Sense life in the short informative video taped by West Shore TV.
Income: Ann and Gord make their financial living doing tours of the Eco-Sense homestead, speaking engagements, technical systems consulting, teaching, policy and building science research work, workshops, and a home based farm business propagating perennial edible plants.
Volunteer Work in the Highlands:
- Building the cob bathroom at Eagles Lake. (400 volunteer hours – yup we are crazy)
- Gord has served 6 years on the Highlands Stewardship Foundation (HSF) and 4 years as the secretary.
- Ann has served 6 years on the HSF and 4 years as the treasurer and handled many of the finances for the Save Mary Lake project.
- Information booths at the Highlands fling (2011 Eco-Sense table & 2013 – local food, nutrition, and fermentation demo)
- Gord has been involved for the last 3 years with pruning of the apple orchard at the Celeb Pike Heritage park and has volunteered his time for pressing the apples for the apple cider at the Highlands Winter Craft fair.
- Ann served on the council appointed Highlands Sustainability Task Force (STF) for two years and the Sustainability Strategy Advisory Committee (SSAC) for another two years. These groups produced the Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP) which was fully integrated into the Highlands Official Community Plan (OCP) in 2013.
- Various presentations to council and community groups and tours regarding sustainability related projects.
Personal Passions: Both Gord and Ann are passionate about creating a more resilient local community where water, food, our community, and our environment are nurtured and enhanced. Sustaining the current degradation pathway of our culture is no longer good enough. We believe in regenerative design. Our changing climate, loss of habitat, toxic contamination, and excessive resource extraction means we are rapidly losing the integrity of our water and food systems – ecological systems are collapsing. We believe we can do better.
Education and notables:
- BA – Experimental Psychology – SFU (with business accounting background)
- Prior – Owner of Advance Collision Ltd
- Prior – Chair of Western Canadian ACOAT (collision repair industry business group)- Position held 3 years
- Prior – Chair of South Island ARA (Automotive Retailers Association) – position held 4 years
- Only person single handedly to have ever brought ICBC and private insurers in BC together – to moderate streamlining the auto insurance business within the province.
- Volunteer activities outside Highlands – Lifecycles, ASRi (Alternative Solutions Resource initiative, Welland Orchard park composting toilet (View Royal), BCSEA (BC Sustainable Energy Association)
- Living Building Challenge petal recognition – Strictest green building rating system internationally.
- Consulting and design – Green building and sustainable systems (Rain water, Grey water, Living roof, Solar PV, Solar thermal, heating systems, Earthen architecture).
- Research – building science (thermodynamics, vapour, moisture earthen architecture), energy systems
- Hands On – rain water harvesting, rain water filtration, grey water, conventional construction, fine cabinetry
- Teaching/public speaking – Permaculture, Rain Water Harvesting, Grey Water, Solar PV, Solar Thermal, Building code, Sustainable living
- Tours – for engineers, public schools, universities and college trades and tech, Bankers, Church groups, international students, PDC students, municipal staff
- Perennial Food Plant Nursery – focused on 200 varieties of food plants from nut trees, fruits, tubers – agroferestry/food forest systems. Link to current plant list
Gord’s Interests and Philosophies:
With the advent of climate change and an economic paradigm shift away from fossil fuels, my focus has been to re-learn lost skills, become fluent in all aspects of sustainability and resiliency and pass these onto my two children. Now, that is a pretty broad statement, and may be better explained as always thinking “How would we… if we didn’t have…” and then try and do it. It has served myself and others well as I teach them through my successes and failures.
Surprisingly there is a common theme in answer to this question of “How would we…?” – again and again the theme focuses on a local strategy; stronger resilient community, healthy and divers food producing ecosystems, diverse demographics of ages and skills, and all revolves around the immediate place in where we live.
I am a technology geek that integrates otherwise stand-alone systems into integrated systems, where solar PV, rain water harvesting, solar thermal, greywater and food systems interconnect. The challenge is not the integration, but doing so in the least complex manner, exemplified by the quote from a french writer “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away”. Perhaps my role on counsel is to remove the politics as best I can and simplify an overly complex system that trips over its own feet.
- 1985 High school graduation with honours and 2 years of university scholarships for Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics
- 1990 SFU Bachelor of Science (Biology) completing 5 work practicums
- 1997 Canadian Securities Course (Stock broker course)
Ann’s Work History:
- 1990-1997 Various biology positions. (UBC Department Of Medicine, Research assistant – respiratory medicine (pipetted lots of radioactive materials…explains a lot). Agricultural Canada, Summerland Research Station – Entomology Technician (studied lepidopteran parasites in apple orchards). City of Port Coquitlam – Vector Control Technician (mosquito, rodent, and structural pest control). Health and Welfare Canada, Burnaby Health Protection Branch – Food Microbiology technician. Applied Mammal Research, field technician for various BC forestry projects (put a lot of tags in ears). Burnaby School Board, high school science lab technician.
- 1996 – 2000 EPS Electronic Publishing solutions – Owner/Financial manager, Apple computer business.
- 1998-2000 Wise Information Systems – Owner/financial manager/computer service department manager.
- 2000-2002 Retired and living off-the-grid in the gulf Islands.
- 2002- 2005 The Growing Circle Food Co-op, Financial manager for multi-stakeholder local food co-op on Salt Spring Island, (met a lot of organic farmers).
- 2003-2005 Moonstruck Organic Cheese (SSI) – year end bookkeeper (worked for cheese).
- 2003-2006 Saanich Gulf Island Federal Green Party Riding (pre Elizabeth May), Financial Agent (small honorarium).
- 2009-2010 WeGoSolar, bookkeeper.
- 2010- 2013 Island Gals Magazine: Wrote 10 articles related to sustainable living. Link here
- 2005-2014 Eco-Sense Living
Ann’s Personal Philosophies: I believe my diverse background in science and business give me a unique perspective to inform my decision making. I believe that one of my strengths is to consider many aspects of a complex interconnected system simultaneously. I take time to ponder important decisions and when new information presents itself, I readily incorporate this into the mix. Information is the primary driver of my opinions and I can let old ideas go…at least this is what I aim for. (stop laughing Gord). I am also particularly good at financial management involving trimming “leakage” and increasing efficiencies.
Over the past 10 years we have integrated the 5 capitals model as a decision making tools in our life. The capitals are: Financial, Natural, Human (Educational, experiential), Social (cultural, spiritual, social), Manufactured. All capital ultimately comes from Nature; if we draw down natures fixed assets for short term financial gain, how are we going to finance our retirement, the livelihoods of future generations or repair damaged infrastructure? We need to protect natural capital and live off of the “Interest Income” of natures capital. For this reason, protecting natural capital is my primary concern locally and globally.
Things we believe:
- We believe in the guiding statement from the Highlands Integrated Sustainability Plan (ICSP). “Sustainability, in the context of the Highlands municipality and community, is defined as meeting the needs of the present community without compromising the ability of future generations to meet the same needs, and without degrading the functioning of local to global ecosystems as a result of resource use within the Highlands.”
- We believe we all have a right to fresh clean water
- We believe we all have a right to affordable healthy food and shelter
- We believe that nature has a right to exist and thrive
- We believe that the community that inhabits the land should be able to determine what happens on the land.
- We believe that people should have more rights than corporations.
- We believe that the climate is changing rapidly and we need to adapt
- We believe that our global economic system is very fragile and we need to adapt by co-creating regional local economies to provide for our needs.
- We believe in abundant local food
Gord Baird, Financial Agent – firstname.lastname@example.org
Ann Baird, Financial Agent – email@example.com