This month we’re inspired to talk about deer-sharing, poetry-sharing, and money-sharing. The first source for this is the final PCT project for our second year. This is our film/DVD about “Youth & Elder Wisdom for a Brighter Future!” – now being edited by passionate filmmakers Joanne Green and David Ohnona. We began filming at the Pender Museum last fall, with keen historians Peter and Elizabeth Campbell answering questions from about 40 Pender kids. More than one asked about Pender “hunting” in the past.
We were fascinated to learn that garden fences here were often high enough to keep the cow out, but low enough to let the deer in. However, when a visiting deer was dispatched as a much-appreciated source of food, there was no electricity (until 1958 or so) and no refridgeration to keep the meat cool in summer. The solution was to share venison with grateful neighbours, who next month would likely share with you. We’re not advocating “open season” on deer, which is a complex issue for island ecosystems, and vegetarians! Rather, we`re wondering how to learn from past examples of living creatively and well, using much less energy and “stuff”, creating more local food, and sharing or trading what we do have.
There are other kinds of mutual sharing by Pender Elders that we were even more inspired to hear about. It was Barb Pender of South Pender (the family historian), who told our camera about fun, non-electric Pender evenings 100 years ago. These involved early residents not only spending a lot of their visiting time telling stories and making music, but also reading poems – written from their own hearts and spirits.
This might even involve a poem about a real blackberry, because people weren’t busy thumb-wrestling with an electronic one (useful as they are). Meanwhile if your homestead was near what’s now Poet’s Cove, some evenings you might also hear, over the water, the voices and songs of the First Nations people who came by boat to stay in tents, on land used for generations by their Tsawout, Tseycum, or other Elders.
Community spirit and connection is what we’re talking about… just as important to local resilience as key issues like energy, food growing, and economic relocalization. This leads to our final subject – money-sharing. Specifically, we mean creating a local currency to more effectively share our community’s amazing resources with each other, and to help build the capacity to meet more of our core needs right here.
In this case, the inspiration comes from the more recent past – Salt Spring 11 years ago. That’s when a group of our sister and brother islanders considered the many areas around the world who’ve created local currencies, and then this group created Salt Spring dollars (see www.saltspringdollars.com for more).
Imagine a Pender five dollar bill – e.g. a “Pender Five”? It could be legally issued and used with the same purchasing value as a Canadian five dollar bill, but only on Pender, as an ever-present reminder and vehicle for local buying and economic development. On Salt Spring, hundreds of local businesses, organizations, Chamber of Commerce members, and even the banks accept and give change in their local currency. It circulates at par, generally 3 times faster than regular dollars, and also creates funding for local community groups. One source of revenue is tourists who accept change in Salt Spring dollars, but then take it home as souvenirs!
Developing a local currency is one of several projects being considered by Pender Community Transition, as we head into our third year of existence and another grant application season. We invite you to see what we’ve been up to at www.pendercommunitytransition.ca, and then to give us feedback about what projects to cooperate on next, to create a more connected, Earth-friendly, and resilient Pender community.
We also invite you to mark the evening of Friday, June 15 on your calendar, which is the date for a brief PCT AGM and then the premiere of the Youth & Elder Film. The film is also about the incredible wisdom and inspiration that comes from our youngsters, with whom and for whom we are creating a brighter future!
Zorah Staar, PCT Coordinator