Our Mission

The mission of the Qualicum Institute is to help establish ecologically, socially, and economically sustainable communities in the Regional District of Nanaimo specifically and Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands in general. The Institute and its supporters understand that humans are dependent on Nature, its biodiversity, and the ecosystem services it provides. To be sustainable, we must plan and function within the physical and ecological limits of natural systems. If we do so, we believe that healthy, just, and economically stable communities can provide a high quality of life for us all.

Our mission also includes:

  1. educating citizens on the principles and practices of sustainable development by providing instructional seminars, workshops, and science-based lectures and publications
  2. promoting the preservation of regional biodiversity as the foundation of a healthy economy and social well-being by providing technical and scientific advice to municipal and regional governments on policy matters related to sustainability and sustainable development
  3. conducting research into community sustainable development policies and practices and publishing the results of that research for the benefit of community decision-makers
  4. working with like-minded organizations to achieve the purpose of the society

The word “sustainability” has become a “motherhood statement;” that is, it is the general consensus that it is a good thing, whatever sustainability means. It is, apparently, something humanity should strive for. As a result, we find the word used regularly by politicians and business people in government and corporate reports and advertisements whether or not the true meaning of the word applies. Most often it doesn’t.

We have sustainable housing, sustainable communities, sustainable development, sustainable economy, and our favorite: sustainable growth. But what do these words really mean. And what do we have to understand about true sustainability if we want to move in that direction?

This web site is our attempt to explain the science-based ground rules for the sustainability game. Unfortunately, it isn’t simply a game. We have but two choices: either to be sustainable or not. Currently, we’re choosing not. And by definition, that does not bode well for humanity.

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