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Speaker talks transition to a resilient economy

Vancouver author Michael Lewis to present ideas for change
Chris Bolster

A speaker from Vancouver will give a talk and workshop about how places like Powell River can meet the challenges of a changing global economy.

Michael Lewis is the current executive director for the Canadian Centre for Community Renewal in Vancouver, and his research on the links between charities, co-operatives, non-profit groups and the economy is widely known and often cited by researchers.

His research goes back to when he started community organizing at 17 when he was hired by the United Church to work in Alert Bay, BC. He received his undergraduate degree in social work from the University of Calgary. Over the past 40 years he has worked to help communities develop and strengthen local economies.

His book, The Resilience Imperative, co-written with American Pat Conaty and published last July, addresses the shift from global economics to building robust, resilient local and regional markets. Lewis and Conaty wove together their experiences into a collection of stories about  how different places from Sweden to Latin America have made changes to become more sustainable.

“Economic growth as a concept is done,” he said.

Lewis lived in Port Alberni for several years, worked with forestry companies, watched how the industry’s decline affected the town and noted things that made the transition better.

His talk will describe how some regions have embraced changes to move them away from dependency on global economy and have become more self-reliant.

“The stories will be there and will be hopeful and concrete,” he said. “They won’t be a panacea, but they will help people see what is possible. We think that’s the first step. Once you can see the terrain more clearly, one can start to take innovations that are already underway and have proven themselves and think about how we can do that here.”

Lewis’s talk, called Reweaving our Local Economy in a Volatile Century, begins at 7 pm on Tuesday, April 16, at Cranberry Seniors’ Centre. Attendance is by a suggested $5 donation. The following morning, Lewis will be presenting a workshop on Financing Local Economic Transition. The cost of the workshop is $15 and space is limited. To reserve a seat, readers can contact Rob Southcott at 604.414.8910 or email