[Sust-mar] Building Sustainable Regional Communities in Today’s World

Phil Ferraro adapt at pei.aibn.com
Wed Oct 3 09:11:23 EDT 2012

Building Sustainable Regional Communities in Today’s World

     Phil Ferraro and Nancy Willis, will be on their way to St George’s 
House, Windsor Castle this month, as invited guests to an international 
consultation entitled, ‘Building Sustainable Regional Communities in 
Today’s World.’
     The event will be held in the historic grounds of Windsor Castle. 
Gary McKeone, program director, St. George’s House said, “We are 
delighted that Mr Ferraro and Ms. Willis accepted our invitation. We 
very much look forward to welcoming them to Windsor Castle.”
     Juliet Fox, Future IQ Partners, and co-coordinator of the event, 
said, ‘Mr. Ferraro and Ms. Wills, will be attending as part of 35 
participants from around the world. They bring extensive background into 
the consultation as pioneers in sustainable community development, 
alternative technologies, social enterprise and ecological approaches to 
food production.’
     “We will be providing commentary and critiques on developing new 
regional economies, and finding creative ways to add value to 
traditional industries,” said Ferraro.  “The consultation will bring 
together selected renowned practitioners, decision makers, and academics 
from Europe, North America and Australia to explore ways local people 
can examine creating and sustaining the future of their own communities. 
The consultation will lead to key regional strategies and the 
publication of a White Paper. We are honoured to be a part of it.”
     According to Ferraro, the most successful businesses expected to 
prosper in the next decade, are those which emphasize collaboration with 
partners rather than simply competing with rivals.  “We are in a new, 
‘Age of Responsibility,’ he said.   He believes businesses need to look 
beyond making profit alone. “It is well accepted among analysts that the 
most successful businesses will be those that also contribute to a 
common purpose that benefits workers, community, the region, and the 
whole of mankind.”
     Ferraro and Willis operate the Institute for Bioregional Studies. 
Since 1995, the Institute has been presenting challenging ideas on 
regional economies and local self-reliance through presentations, 
workshops, and volunteer community forums.  In late 2011, Ferraro 
started a Facebook group, ‘Future PEI,’ which has over 600 active Island 
members.  Their website: www.ibspei.ca, includes copies of presentations 
they have made on Local Economy, Farm Conservation Communities, Land 
Trusts and Corporate Social Responsibility.
     This husband and wife team has a long history in community 
development, renewable energy and social enterprise. Willis was one of 
the original members of the New Alchemy Institute that built the Spry 
Point Ark.  At the time it was billed as, ‘An early exploration in the
weaving together of the sun, the wind and technology on behalf of 
humanity’, and opened by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.  In 1991, 
Ferraro introduced a series of social ecology courses at UPEI, long 
before they had an environmental studies program.  Together they started 
the Institute and have run courses on permaculture, green building and 
eco-city planning.
     After the Windsor Castle consultation Ferraro and Willis will tour 
regional economic development projects throughout the Netherlands. 
According to the couple, there are many similarities between PEI and the 
Netherlands in terms of weather, and major industries  of
agriculture and tourism. “We are looking forward to the trip and hope to 
bring back to Prince Edward Island examples that can help in building a 
vibrant regional economy, and sustainable social enterprises here at 
home,” said Willis.
     St George’s House was founded in 1966 by H.R.H. The Duke of 
Edinburgh and the then Dean of Windsor, Robin Woods, as a place where 
people of influence and responsibility in every area of society can come 
together to explore and communicate their views and analysis of
contemporary issues. “The Duke of Edinburgh believes that, since the 
College is hidden away within the Castle walls, it is particularly 
suitable to attract people in positions of leadership within government, 
industry, commerce and the churches as a place for discrete discussions 
of mutual and national interest,” said Fox.
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