Meet AWARE donor and Vice President, John Rasmussen.
What is your favourite place in Whistler?
Off piste to the left of Seventh Heaven! I’m a snowboarder and that’s the best place for laps after a fresh dump of snow. I recently moved to Whistler from the UK with twin teenage sons after a couple of winter holidays here. My wife and I decided to move the family to Whistler from London to be immersed in mountain culture and have nature at our back door.
How do you support AWARE?
This spring, I joined the AWARE Board and will act as Vice President to become a voice for significant change in Whistler. Nonprofits like AWARE need to leverage expertise and knowledge from volunteers and I hope to help build awareness of AWARE’s work in the community and support its economic viability. AWARE needs to be at the forefront of every local’s mind with a more prominent position in our community.
What motivated you to contribute?
Initially, I was connected through my son who was involved in AWARE’s Zero Waste Heroes program, and was president of the EcoClub at Whistler Secondary School. I also wanted to have an impact and give back to this community at this stage of my career. Protecting the ecosystem in a resort community like Whistler is a critical undertaking for all who live and recreate here. Over the past 8 years, and drawing on 35 years in global commercial enterprise, my career has been focused in sustainability, climate mitigation and adaptation and I can see how the work AWARE does is so incredibly important – a constant voice to protect what we all love about this place.
What AWARE programs / work do you think community members need to know more about?
AWARE’s involvement with youth is so impactful since youth are the future. Developing and supporting programs for youth is key. Project NOW is AWARE’s youth mentorship program centered around climate action and engagement. AWARE staff also teach Zero Waste Education Workshops in schools across the corridor. We are all better citizens when we’re engaged and involved, and a commitment to understand and act on environmental issues needs to be encouraged at a young age.
What advice do you have to others who may consider making a donation or volunteering?
AWARE is really underfunded; particularly with the bold mission and priorities it has identified for Whistler. Every resident here should be conscious of how important climate change adaptation and mitigation are to a place like Whistler. A global issue with tragic consequences sits outside our front door. I feel strongly that every resident and visitor ought to feel involved and impacted enough to make some form of volunteer commitment or financial donation. AWARE is the only nonprofit specifically committed to protecting Whistler’s natural environment – speaking up for community members and taking action on environmental issues in your backyard. AWARE needs a louder voice and can’t scale up unless our community backs it. Every single person in this town should know about AWARE! For a community that is so dependent on nature and our environmental assets, AWARE’s impact should be exponentially larger.
AWARE’s work takes place on the shared, unceded territory of the Líḻwat7ul and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nations. We respect and commit to deep reflection and support of the history, culture, stewardship and voice of these first peoples.