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Guy Dauncey, Editor
395 Conway Road, Victoria, BC
CANADA V9E 2B9
Tel (250) 881-1304
www.earthfuture.com

Executive director of The Solutions Project

 

Newsletter No. 90 - Serving the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island - Jan. 2000


AN EXTRAORDINARY THRESHOLD

All over the world, as we enter this new era, millions of people are carrying a tremendous burden of hope, yearning and prayerful intention into the new millennium.

The possibilities are tremendous - but never have we been so aware that for all the wonders of the scientific and industrial revolutions, when it comes to planet-care, we have almost blown it.

The Arctic ice-sheet, 2 - 3 metres thick, is thought to be two million years old. Yet four weeks ago, Norwegian scientists reported that in the last 30 years it has lost 40% of its thickness, and it is losing width at 7% per decade, due (the scientists agree) to global warming. If this continues, by 2050 there will be no summer ice-sheet left at all. Our grandchildren will be able to kayak to the north pole - but there will be no polar bears to see them do it.

And there's more.....

"In the past half century, the world has lost a fourth of its topsoil and a quarter of its forest cover. At present rates of destruction, we will lose 70% of the world's coral reefs in our lifetime, host to 25% of marine life. In the past three decades, one third of the planet's resources, its 'natural wealth', has been consumed. We are losing freshwater ecosystems at the rate of 6% a year, marine ecosystems by 4% a year. There is no longer any serious scientific dispute that the decline in every living system in the world is reaching such levels that an increasing number of them are starting to lose (....) their assured ability to sustain the continuity of the life process. We have reached an extraordinary threshold." (from Natural Capitalism by Paul Hawken & Amory & Hunter Lovins)

The opening of the new millennium comes at a time when we know beyond all shadow of doubt that we cannot continue down the path we have been following. The struggle to protect the Great Bear Rainforest, the campaign to save the marmot, the efforts to restore damaged creeks and rivers, the protests in Seattle to stop the World Trade Organization from imposing its ideology of corporate profit on the rest of the world - these are all expressions of a deep instinctive desire to turn things around, to lead the world in a different direction.

So let us advance to the year 2100, when we are celebrating the achievements of the 21st century. What are we are truly proud of ?

* All over the Island, forests are being managed according to ecological principles, to recover their oldgrowth characteristics. The forest industry is alive and well, selling eco-certified forest products to the world. 70% of the timber leaves the Island as locally crafted furniture and pre-manufactured homes.

* British Columbia has become a global centre for the manufacture and export of tidal turbines, generating renewable energy from the flow of the tides, assembled in high-tech eco-industrial parks in Nanaimo and Campbell River.

* The Island generates eight times more energy than it needs from a mixture of wind turbines, tidal turbines, solarvoltaic shingles on every roof and hydrogen fuel cells in every wall and every car. The surplus energy is exported to the USA as electricity and shipped around the world as hydrogen. The world as a whole ceased burning fossil fuels by 2030.

* The Island has become renowned for its ecotourism. Visitors come from all over the world to hike the network of forest and wilderness trails, and cycle the Island's greenways, enjoying overnight stays in cosy lodges, forest villages and prosperous First Nations settlements.

* With the hunting of bears, wolves, cougars and elk being an ancient memory, the fear which used to exist between humans and wild animals has disappeared.

* Our urban settlements have become renowned for their neighbourhood designs, their lively arts and culture, their transit systems, bikeways and car-free streets, their parks, their urban farms, and the greenbelts that surround them. The sprawl that many feared was halted in 2010 by the Sustainable Communities Act.

* All of the Island's farms are now managed organically, including hobby farms and smallholdings.

* Poverty and unemployment have been eliminated through a mixture of community-based economic development, the 30-hour week, and country-wide widespread commitment to personal fulfilment as a fundamental human right.

* After a precipitous decline in the early years of the century, the orcas, grey whales and sea otters have returned to their pre-industrial populations in local waters.

And so much more. Taken together, our efforts are like drops of dew that slowly accumulate in the soul of the world, hastening the day when the entire Earth, with all its peoples and creatures, will enjoy harmony and fulfilment.

Guy Dauncey


Please note:  the Green Diary has moved, click here to view.


ECONEWS

Published as a monthly service, nourishing the vision of an Island blessed by the harmony of nature and community, funded by your donations.AG00119_.gif (2913 bytes)

  Nov. Dec. Jan.
Circulation: 2300 2250 2250
By Email: 475 511 523
Print & Post: $997 $985 $935
Editorial: $200 $200 $200
Donations: $650 $2893 ???
Advertising: $125 $125
Balance: $1137 $2870
Green Dollars: 210 unchanged

Many thanks to Wendy Parker, Colin Graham, Stuart Wulff, Judith Carder, David Stott, Gordon Stewart, Miyo Stevens, Frank Hovenden, Ruth Masters, Maria Kruberg, Sue Wheeler, Paul & Virginia Gareau, Laura Young-Graves, Ron Sutherland, Elizabeth Woods, Rachel Coward, Andrea Gleichauf, Helga Naguib, Thelma MacMurchie, Kathleen Kyle, Pat Kahr, Nina Raginsky, Kate Stevens, Shivon Robinsong, Vera Calhoun, Andrew Glen, Ken Wardroper, Timothy O'Brien, Olive Boorman, Kathleen Stewart, Haggis Farm, Marnie Phillips, Ed & Jean Mackenzie, Martha Warnes, Dean Fortin, Noel Taylor, Susan Draper, James Holtz, Gil Parker, Seymour Treiger, Lois Marcoux, Roger Colwill, Kornelia Meszaros, John Wight, Anne Gower, E. Kenwood, Sonya Kofler, Elizabeth White, Barbara Houston, Peter Schofield, Sherri Hohert, Monica Oldham, Mel Moilliet, Roger Yorke-Edwards, Deryck Thompson, Janet & Nelson Meadows, Pat Henderson, Jan Zwicky, Joanna Wilkinson, Monica Ashwell, James Whiteaker, Christine Scotnicki, Lena Fung, Lauren Dake, Pauline Keneally, Pamela Aloni, Gordon Squire, Society of Friends, Sheila Irving, Elke Schlufter, Walter Reigel, Paula Khan, Barbara Graves, Hal Knight, Sharon Hooper, Mary Hughes, Ray Travers, David Rothkop, Heather McAndrew, Robin Jones, Marilyn Thaden Dexter, Richard Atwood, Elizabeth Gibson, UVic Faculty of Law, UVic Centre Study of Science and Religion, Al Craighead, Don Shaw, Mallory Pred Jones, Shards Glass Studio, Freda Milburn, Felix Lion, Gregg Meiklejohn, Tom Read, Cecily Davidson, Anne Leathem, Nancy Turner, Taannia Dancer & Marya Nyland. A BIG THANKYOU TO YOU ALL !

* Donations can be made to EcoNews, 395 Conway Rd, Victoria V8X 3X1. For receipt, please include a stamped addressed envelope.


THE ECO-PERSONALS

* Wanted: Home in country in exchange for work or low rent, for nature lover and biologist with vision to save endangered wild places. Jessica 480-5257

* Need volunteers ? Hoping to volunteer ? The Society for Conservation Biology has opened a web site on the Victoria Green Pages linking environmental organizations with Victoria's youth. Organizations can fill in a form and young people can respond.www.greenpages.victoria.bc.ca/volunteer/ or Debbie Chan 363-8560.

* The Carmanah Forestry Society needs data input and membership phone person; can trade $1200 tuition credits for 150 hours work, to be completed by March. Syd 381-1141 carmanah@pacificcoast.net

* Comfortable beautiful home, 2 bedrooms and studio/workroom on 2 acres on Hornby Island, for rent February to June to an individual or two seeking privacy and solitude. Please call 250-335-2890

* Reach for Unbleached! Bulk Office Paper Buying Club will place its 7th bulk order of chlorine free, high recycled content copy paper on Jan 15th. $56/box (5000 sheets, 81/2 x 11), plus tax, delivery. (604) 879-2992 info@rfu.org

* Old cedar shingles, good for kindling, Cadboro Bay area. Call Ann, 472-9438

* Recent Permaculture Design graduate (Linnaea Farm, Cortes) eager to work with others free of charge to develop biological whole-systems designs for urban, commercial or rural sites. Sean, 721-1835


TAX-SHIFTING

The BC government recently put out a paper on ecological tax shifting, and is inviting comments. An enthusiastic response from citizens will make this "big picture" tool more attractive to government. The Green Tax Shift Discussion Paper is at www.env.gov.bc.ca - click on 'What's New'


THE SUN IS EFFICIENT

Terrestrial solar cell efficiency has taken a giant leap forward, converting a record 32.3% of the sun's energy into useable power, doubling current efficiency ratings. The milestone was reached by scientists at Spectrolab, a unit of Hughes Electronics Corp, and the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The new technology is called 'triple-junction gallium-indium-phosphide on gallium arsenide on germanium concentrator solar cell'. By doubling the power generating efficiency of the cell, the size of the solar ray collection system is reduced in half. Fewer cells are required, so concentrator systems can afford the slightly higher cost of high-efficiency multi-junction cells, yet still be manufactured at a lower cost compared to traditional solar cells. (Environmental News Network). With current solar technology, enough solar radiation falls on a 100 sq kilometer circle of Nevada to supply the entire US electricity needs. That's fine, you say, but BC is cloudy and wet ! Germany, at the same latitude, is a leader in the solar revolution, thanks to its higher fuel prices and its progressive policies and tax-breaks - and if Germany can do it, so can Canada.


and the Moon is feminine....

The shortest day

of the last year

of the 20th century

was graced by

the brightest moon

of the last 133 years

(and all our lifetimes).

Gil Friend


NO HASSLES IN HASSELT !

68,000 people live in the Belgium town of Hasselt; another 200,000 people commute in and out every day. Faced with rising debt and traffic congestion, the mayor decided to abandon plans to build a third ring road around the town. Instead, he closed one of the two existing ring roads, planted trees in its place, laid more pedestrian walkways and cycle tracks, increased the frequency and quality of the bus service, and announced that public transport would be free of charge. A year later the use of public transport has increased by a staggering 800%. The merchants are happy because business has increased; there are fewer accidents, fewer road casualties and there has been an increase in social activity. The same day that the town made the buses free, they also slashed local taxes - the habitants of Hasselt are now paying less than they were 10 years ago. More people are attracted to Hasselt because it is easier to get there, and the extra income has reduced the local taxes. One of the reasons the measure was adopted was a shortage of funds - the city did not have enough money to expand its roads. Free buses were a cheaper alternative, and it worked. The city had been slowly losing population, but since the new measures were adopted, the population has been rising 25 times faster than it was shrinking. Hasselt has been showered with international awards and prizes for the innovative way it has tackled congestion and pollution. (via CNN)


THE BUSINESS OF GOOD FORESTRY

Tofino has become the first municipality in Canada to pass a "good wood" purchasing policy, stating a preference to buy wood from forests that have been independently certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, an international coalition of environmental, social and business groups. The by-law allows Tofino to pay up to 10% more for wood products carrying the FSC label.

Back in September, Home Depot, which has 48 stores in Canada and sells 10% of the world's timber supply, made a similar commitment. Here's what CEO Arthur Blank said in his keynote speech: "Our pledge to our customers, associates and stockholders is that Home Depot will stop selling wood products from environmentally sensitive areas. Home Depot embraces its responsibility as a global leader to help protect endangered forests. By the end of 2002, we will eliminate from our stores wood from endangered areas -- including certain lauan, redwood and cedar products -- and give preference to 'certified' wood. We are asking our vendors to help us by dramatically increasing the supply of certified forest products." So far, 1% of the world's wood has been certified. A 1998 survey showed that 74% of British Columbians would pay more for eco-certified timber or paper. Home Depot's decision came after a lengthy campaign in which forest activists rotated weekly protest actions outside Home Depot stores across North America.


Mediated agreements save time, money

and personal relationships

PATRICIA LANE

Lawyer*, Chartered Mediator

598-3992

* Law corporation


MALL-ENDIUM ?

In January, 1999, Norway banned the construction or expansion of shopping malls larger than 33,000 square feet, for five years. The ban applies to malls in areas where customers would have to drive to get to them, in a bid to limit pollution and revitalize the downtowns of existing towns and cities.


THE VICTORIA-ACTION LIST

Want to keep in touch with events and actions happening in Victoria during the month, after EcoNews has been printed ? Then sign up for the Victoria-Action List, which you can find at the Victoria Green Pages site (www.greenpages.victoria.bc.ca) It's the coolest place for the hottest action ! The Green Pages also has photos from recent demos, such as the pre-Christmas anti-fur trade funeral procession, and the protest against the commercial seal hunt. If anyone has Seattle/WTO photos they'd like to display, email Dave Shishkoff.


EARTH DAY 2000

Saturday April 22nd

A day to celebrate,

and to ensure that this new century

is a century of healing and

ecological restoration.

To help, call Roy, 360-2095


DECLARATION OF INTERDEPENDENCE

by David Suzuki

THIS WE KNOW

We are the earth, through the plants and animals that nourish us. We are the rains and the oceans that flow through our veins. We are the breath of the forests of the land, and the plants of the sea. We are human animals, related to all other life as descendants of the firstborn cell. We share with these kin a common history, written in our genes. We share a common present, filled with uncertainty. And we share a common future, as yet untold.

We humans are but one of thirty million species weaving the thin layer of life enveloping the world. The stability of communities of living things depends upon this diversity. Linked in that web, we are interconnected -- using, cleansing, sharing and replenishing the fundamental elements of life. Our home, planet Earth, is finite: all life shares its resources and the energy from the sun, and therefore has limits to growth. For the first time, we have touched those limits. When we compromise the air, the water, the soil, and the variety of life, we steal from the endless future to serve the fleeting present.

THIS WE BELIEVE

Humans have become so numerous and our tools so powerful that we have driven fellow creatures to extinction, dammed the great rivers, torn down ancient forests, poisoned the earth, rain and wind, and ripped holes in the sky. Our science has brought pain as well as joy: our comfort is paid for by the suffering of millions. We are learning from our mistakes, we are mourning our vanished kind, and we now build a new politics of hope. We respect and uphold the absolute need for clean air, water, and soil. We see that economic activities that benefit the few while shrinking the inheritance of many are wrong. And since environmental degradation erodes biological capital forever, full ecological and social costs must enter all equations of development. We are one brief generation in the long march of time; the future is not ours to erase. So where knowledge is limited, we will remember all those who will walk after us, and err on the side of caution.

THIS WE RESOLVE

All this that we know and believe must now become the foundation of the way we live. At this turning point in our relationship with earth, we work for an evolution: from dominance to partnership; from fragmentation to connection; from insecurity to interdependence.

www.davidsuzuki.org


ACTION OF THE MONTH

LET'S END THE HUNTING
OF GRIZZLY BEARS

They say there are plenty of grizzly bears in British Columbia. They say the Ministry is carefully monitoring their numbers, and that scientific methods are being applied. Therefore, the legal harvesting by hunters will continue.

What are these awful words - "scientific", and "harvesting" ? What has happened to our humanity, when we are expected to feel no difference between a forest and a grizzly bear ? The people in the Ministry say this is an "ethical" argument, and that anyone who opposes the shooting of grizzly bears should also stop eating meat and using leather.

It is true - these are ethical issues. Every decision to kill or abuse a creature is one of ethics. As a culture, we are racked with inconsistency. We abhor cruelty to dogs, yet we tolerate the killing of seals, wolves, foxes and other fur-bearing animals, often after painful suffering. We also kill and eat sheep, cows, chickens, turkeys and octopi, while shutting out our knowledge of the pain involved.

I write as a vegetarian of 30 years, but since when has a meat-eater lost the right to say "no" to the hunting and killing of grizzly bears - or any bears - which are not killed to eat, but solely for the thrill of killing ? A hunter who can pay $2,500 for a trophy kill is not exactly short of food.

A hundred years ago, we used to lock up mentally ill people in lunatic asylums and take Sunday outings to stare at them. Two hundred years ago, we used to take women who were psychically sensitive from their homes and burn them at the stake. Three hundred years ago, we used to hang children for stealing. For each of these, we now feel ashamed.

We have entered a whole new century. Do we truly believe that in a hundred years time, we will still be allowing people to indulge their egos or their fantasies by shooting bears for pleasure ? The idea is ludicrous. So let us end it, now and forever. This IS an ethical issue - and it is ethically awful.

ACTION : If you agree, write to David Anderson, Minister of Environment, House of Commons, Ottawa K1A 0A6, and Joan Sawicki, Minister of Environment, Legislative Assembly, Victoria V8V 1X4, appealing to them to ban the hunting of grizzly bears, now and forever.


Check out the Victoria Green Pages !

www.greenpages.victoria.bc.ca


Deadline for February 2000: January 24th


The Green Diary has moved!  Click HERE to see whats happening!

 


NOTICE

EcoNews provides this electronic version of the newsletter free of charge even though it costs time and money to produce. Please feel free to repost. You can help by making a donation, whether $5 or $100, to:

EcoNews, 395 Conway Road, Victoria V8X 3X1, Canada. Thanks !

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Click here for previous issues of EcoNews.


EcoNews, Guy Dauncey
395 Conway Road, Victoria V8X 3X1
Tel/Fax (250) 881-1304

Sustainable Communities Consultancy

Author of 'After the Crash : The Emergence of the Rainbow Economy'
(Greenprint, London, 1988. 3rd edition 1997)

Now Available!
'Earthfuture : Stories from a Sustainable World'
(New Society Publishers, November 1999)
An ecofictional novel

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