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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. 93 - Serving the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island - Apr. 2000


LET’S PHASE OUT FOSSIL FUELS BY 2025

The news came in like any other email, quietly zipping its way into my computer, mixed in with reports from the terrible flooding in Mozambique and Madagascar.

"Earth’s Warming Speeds Up", it said, telling me that over the past 25 years, the speed of atmospheric warming had reached 0.5 degrees C per decade, which had not been predicted to happen so soon. The UK Hadley Centre now expects temperatures to rise by as much as 8C by 2100 over land masses like Europe, 2.5 degrees C more than they had previously predicted.

And then came another – new data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration which showed that between 1955 and 1995, the world ocean (Pacific, Atlantic and Indian) had warmed by an average 0.06 degrees C between the surface and 3000 meters. ""I've never seen anything like this before," said oceanographer Peter Rhines, of the University of Washington

Two months earlier, it had been the news from the Arctic : the USA and Russian submarines had published ice-data which showed that between the ‘60s and the ‘90s, the 2-3 metre thick Arctic ice-sheet had lost fully 40% of its thickness, and 6% of its width. All over the world, the glaciers are also melting.

How much more notice do we need ? The corals are dying from overheat; the salmon are retreating north; the rate of forest-fires is increasing.

The oil companies talk of another century of oil production. They must be kidding. Here’s how the "Carbon Maths" looks : every year, our cars, trucks, homes, factories and airplanes pump 6 billion tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere. In 33 years, we will have added another 200 billion tonnes – enough to increase the temperature by 2 degrees C, which many scientists consider the threshold for ecological catastrophe.

We have to stop now. The IPCC scientists say we need an immediate 50 - 70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, not the 5% - 6% that the Kyoto Accord calls for by 2012. We have to phase out all fossil fuels by the year 2025.

During the recent ‘Climates of Change’ Congress in Victoria, many speakers talked about the solutions, from China’s huge wind energy potential to Blue Energy’s tidal turbines, based in Vancouver (www.bluenergy.com). We heard about solar installations in Third World villages (www.self.org), and the recent breakthrough in the cultivation of algae which may lead to the photosynthetic production of clean hydrogen to power the hydrogen fuel cell revolution, to fuel our cars.

We heard how solar energy has fallen in price from $500/watt in 1972 to $3.50/watt today, and how an area of the Nevada desert 100 miles by 100 miles could produce enough solar electricity for the whole USA.

We heard how Denmark is producing 10% of its energy from wind, and plans to produce 50% by 2030 – and how globally, there is enough wind potential (including off-shore) to provide 8 times more wind energy than the world needs for a ‘steady state, sustainable’ lifestyle, requiring 475 quads (quadrillion btus) of renewable energy by 2025. (In energy terms, this involves reducing North America’s energy footprint by 50% through applied efficiency, plus 50% through sustainable lifestyle and transportation changes.

In just in case wind, solar and tidal are not enough, we can also add biomass, geothermal and micro-hydro energy to the menu.

But we need to start NOW, which is why the international theme for Earth Day 2000 is climate change, and its solutions (www.earthday.net). We need to halt all further subsidies, supports, licensing and road-building for oil and gas exploration. We need to stop all old-growth forest logging, since the old-growth forests (apart from anything else) store more carbon than second growth forests. We need to switch all of our farms to organic food production, since organic methods (apart from anything else) store more carbon in the soil than chemical farming.

Here in B.C., we have fantastic tidal and wind energy potential. We should not be planning to build gas-fired cogeneration plants on Vancouver Island, or anywhere. We should not be building any more new roads until a complete cycling and transit infrastructure is in place. And yes, we need higher gas prices, to teach us to cycle more, to buy more fuel-efficient vehicles, and to stop being so wasteful.

But most of all, we need to organize, at the community level. We need to make our voices heard in Victoria and in Ottawa. We need to take over the climate change agenda, and show how Canada can make the transition into the solar/hydrogen age. It was community organizing which led to Denmark’s wind success, not just technology.

Guy Dauncey

PS The full paper on this topic is at:
www.earthfuture.com/climatesofchange


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)

  Feb. Mar. Apr.
Circulation: 2250 2250 2250
By Email: 554 560 600
Print & Post: $932 $982 $942
Editorial: $200 $225 $250
Donations: $1127 $300 ???
Advertising: $245
Balance: $2667 $1871
Green Dollars: $210 $210 $210

Many thanks to Michael & Barbara Clague, David Wolsk, Peter Carillho, Lois Gardner, Pru Moore, Norm Healey, Lee Ann Jones, Doug Crow, Roger Colwill, Connie Mungall, Mark Whitear, Rosalie Beach, Mary-Wynne Ashford & Coke Pedersen.

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

To receive EcoNews by email, send a message to guydauncey@earthfuture.com


THE ECO-PERSONALS

* Tour Merve Wilkinson's diverse ancient forest, see eagles nesting, learn about ecoforestry. Call (250) 722-2292 or email toad@island.net for dates.

* Share home for summer or longer. 70 acres of forest, lake, ocean south of Nanaimo, ecoforester Merve Wilkinson's property. (250) 722-2292

* Office manager / bookkeeper seeks employment with environmentally/socially conscious small business. Gary, 360-0474

* Organic 2 acres in Metchosin - decent house, suite, outbuildings, deer fence, next to Wittys Lagoon Park $249,000 478-1453

* GM food – we are spending Saturday mornings leafletting grocery stores about genetically modified foods, and writing letters. To join us, call Moraia, 595-3538

* Smart Growth BC seeks full-time director, working to ensure that urban land use decisions are made on the basis of smart growth principles. $50k, deadline April 14th. See www.smartgrowth.bc.ca

* E-Team The Environment Youth Team is accepting applications until April 17th from businesses, non-profits, First Nations and government offices that would like to sponsor a project between May 2000 and March 2001. 1-877-BC-YOUTH

* "Vocal Potluck" featuring five of Victoria's finest performers - singers Anne Bateman, EcoNews mailout guy Michael Eckford, Norma Selwood, pianists Tony Booker & Toshiko Tampo. Arias, art songs, show tunes. Friday April 14, 8 pm First Baptist Church, 877 North Park Street, Victoria. 383-6011. By donation.

* Eco-woodlot thinnings, 1/2 cords. Peter, 652-2613

* Wanted urgently - odour-free place to rent, no cats or incense. Also needed - someone with good sense of smell to help me find it. Call 370-1613.

* Wanted – help with driving, typing & housework. Must be non-smoker, not use scented products or air-fresheners. $12 hour + gas. Call 370-1613

* Environmentally-ill Fairfield woman needs unscented worker who neither uses fabric softener nor shares laundry facilities with other users. Housework, errands; laundry at worker’s home ? Call 920-0036.

* Advert Rates : 1" ad $30. $2" ad $55. EcoPersonals by donation (or $5 line); free to non-profits and low-income. Inserts : $150 + 2 volunteers for mail-out party.


SPRING IS HERE !

All over Vancouver Island, people are enjoying the cherry blossoms, and marvelling at the symphony of wildflowers that fills our parks and woodlands. Here at our home on Conway Road, the turkey vultures have returned to nest, and the tree frogs are in full chorus all night. In just a day or two, the Garden Path Nursery will open for the season, and ten thousand seedlings will be pushing their way out of the greenhouse, ready to find good homes with organic growers all over the city.

April brings Earth Day, when we celebrate the depth of our love and concern for this Earth. Out there in space it is so dark and unfriendly – and yet we treat our Earth as if it were totally disposable, chucking our wastes and poisons into the air we breathe and the water we drink, which is shared by all the kindred species we share this Earth with. We really are the grossest kind of eco-slobs.

Earth Day celebrates our tiny efforts to adopt good housekeeping. It is essential, because our efforts are so small, and there is such a long way to go. So if you are free on Saturday April 22nd, please come and join us as we process from Centennial Square to the Leg. This year, there’s the added delight of an old-fashioned Fossil-Fuel Free Parade, followed by an afternoon of good speakers, good music, and good people. If you feel inspired to help with the mass of details that are involved in this kind of thing, call Roy (360-2095) or Lenora (598-4204). If you want to add your float to the parade, call Steve (480-7285). Anyone to help create an EcoNews float ? Call Guy (881-1304). We’ll see you there !


Cadboro Bay Chiropractic
Dr Barry Curran

2571 Penryhn St
477-1133

University / Gyro Park Area


TERMINATOR SEEDS STILL ALIVE

One of our biggest troubles is we can be awesomely clever, while hugely ignorant of how our planet’s ecosystem works. That’s how we got into the ozone hole, and now the global warming mess. Biotechnology is another such area.

Last year, Monsanto was ploughing ahead with plans to develop the ‘terminator’ technology, by which a seed can be made sterile, except when the corporation chooses to switch it on. The process would kill the age-old process by which farmers collect and store their seeds, selecting the best for next year’s crop. For a billion subsistence farmers around the world, it would spell disaster.

Then in May,1999, along came Europe’s sudden and dramatic revolution against GM food. US corn exports to Europe are reported to have dropped by 96%. Over the year, Monsanto’s shares fell by 35% while the rest of Wall St went up by 30%. Monsanto was publicly trashed, and in October Mr Shapiro (Monsanto’s CEO) said they would no longer pursue the Terminator technology.

But now comes news that the original owner of the technology (the Delta & Pine land Seed Company) is pressing ahead with it, and that the US Dept of Agriculture supports its patenting and research. The research is industry wide, with over 30 patents held for its development. Monsanto, meanwhile, has merged with AstraZeneca, and announced the formation of the world’s biggest agri-business corporation, to be named "Syngenta". New clothes, old body ?

The Indian, Ghanaian and Ugandan governments have declared that they will not tolerate use of the terminator technology, and the Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization has publicly opposed it. The only way to stop it now, it seems, is through political action by national governments around the world.

To make matters worse, ever since the Europeans and Japanese started rejecting GM food, the GM products are now being dumped on the North American market, in everything from corn chips to salad dressing : the current estimate is that 2/3rds of all commercial food contains GM ingredients. Part of the prairie farm crisis is that nobody wants to buy the farmers’ GM crops.

The market is listening, however. When Greenpeace approached Gerber about GM ingredients in their baby-food, they quickly decided to switch to an all-organic approach, which Heinz quickly followed.

What can you do ? There’s an active group here in Victoria involving the Council of Canadians, who meet on Saturday mornings (see Diary April 1st). For more info, see www.rafi.org & www.resistanceisfertile.com


THE GARDEN PATH
Organic Plant Nursery

We grow the healthiest plants in town

Open April 1st to June 30th
7 days a week, 10am – 5pm

Tel: 881-1555

Now in a pastoral location at

395 Conway Road

Morning Coffees & Afternoon Teas

Demonstration Gardens – Workshops

www.earthfuture.com/gardenpath


AN APOLOGY

To anyone who was bothered by my use of the word "curry" in last month’s editorial, I apologize. In the UK, where I come from, there are no abusive overtones to the word. I did not know that in some quarters here in B.C., it is considered abusive.


CYCLING TO SUSTAINABILITY

"Using ecological footprinting as a yardstick, and incorporating the household accounting principles of the best seller "Your Money or Your Life", we will explore a myriad ways to meet the current situation on earth…for joyous, meaningful lifestyles that are truly sustainable." Those are the words of Mathis Wackernagel, Jimi Merkel and Erica Sherwood, who will be in Victoria on April 4th to present a workshop on creative ways to reduce our personal ecological footprints (see Diary). Four more entire planets – that’s how much land we’d need if everyone was to live with as much zest for shopping and consuming as we do in North America. They’re on a North American tour, to educate people to think more about the way we live, and talk about their own personal "Wise Acres" project. Mathis is co-author of the best-seller "Your Ecological Footprint".


CECELIA CREEK CLEAN-UP

It’s small, it’s charming, and it once supported an abundant fish population. As such, it’s a perfect metaphor for Earth as a whole. Today, it is one of the dirtiest creeks entering the Gorge Waterway, gathering oil, chemicals and sewage as it makes its way to the Gorge mudflats, a sanctuary for birds, animals and salt marsh vegetation. It’s their home, too. It’s the only green space in the local community, and it’s surrounded by homes, schools and the Galloping Goose Trail. The Burnside Gorge Community Association knew they had to act. The Cecelia Creek Clean-Up Committee was formed, with members from all levels of government, as well as businesses and community volunteers. They shifted all the obvious garbage and debris, and identified the industrial practices and the main places where pollution enters the creek. They put an educational sign on the Galloping Goose Trail, and they’re monitoring the water quality on a regular basis. The next steps involve a Best Management Practices Manual for local automotive businesses, an educational pamphlet for local residents, replacing the faulty sewer lines, "daylighting" part of the creek (removing the underground pipe), improving Cecilia Ravine Park, and providing public recognition to local businesses that commit to clean up their act. Slowly, if the local community helps, they will restore the creek to its former glory. That’s what it takes : vision, determination, good organizing, no-blame, and recognition for success. Our task for the century ahead, creek by creek, neighbourhood by neighbourhood, must be to do for the Earth what they are doing for their creek. To help, call Dean, 388-5251.


BIODIVERSITY PUBLICATIONS

Want to know more about eco-forestry, or how to maintain biodiversity in your community forest ? How to recognize endangered "Identified Wildlife"? Need to know what rare lichens are found only in old growth forests, or grizzly bear habitat requirements? If you are involved in land-use planning, public education or want to manage your backyard more sustainably, the Biodiversity Publications Catalogue is a "must have" report that describes 500 brochures, summaries, books and reports providing essential information on biodiversity in B.C. Available from Crown Publications; can also be viewed at www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfd/pubs/docs/mr/mr086.htm


ACTION OF THE MONTH :

This time, it’s one for all of us. For the Earth (and for EarthWeek), THINK before you drive. Could you walk, cycle, or take the bus ? Every gallon you burn in your car releases 20lbs of C02 into the atmosphere. Just THINK ! We have to wean ourselves off fossil fuels, just as we are off smoking.


Check out the Victoria Green Pages !

www.greenpages.victoria.bc.ca


Deadline for May 2000: April 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

EcoNews is printed on Tree-Free paper from Ecosource

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