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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. 104 - Promoting the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island - April 2001


THINKING LIKE A PLANET

In a few weeks time, the people of British Columbia will start a campaign to choose a new government. For a month, we will be besieged by polls, promises and predictions. Pundits and politicians will pontificate about the supposedly terrible state of the BC economy, or make impassioned pleas for health-care, education, and the environment.

But if you were the planet, what kind of government would you want? You have been evolving slowly ever since you were born from the Sun; you circle her yearly, held by her maternal pull. You have assisted in the creation of oceans, rainforests, grasslands, and more species than you can count.

Your humans think themselves proud and independent, but there is an unbroken chain that connects them to you, as their planet. For millions of years, they have lived in sleepy ignorance of the ecosystems that support them. In these last few hundred years, however, they have taken enormous leaps forward. They have reached a critical point in their evolution, when their understanding of you, their planet, is growing fast, but remains five steps behind their impact on you. This makes for a very dangerous time. They have carved out a dominant role for themselves, but they are like a two-year old who is fascinated by fire, who will only learn when he gets burnt. For "fire", read fossil fuels, chemicals, and big-time technologies.

As a planet, you care about all your ecosystems. By burning your fossil fuels, your humans have pumped so much carbon dioxide and other gases into the atmosphere that your temperature is rising, and your Arctic summer ice is melting. Since the 1960s, it has lost 40% of its thickness. If the present trends continue, by 2050 it will be entirely gone, and your polar bears will become extinct. You want a government which will calmly plan to end all fossil fuel burning within 25 years, and steer a successful transition into a solar/hydrogen future.

You care about your rivers and oceans; you want a government which will stop chemically-polluted sewage from entering them, whether from humans or fish farms, and ensure that every fishery is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (www.msc.org).

You care about your forests, and the species they support. You want a government which will ensure that they are there forever, not as tree-farms but as continuing old-growth forests, storing carbon, protecting life, and providing timber for seven seventy, and seven hundred generations ahead.

You care about the lands that humans have taken over to grow food; you want a government which will calmly phase out the chemicals which are slowly destroying the soil, along with the birds, bees, and wildlife that live there.

You care about the millions of species you have nurtured; you want a government which will eliminate the toxins which are accumulating in their bodies, suffocating their immune systems and spreading cancers.

You know that humans have other interests; they want to drive, gamble, and make money, and you delight in their enthusiasms. But at this critical point in time, you know that unless they pause to do some planetary housekeeping, their next generation will face ecological chaos, and collapse. A transition can be easy if it is well managed; then the future will be secure.

So now you must choose; there are marijuana parties, and banana parties. But the only real players are the Liberals, the New Democrats, and the Greens. Deep down, as a planet, you must ask yourself which of these represents your best hope for stability, ecological restoration, and the future – and hope that the humans can figure it out too.

Guy Dauncey


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


ECONEWS

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Donations can be sent to EcoNews, 395 Conway Rd, Victoria V9E 2B9. For a receipt, send stamped addressed envelope.

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THE ECO-CORNER

$5 a line (free to non-profits & low-income). 1" box ad $30, $2" $55.

* HELP! 30-40 volunteers needed to marshal the barricades to close off Dallas Road between Cook and St. Charles Streets between 11am and 4pm on Sunday, April 1st (see Diary). Jane Victoria King, 380-2014 or 213-8189

* Mature couple seeking 2-3 BR home to rent in Greater Victoria rural setting. Need proper workshop for home-based business, garden. Excellent tenants, non-smokers. Tim & Gwynne 391-1784

* To let: Small house in Highlands, attached greenhouse on quiet organic farm; kitchen garden, fridge, wood heat, propane stove. No pets $650 652-2613.

* BC Parks wants to establish a volunteer Parks Stewardship in the Carmanah-Walbran Park. The Carmanah Forestry Society will be undertaking some level of lead role, and would like to hear from anyone who’d like to be involved. Call Syd Haskell, 381-1141

* Spring Cleaning? Donate unwanted household items, clothes & books to the Walk for Global Justice (formerly the Earth Walk) Fundraising Rummage Sale, April 14th Fernwood Square. 9am - noon. Pick-ups, info Kim 920-7261.

* Volunteers Needed! for the Walk for Global Justice, April 21st (20th Annual Earthwalk). Lend a hand and make this inspiring community event a success. Help is needed for preparations, and on the day. Call Justine, 381-1907.


DENMARK’S WIND SUCCESS

25 years ago, two Danish farmers, Per and Inge-Lise Lauritsen, got together with their neighbours and installed a 55 kW wind turbine. Their idea was to meet their needs, and sell the surplus to the grid. The Danish electric utilities, however, wanted Denmark to be all-nuclear, and refused to accept the Lauritsens’ power. To overcome them, the Lauritsens had to go all the way to the Danish Parliament and obtain the direct intervention of the Minister of Energy. After two years of negotiation, it was agreed that they would be paid 85% of the price of electricity, with 15% for the use of the grid. The next year, 377 wind turbines were set up through similar co-operatives, and the Danish wind revolution was underway. Today, with a population of just 5 million people, and from a land base 1/20th the size of British Columbia’s, Denmark produces 13% of its electricity from the wind, has 2,140 MW of wind capacity, employs 17,000 people in the wind industry, and exports 55% of the world’s wind turbines. Their success was far from straightforward, however. Almost every vested interest fought to oppose them, including the Woodland and Nature Administration, and Denmark’s planners. They succeeded by working co-operatively through the Association of Wind Turbine Owners; by publishing monthly turbine performance data which forced the less efficient technologies to improve or leave the market; and because the Danish Parliament (elected by proportional representation and ruled by a center-left-green coalition) constantly overruled the objections from the utilities and its own ministries. In Europe today, the market for wind turbines is growing by 40% a year. Germany followed Denmark’s lead, paying a subsidy and introducing a feed law that obliges utilities to buy renewable energy at 90% of the retail price. By 2000, the north German state of Schleswig-Holstein was producing 19% of its electricity from wind, with a goal of 50% by 2005. In 2000, out of the world’s installed wind capacity of 17,000 MW, Germany had 6,100 MW, Denmark 2,140 MW, and Spain 2,250 MW. The USA had 2,500 MW; Canada just 137 MW. Europe’s target for wind energy in 2010 is 60,000 MW. So why does B.C. have no wind energy? The reason lies with the B.C. government’s determination to sell low-priced energy, which makes it hard for wind and other renewables to compete. For the full Danish story, see www.windpower.dk .


THE GARDEN PATH
ORGANIC PLANT NURSERY

Demonstration organic gardens, guided tours, workshops and afternoon teas

Open Daily 10-5pm

Organic Plants at Great Prices

395 Conway Road

Tel: (250) 881-1555

www.earthfuture.com/gardenpath


URBAN GROWING CONTEST

Does your yard or balcony contain one of Victoria’s best organic food gardens? Lifecycles wants to know! Beginning in April, Lifecycles will be working to reveal the plethora of food producing activity happening in Victoria through the First Annual Urban Agriculture Contest. Production levels, crop diversity, composting and other factors will be judged, with fabulous prizes. Get involved! Get your garden going, then submit your application in one of four categories: Best Food Garden, Best Mixed Food and Flower Garden, Best Container Garden, Best Children’s Garden. For more information, call Justine at Lifecycles at 383-5800.


CHOP SHOO-EY

The next time you are given disposable chopsticks at a Chinese restaurant, think about this. In February, more than 100 state-owned restaurants in Beijing promised to "go green" and start washing and reusing chopsticks. The Chinese government is considering a tax on disposable chopsticks; Shanghai and other cities may ban them. China discards 45 billion pairs of chopsticks every year, from as many as 25 million trees. Kang Dahu, a 22-year volunteer with green groups, said, "Just imagine, years from now, when my grandchildren ask me what happened to all of China's trees, I'll have to say, 'We made them into chopsticks.' Isn't that pitiful?" (Thanks to The Daily Grist www.gristmagazine.com ).


FOR SALE or LEASE

24 acre pocket valley farm, S. Gulf Is., 1200 sq ft house, creek, ponds, orchard, 3 acres irrigated certified organic garden. Cabins, sauna, outbuildings. Walk to beach. $400,000. Neighbouring 2 acres 2 floor heritage cottage, basement, solarium also for sale, $145,000. 250-539-2034.


Dusting Divas
Environmental Cleaning Service

All-natural, non-toxic products

Professional service

maia gibb 888-2022

divas@coastcompanies.com


THE GREENS IN GOVERNMENT

After years as a small minority party, the Green Party of B.C. is emerging as a serious political force, with new leadership, a growing membership, and a whole new policy platform. But if they were elected, what would they do? Here are some of their key policies. For the full Platform, see www.greenparty.bc.ca .

* Elect government by a system of mixed proportional representation, combining a province-wide vote for a party where 5% of the vote equals 5% of these seats, with a regional "most votes cast" vote.

* Reform political party financing to eliminate influence peddling.

* Solve budget shortfalls by decreasing spending rather than incurring new debt.

* Phase in a comprehensive tax-shift program, reducing taxes on beneficial economic activities and increasing taxes on activities that harm the environment.

* Phase out PST on environmental "goods" (eg solar panels, bicycles), and increase it on luxury, non-essential items.

* Require "triple bottom line" accounting by all government departments, including economic, social and environmental costs and benefits.

* Switch to indicators that measure changes in environmental, economic and social wellbeing, such as the Genuine Progress Indicator. (www.rprogress.org )

* Oppose the privatization of public resources such as water, forests and health-care; seek to end the FTA and NAFTA; oppose the proposed General Agreement on Trades and Services.

* Promote a healthy economy and ensure the sustainable use of public resources, but do not unduly interfere in the free enterprise system. Promote smart economic growth and small-scale, locally-owned businesses; provide tax incentives for companies that start up or relocate to rural communities; reduce taxes to high-tech companies that are socially and environmentally sound.

* Create a new model for health care delivery that is holistic, that includes alternative and preventative care; move away from fee-based billing towards salaries for doctors.

* Increase educational funding by 10%; keep small classes in the primary grades; reduce intermediate class sizes; ban the use of chemical pesticides on school grounds; require school cafeterias to provide organic food; provide free tuition for post-secondary education.

* Index the minimum wage to the rate of inflation; enact worker democracy legislation; provide tax incentives for the establishment of worker-owned coops, for firms that institute democratic management structures, and for companies that provide on-site day-care, flex-hours and job-sharing; extend the BC Labour Code and Employment Standards Act for part-time, contract and casual workers; enact Whistle Blower legislation.

* Work with the federal government to convert all income support programs into one comprehensive Guaranteed Annual Income program; index welfare rates to inflation; provide free transit passes to people on social assistance; provide an incentive for people on welfare to become employed by allowing welfare recipients to keep 100% of the wages they earn, up to the poverty line.

In May, we’ll feature Forestry, Fisheries, Agriculture, Energy, Housing, Transport, and Environment. To join the Greens, or help in a local riding, call Al, 381-1284


ALL TOGETHER NOW

The Victoria Natural History Society is one of our region’s older and more venerable societies; the Habitat Acquisition Trust (HAT) is one of its younger offshoots. So just how many conservation and stewardship groups and societies are there in our region? To find out, and pull them all together, HAT is facilitating a forum entitled "Connecting for Conservation in the Capital Regional District" on April 21st (see Diary) to promote co-operation among the 100+ groups in the CRD. There will be booths, roundtable discussions, and HAT will be unveiling its brand new "Conservation Connection" searchable website with information on every group in the CRD. If you are involved in a conservation group and this is the first you have heard about this initiative, please call Tara Todesco (995-2428) ASAP!


ORNAMENTUM FURNITURE
ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGNS

1780 Vernon Drive

Vancouver, V6A 3T8

(604) 215-7444

FSC accredited certification

means that the forest is managed

according to strict environmental,

social and economic standards. Chain of custody certified by Silva Forest Foundation.

SFF-COC-005 www.ornamentum.bc.ca

FSC trademark © Forest Stewardship Council A.C.


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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