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AG00119_.gif (2913 bytes)EcoNews reaches thousands of people each month, including every MLA in BC and every CRD municipal politician. It’s 95% funded by donations from readers like you. If you value the information it provides, will you support it with a donation?

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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. 106 - Promoting the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island - June 2001


TIDAL ENERGY AND POLAR BEARS

Up in the Arctic, the polar ice is rapidly melting. Between 1976 and 1997, the summer sea ice lost 6% of its width and 40% of its thickness as the ocean beneath it warmed. If this continues, there will be no summer ice by 2040. Without the ice, the polar bears will starve to death and become extinct, along with the Arctic fox, and other species.

We can either have fossil fuels, or we can have polar bears. We cannot have both. The one precludes the other. This is what happens when you burn to much carbon on a planet that includes ice. It’s a law of physics. With every gallon of oil or gigajoule of gas we burn, we add our names to the bears’ death warrant.

Presumably unaware of this, BC Hydro wants us to burn more gas. Specifically, with Glen Clark’s mania for megaprojects, they have decided, using dubious load-forecasting data, that Vancouver Island does not have enough power. So they have dreamt up a scheme to spend $245 million to build a gas pipeline across the Georgia Strait, build two new gas-fired generating stations in Port Alberni and probably Duncan, ship in gas via the USA, and make our Island more "self-reliant" in power. As if.

Now that we are in a new millennium, we must stop and think about the direction we are heading in. Do we really want to live in a world without polar bears? Is this what we want for our children and grandchildren? It this what we want to be remembered for – that when it mattered most, we were too lazy, too distracted, and too comfortable to look for alternative sources of energy? That we said "Oh, screw it", and went on complaining about the price of gas?

One of the sources of clean, renewable energy that we are sitting on is tidal energy. Don’t laugh – there are at least six different types of tidal and wave energy technology under development, one of which (www.wavegen.co.uk) is already generating energy in Scotland. Here in BC, we have our own Blue Energy, which is installing two 250 kW demonstration instream tidal turbines off the coast of northern Vancouver Island this fall (www.bluenergy.com). There is a huge amount of energy in the tidal current, and it runs almost 24 hours a day. Think of it as lunar energy – the moon’s gift to the Earth.

So why has Blue Energy not progressed further? If we look at the history of wind power in Denmark, we may find the reason.

In the late 1970s, a Danish couple suggested to their neighbours, a farmer and a teacher, that they might cooperate to erect their own wind turbine. They met huge resistance from Denmark’s power utilities (who resented outsiders taking away their control), nature organizations (who feared bird deaths), and planners, (who thought the turbines ugly). It was only because they organized as an NGO and won support from the government in the form of legislation and subsidies that they were able to succeed. Today, Denmark, with a population of just 5 million, generates 15% of its energy from the wind (aiming for 50% by 2030), exports 55% of the world’s wind turbines, and employs 17,000 people in the wind energy sector.

If the new BC government was to get behind smart, clean energy technologies such as tidal, wind, ground-source heat, geothermal, solar, and super-efficient lights, windows, buildings and vehicles, we could join Washington State in leading the North American renewable energy revolution, with jobs, excitement, and satisfaction for all. We’d also avoid the anger that’s going to set it in when natural gas prices continue to rise. And gas, by the way, is NOT a clean form of energy: when you add its methane and CO2 emissions, it is just 7% better than oil over 100 years, 9% worse over 20 years.

For nine years, we have had a government with no vision when it comes to energy. It was as if they neither saw, nor cared. BC Hydro’s PowerSmart program was almost run into the ground; all they thought about was cheap prices (the lowest in North America) and dollars from the oil and gas industry.

The argument for low prices is very weak. In the USA, in 1997, residents in Louisiana, which has the cheapest power ($5.81 per million Btu), consumed 3.5 times more power per person than residents in Arizona, which has among the most expensive power ($11.75 per million Btu). Over the year, Louisianans spent $3,473 per person on power, while Arizonans spent $1,883. The cheaper power cost them twice as much. Message to BC Hydro, BC politicians, and all BC Hydro customers: it is efficiency that matters, not price.

We absolutely must change our ways of thinking. Remember – we cannot have both fossil fuels and polar bears. We have to choose.

Guy Dauncey


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


ECONEWS

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

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Many thanks to Michael Poole, Bob Peart, Mick Collins, Mary-June Pettyfer, Mary Jane Montgomery, Sharon Jutila, Lindsay Hill, Kildara Farms, Joseph & Vilma Dubé, Anne Helen Clemence, Margaret Hantiuk, Randyl Carter, Joy Bailie-Maxham, Andrée Scott, Jocelyn Braithwaite, Gail Schultz, Joan Hurwood, Rhyall Gordon, Patrick Fawkes, Moireen Phillips, Marilee Goheen, Marilyn Thaden Dexter, Nöel Taylor, Sheila Gaunt, Shelagh McKiernan, Troubador Institute, Yvonne Bondarchuk, Rob Wickson, Alsion Vida, Stuart Wulff, Elizabeth Cruise, Bernice Packford, Barbara Hourston, Ann Gower, and Gary Moonie.

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


THE ECO-CORNER

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

* YOU can make a difference! The Sierra Club Victoria Group is dedicated to local conservation, and your interest, expertise & skills are welcome. Talk with us about volunteering as a Board Member, advisor or volunteer. Call Sharon Jutila 386-5255. Decorating and carpentry help also needed call Sarah, 386-5255. Oh yes – and help running a booth at Oceans Day, on June 10th. sarah@sierraclubbc.org

* Wanted: Sustainability stories from around BC - real life examples of how people have attempted to incorporate any aspect of sustainability into their lives. Goal: to produce an inspirational package that illustrates the costs, barriers, and benefits of "making the switch". Hamish, GAIA Project (250) 384-1534 sustainstory@whale-mail.com

* Coast Capital Savings. If are you a member, you can vote in the current election. EcoNews encourages you to vote for Patricia Lane, who has done great work as an incumbent, and Jim Hackler, who is asking lots of relevant questions.

* There’s still no sign of our friend Roy McFarlane, who has not been seen since May 14th. If you can help in any way, please call Al Rycroft, 592-8307.


VICTORIES FOR ANIMALS

As humans, we love our cats and dogs, but in most other areas, we are a very cruel species. Things may slowly be improving, however, thanks to the persistence of animal rights activists around the world. This edited list, from the May issue of Animal Rights Online, illustrates some recent successes:

* A North Carolina grand jury handed down the first ever felony animal abuse indictment against pig farmers.

* The Smithsonian canceled plans for a foie gras celebration due to pressure from many animal groups and celebrities.

* European government Farm Ministers signed an agreement banning battery cages for hens (taking effect in 2012).

* New York passed a bill elevating intentional and extreme animal cruelty to a felony offense.

* New Mexico, Maryland, Maine, Virginia & Nevada enacted laws to allow courts to order psychological counseling for animal abusers.

* National Institutes of Health banned the use of mice in monoclonal antibody production, saving the lives of up to one million mice each year.

* 21 chimps, formerly owned by the Air Force and awarded to the Coulston Foundation for live animal research, will instead be retired to a Florida sanctuary.

* Nationwide protests dramatically altered the EPA’s HPV industrial chemical testing program, reducing the number of animals used from 1.3 million to 500,000, thereby saving 800,000 lives.

* Mary Kay Cosmetics pledged not to use animals to test its products, or to buy ingredients from companies that do.

* The New Zealand Parliament banned the use of all great apes in research, testing or teaching "unless such use is in the best interests of the nonhuman hominid".

* Slovakia banned all cosmetic tests on animals after a three-year campaign by Slovakian animal protection groups.

* Pepsi withdrew its sponsorship of Mexican bullfighting and ordered all its signs removed from bullfighting arenas.

* A Sacramento jury sentenced a pit bull dogfighting promoter to 7 years in prison.

* France became the final member of the EU to ratify the Treaty of Amsterdam, recognizing animals as sentient beings capable of feeling fear and pain, and of enjoying themselves when well treated.

* Montgomery, New Jersey, prohibited electric prods at its annual benefit rodeo. Johnson & Johnson, the top supporter of the rodeo, dropped its sponsorship.

* Major British supermarkets withdrew "exotic meat" from their shelves.

* The Queen's Speech in the British Parliament vowed to abolish fur farms.

* Israel banned animal experiments in junior high and high schools.

* Harvard and Georgetown law schools began teaching classes on animal law. First Animal Law casebook published.

* The FDA approved Cenestin, a plant-based estrogen replacement that can be used instead of Premarin (the drug made from the urine of pregnant mares).


Dusting Divas

House cleaning will never again be an unpleasant chore with Dusting Divas all natural, non-toxic aromatherapy cleaning products.

Maia Gibb

391-4058 888-2022 cell

divas@coastcompanies.com


WHAT IS NEW BC?

NEW BC was borne out of a desire to translate ideas and theories about sustainability into test cases in BC. We are a non-profit charitable organization with offices in Victoria and Vancouver committed to educating policy makers, business leaders, elected officials and the general public about economic solutions to pressing environmental and social issues. Currently, NEW BC is focussed on building support for environmental tax shifting – shifting taxes off labour and income onto pollution and wasted resources. Our New Economy Project builds tax shifting awareness with new economy business leaders (tourism, environmental industries, high tech). NEW BC has also launched a Municipal Outreach Program to provide BC municipalities with a toolkit and workshops on how tax shifting works to promote community economic development and environmental improvements. NEW BC also works in the Green Budget Coalition, formed at Paul Martin’s invitation. We welcome inquiries and offer a variety of opportunities for involvement. Call us at 595-0577. www.newbc.org.


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 GARDEN PATH

ORGANIC PLANT NURSERY

The healthiest plants at great prices

 

Organic Vegetables. Herbs. Flowers. Shrubs. Heritage Roses. Bamboos. Seeds.

Open Daily 10-5pm

Closing for the season June 30th

395 Conway Road

(250) 881-1555

www.earthfuture.com/gardenpath


FRESH, LOCAL, ORGANIC

The average vegetable travels more than 1400 km before you eat it. To turn this around, LifeCycles started Common Harvest in 1998, offering training in farming and business management to 4 local farmers who produce organic fruit and vegetables from June to October for our brown box program, which is run by local youth who receive business and life skills training. For a fresh, organic weekly delivery to your home, we do bike cart delivery to Downtown, James Bay, Fairfield and Fernwood. Call now - space is limited. 383-5800


WHAT’S UP AT CITY HALL?

Councillor Denise Savoie writes: The CRD Round Table on the Environment has been hard at work on the issue of toxic contaminants, developing an program to illustrate the impact of pesticide use - posters for doctors' offices; lawn signs saying no to drugs). If you have any ideas that would help us curb our use of pesticides, please let me know.

I have obtained a commitment from my colleagues on Council to retrofit Point Ellice Bridge for pedestrians and cyclists in the 2002 budget. I have also initiated a master greenway/blueway plan for the urban core, enlisting the help of Maeve Lydon and some wonderfully qualified residents. We had our first mapping exercise in the Burnside-Gorge area, where residents got together for a BBQ and then worked on mapping their neighbourhood to show obstacles to walking and biking, and places they love to go. The school principal was there, and Suzanne Kort talked about using mapping to make routes to school safer. John Lutz, a UVic History prof, showed us wonderful slides of when this part of the city was a magical place, before it was fragmented by major arteries. That night, we dreamt about the possibility of recapturing some of the beauty through a network of greenways and blueways.

In the Jubilee neighbourhood, Council has decided to effect a partial closure of streets that were being overrun with cut-through traffic, seriously affecting the residents’ quality of life. Traffic calming would not be effective because of all the "rat-running", so we are trying partial closure, and will evaluate the impact over the next few months. Cut-through traffic is a problem in many neighbourhoods, when drivers use residential streets to avoid lights or bottlenecks on arterials. A person I know well told me recently that she had never thought about the impact her cut-through habits had, until it came up in the Jubilee area. Residential streets are for people who have business in the area; the rest of us should stay on the arterials. It might slow us down a bit, but where are we going so fast, anyway??

We're also reviewing a new harbour plan - the more feedback we get, the better. What kind of harbour do you want? A working harbour, a harbour to recreate in? How do we clean up the pollution left from our industrial past? Call City Hall for a copy. We're going review comments in June. Comments? Suggestions? denises@.city.victoria.bc.ca


City Green

healthy · wealthy · wise

Pesticide Free Naturally kits,

with lawn signs, now available.

Call 381-9995 or e-mail info@citygreen.ca


CONGRATULATIONS…

* To David Anderson, for making Canada the first nation to sign the global treaty to phase out persistent organic pollutants, including PCBs, dioxins & furans.

* To Paul Martin, for agreeing to develop a new set of environmental indicators which will be used as part of our national accounts, starting in 2003.

* To Elizabeth May, Executive Director of the Sierra Club of Canada, whose 17 day hunger strike on the steps of the Parliament in Ottawa helped win a commitment to proper studies of the homes of people living by the heavily toxic Sydney Tar-Ponds, in Cape Breton, and to develop a relocation contingency plan, with $7 million financing.

* To Chiquita Brands International, for achieving eco-certification of 100% of its 127 banana farms in Latin America through the Rainforest Alliance's Better Banana Project, the leading certification program for environmental and social standards on banana farms.

* To the Habitat Acquisition Trust, for its new "Conservation Connection" initiative which provides a website, email and listing for every conservation groups in the CRD. Finally, we can all find out what’s happening! Explore the new site at www.conservationconnection.bc.ca


ACTION OF THE MONTH

THE GEORGIA STRAIT CROSSING GAS PIPELINE

To recap. Act 1: Several years ago, Glen Clark tells BC Hydro that Vancouver Island needs a big new megaproject: a pipeline under the Georgia Strait and across the Cowichan Valley that will carry natural gas to two new gas-fired electricity-generating plants, one at Port Alberni, and one (probably) at Duncan. To justify this, BC Hydro uses faulty load-forecasting data to make it seem that the lights will go out if they don’t get their way, and they choose not to do the obvious – renew the existing electricity cable under the Strait. By burning natural gas, we will produce a huge increase in greenhouse gas emissions, while subjecting local people to air pollution and the risk of pipeline explosions.

Act 2: Local people find out about the scheme, and start telling others. They create a website (www.sqwalk.com), and write letters to David Anderson demanding a full Environmental Assessment. This is granted.

Act 3: The National Energy Board (NEB) publishes the Terms of Reference for the Environmental Assessment, which in theory, allow for a full and proper assessment. The tendency of the NEB, however, has been to take a narrow interpretation of the Terms of Reference, with the result that opponents of projects have had to go to court to obtain a proper assessment, which is costly, and poor public policy. The NEB also set a very short deadline for comments – June 16th.

Act 4: Act 4 has not been written yet – this is where you and I come in. If the Terms of Reference are interpreted narrowly, the project will sail through the Assessment, the Panel will approve it, and the play will be over: we’ll have to live with electricity produced by natural gas for the next 40 years, greenhouse gases and all. Unless, of course, we all write to the CEAA, asking for reassurance that the assessment includes a full study of whether and why the project is needed, and of the local and global impact of the greenhouse gas emissions, quoting the Sunpine decision which states that all ancillary or subsidiary undertakings that are likely to be carried out in the project must be included in the assessment.

Action: Write to Jean Crépault, CEAA, 200 Sacré-Coeur Blvd, 13th flr, Hull, Que K1A 0H3. jean.crepault@ceaa.gc.ca, requesting reassurane that the study include a full and proper assessment. For details, go to www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca, then "What’s New", then May 15th.


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

 


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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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