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Guy Dauncey, Editor
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Tel (250) 881-1304
Executive director of The Solutions Project
No. 111 - Promoting the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island - December
It is Christmas, 2012.
Among most people, there is a quiet, deep rejoicing that the hopelessness
of the past years has been lifted. All around the world, a new spirit of hope
has entered people's hearts.
Eleven years ago, the
world was plunged into despair by the seemingly endless assaults of nihilistic
terror, ecological attack and opportunistic greed, which took their toll on
the small, still yearnings of the heart. As if the chaos of global poverty,
third world debt, AIDS, and ecological unravelling were not enough, now there
were fanatics trying to impose theocratic fascism on the world, all in the
name of God. Everyone seemed polarized and adrift, as fear and rhetoric replaced
dialogue, compromise, and constructive solutions.
Some say it was the very
success of the United Nations "Rio + 10" Summit that was held in
Johannesburg in September 2002 that caused people to seek more. By the end
of the Summit, every nation present had signed the Earth Charter, but people
wanted something more - something tangible and specific. By 2004, over 12,000
global NGOs and civil society groups and over 40 million people had signed
the new Global Charter for Justice, Peace and Ecological Rights. The Charter
was signed in countries all over the world by seniors and schoolchildren,
artists and unionists, professors, politicians and peasants, business owners
and even some socially-minded bankers. Over 2000 cities and 300 state and
county governments signed on, driven by energetic grassroots movements.
With its clear agenda
for change, the charter represented a force that few politicians could ignore.
By 2007, the signatories included the governments of 35 countries, which formed
themselves into the Global Charter Alliance.
The Charter was the 21st
century's equivalent of England's Magna Carta, forced upon a
reluctant King John by his barons in 1215, to control his abuse of power.
These are its leading clauses:
1. That all global
trade rules should include minimum standards for health, working conditions
and environmental protection.
2. That a World Environment Organization should be established to oversee
the restoration of the world's ecosystems during the 21st century.
3. That all Third World debt should be forgiven, in recognition of
its uncontrollable growth, and of the growing ecological debt that the developed
world is placing on the rest of the world.
4. That all tax havens should be closed, and a global tax (Tobin Tax)
should be charged on all international currency speculations, the revenues
to address global poverty and disease.
5. That all banks around the world should introduce transparency rules,
and prohibit the holding of funds from tax evasion, and other illegal dealings.
6. That the control of the World Bank and the International Monetary
Fund should be one nation, one vote, instead of being controlled
by the seven wealthiest nations on the basis of their financial power.
7. That nations should retain the power to require investors to invest
their capital for a minimum of a year, restoring the stability required for
sound business development.
8. That political funding from businesses and associations should be
eliminated in all elections, with only eligible voters being allowed to contribute
9. That all weapons of mass destruction should be banned, and all international
arms sales be subject to a stiff global tax, the revenues going to the victims
10. That a new global climate treaty should be signed, committing nations
to a global carbon tax, and to the purchase of agreed percentages of solar,
wind, and hydrogen, enabling mass production to reduce the price and launch
a global take-off.
11. That all nations should require eco-forestry certification of their
forests, with the trade in non-certified timber being phased out.
12. That Global Charter nations should agree to legislate these changes
together within the period 2012 - 2017, and work together to persuade the
other nations to sign.
Historians may wonder
how the global impetus was achieved which saw 100 of the world's nations
endorse the Charter in October 2012. Looking back, they may see that it was
the power of the Internet, by enabling people to communicate directly without
the corporate media, that unleashed the worldwide grassroots movement for
democracy and a civil society, which found unexpected cohesion through the
Global Charter. That should be no surprise, since it was the invention of
the printing press that unleashed the industrial revolution, and the earlier
invention of writing that enabled cities and civilizations to blossom.
Perhaps the only real
surprise should be that so many people had given up hope, and drifted into
despair. This Christmas, 2012, hope has been restored and the saviour
has been we, ourselves.
note: the Green Diary has moved, click here to view.
monthly newsletter, funded by your donations, that dreams of a Vancouver Island
and a world blessed by the harmony of nature, the pleasures of community &
the joys of deep fulfillment.
thanks to Louise Irwin, Ernie Yacub, Howie Siegel, Barb Atkins, Marta
Gassler, Katie Bloomfield, Paula Foot, Virginia Newman, Claire Lynch, Joan
Tiernan, Mary Hughes, Donna McLaren, Ann Redwood, Hanny Ioannides, Elizabeth
Woods, Janice Turner, Susan Coward, Julia Roberts, Don Shaw, Fran &
Bill Ashwell, Moireen Phillips, Michael Bonnor, Kim Feltham, Olve Boorman,
Jean Wallace, Walter Riegel, Gerhardt Lepp, Barbara Benoit, Frances Thibeau,
Christine Ward, Phyllis Cowan, Joyce Stewart, Daniel Harper, Elli Boisvert,
Elizabeth Nuse, Anne Clemence, Alan Drengson, Wayne Madden, Ruth Miller,
Heather McAndrew, Ed Mackenzie, Janet Hawksley, Susannah Day, Todd &
Renate Wellman, Robert Wickson, Kathleen Kyle, John McMahen, Troubador Institute,
Jo Briggs, Tony Embleton, Daphne Squire, John Azar, Ruth Masters, Margaret
Schubart, Kate Stevens, Walter Meyer zu Erpen, Barbara Hourston, Andrew
Glen, Ken Wardroper, David van Seters, Valerie & Michael Torontow, Colin
Graham, Mel McDonald, James Whiteaker, Andrew Pringle, Elinor Powell, Barbara
Graves, Michael Balderston, Constance Mungall, Vivian Chenard, W.H. Evans,
Darla Drader, Gary Greenstein, Andrea Tischhauser, Alice Davis, Pamela Munroe,
Alan & Joan Greatbatch, Gwynne Martin & Tim Andrew, Jim Stilburn,
Daphne Taylor, Nina Raginsky, Ellie Roelofsen, Brad Jarvis, & Saanich
each and every one of you, a heart-felt thankyou.
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As despair spreads
around the globe,
where can I go to find hope?
As clouds of darkness gather,
where can I turn to find the light?
All things in life have a time.
There is a time for action and movement,
a time for stillness and remembering.
In the quiet of my soul,
I know that all is one.
I know that since the beginning of time
there has been an unbroken golden thread, a promise
that one day we would be one.
And if there must be flames and ashes,
I know in my soul
that the phoenix shall rise once more
and the movement towards the light will continue, for that
is the gift and the purpose of life.
building's triple-skinned exterior cladding, the first of its kind in Canada,
will envelop the new Telus 8-story, 127,000-square-foot building. The company
hired green architects, Busby & Associates Architects, for the $14 million
revitalization of its 50-year-old downtown Vancouver offices. A double-paned
frameless glazing system with operable windows will be suspended about a
meter from the existing building face. In the summer, the glass skin will
trap cool air inside and limit heat from the sun's rays. In winter months,
the architectural skin will serve as an insulating chamber. The building
is expected to be about 35% more energy efficient than Vancouver's energy
code. Telus "wants to show its customers how we'll take them into the
What would it take
to make Victoria a centre for green hotels? The Green Hotels Association
promotes conservation in the face of falling occupancy and high energy costs.
Aurum Lodge in Alberta generates 50-90% of its electricity from solar and
wind, and 90-100% of its ambient heat and water heating from solar and wood,
resulting in a 90% reduction in fossil fuel use. Green hoteliers know that
conservation saves money and preserves natural resources, so their planning
has better prepared them to weather the current economic downturn. Member
hotels use hundreds of options and techniques from the Association's
Member Guidelines and bi-monthly newsletter to save thousands of dollars
each year. Lake Powell Resorts, Arizona, has reduced its solid waste by
24 tons, water by 1.2 million gallons and electricity by 500,000 kilowatt-hours.
General managers, chief engineers and executive housekeepers do not have
much time to seek out ideas for conserving water and energy and reducing
waste, so the Green Hotels Association has devoted itself to the task. Membership
costs US $1 per guestroom per year, and the association guarantees that
members will save more money than its membership fee by using its ideas.
THEY SWIM IN PEACE
The next time you listen
to 'Silent Night' this Christmas season, please give a thought to what's
happening to the whales along our coast.
Alexandra Morton writes:
In 1993, salmon farmers began broadcasting a 195 decibel noise, as loud
as a jet engine at take-off, in hope of keeping harbour seals from attacking
their penned fish. The acoustic harassment devices work by causing pain
in the ears of marine mammals. Helena Symonds and I have combined 16 years
of data on orca movements off N.E. Vancouver Island to examine the impact
of the harassment on the whales, comparing the fish farm free waters of
western Johnstone Strait with the adjacent Broughton Archipelago where 23
corporate salmon farms are located. Our study's results are clear.
It was as if a door slammed in their face. The salmon farmers were only
concerned with seals, but it was the whales that left, abandoning over 300
sq km of territory wherever salmon farms used acoustic harassment. Whales
can not risk their hearing. When I alerted the Department of Fisheries and
Oceans to the potential harm of these devices, they conducted a controlled
study measuring the impact of the noisemakers on harbour porpoise. The results
were the same. Harbour porpoises declined precipitously when the noise was
played. DFO never published their study, and acoustic pollution soon filled
every whale route in the Archipelago. Ironically, the DFO study confirmed
what some farmers suspected ñ that the devices, rather than deterring
seals, actually attracted them in a ëdinner bell effect'. DFO
continues to ignore its own scientists, to support the growth of the fish
farm industry. I was horrified to find that DFO policy makers had no intention
of protecting whales. Under the Fisheries Act, DFO is responsible for the
protection of marine mammals ñ offences carry a $500,000 fine or
a 24 month prison term. DFO's responsibilities are clear ñ
acoustic harassment devices contravene the Fisheries Act and should have
been banned outright. After 5 years of harassment, the farmers turned the
devices near my research station off for undisclosed reasons. Within two
years some whale families began to return, but resident pods with young
babies have not yet returned. DFO has to silence the devices permanently.
If we want whales as neighbours, we must enter an age where science is used
to promote life, not careers.
How can we achieve sustainability?
Research shows that most strategic planning is neither strategic nor actual
planning. Too often, it is merely reactive progamming that rarely generates
real and lasting results. In Creating Sustainability, Bruce Elkin shows
us how to embed a truly strategic planning process in a broader, more comprehensive
organizational design process. Quoting Paul Hawken, he calls for businesses
to design a system of commerce and production where each and every
act is inherently sustainable and restorative Ö where doing good is
like falling off a log. He suggests shifting from a problem-focused
approach to a creative stance, opening up a world of opportunity by shifting
the focus from limitation to vision.
Designing Organizations to Do Well by Doing Good, by Bruce Elkin. $5 from
141 Seaview Road, Salt Spring, V8K 2V8, Canada. www.summitstrategies.net.
Anyone giving a donation of $100 to EcoNews will receive a free copy.
FOR A WHILE
OR LAND FOREVER?
Yes, it is Christmas,
when the heart turns to thoughts of giving. And while the gift of stuff
may often be the stuff of love, if you are tired of a world where we appear
to destroy more and more for the sake of less and less, the good news is
that there is an alternative. All around us, there are forests, Garry oak
meadows, gardens, sea-lion haul-outs, bird nesting areas and homes for bears,
eagles, moose, wolves and wildflowers that need protecting, now and forever.
The incredible band of souls at The Land Conservancy have picked up the
challenge. This Christmas, they invite you to give a gift that will last
forever, long after we are gone. For $35, you can give a TLC membership,
some forest in Merve Wilkinson's Wildwood, or land in the Sea-to-Sea
Greenbelt. For $40, you can give a TLC Harbour Cruise. For details, visit
the TLC shop at Abkhazi Garden, 1964 Fairfield Rd (Fri to Sun, 1-5pm), call
479-8053 and ask for a catalog, or visit www.conservancy.bc.ca
SOUL IN THE FOREST
A book to inspire,
and make you dream ñ Magnificently Unrepentant: The Story of Merve
Wilkinson and Wildwood by Good Niosi (Heritage House, $18.95) is the charmingly
written biography of Canada's leading eco-forester. The title comes
from the words Judge Skipp used to describe Merve when sentencing him for
blocking the logging road in Clayoquot Sound. ëMagnificently unrepentant'
is also the spirit that sings through these pages as we share Merve's
childhood and early life among the settlers of Yellow Point outside Ladysmith,
where it was normal for neighbours to chip in and help each other in a spirit
of self-help and community-building. We follow Merve's ups and downs.
loves and losses, hopes and challenges, and his persistent desire to seek
solutions that work for everyone, and for nature. This is a wonderful piece
of local history, as well as a biography of global importance. This is Goody
Niosi's first book. With this success under her belt, I hope she
will go on to write the biographies of more of our local and global heroes.
OF THE MONTH:
We take it for granted
that schoolchildren learn about pollution, waste, and ecological responsibility
ñ and so we should. The Grade Four science program begins with a
unit on waste in our world ñ but now there is a move to drop that
unit in the proposed Western Canada Protocol, a new curriculum that is to
replace the current one throughout the western provinces and territories.
And guess who is behind the move? The oil companies and waste management
companies, who fund the parties in power in BC, Alberta and the Yukon, and
provide election funds to governing MLAs in the Northwest Territories. They
don't want this message heard in our schools, and are hard at work
to see it scrapped. The BC and Alberta governments have made it clear that
they do not want to hear from teachers, who are considered a special
single interest, as opposed to stakeholders, like business or parents.
SO IT IS UP TO US.
ACTION: Please write
to The Hon. Christy Clark, Minister of Education & Deputy Premier, PO
Box 9045 Stn Prov Gov't, Victoria BC V8W 9E2.
Tel 250 387-1977. Fax: 250 387-3200
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