No. 116 - Serving the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island -
THE WORLD'S FORESTS
citizens, we are making a terrible mess of our forests. We have
cut, burned, or cleared our way through four-fifths of the Earth's
original forests, and we're still at it.
ago, the world had around 43 billion acres of forests. In 2000,
a UN forest assessment showed that we were down to 9.5 billion acres.
The World Resources Institute estimates that we are losing natural
forest in the tropics at the rate of 40 million acres a year. That's
110,000 acres per day, or 76 acres a minute. If an acre has 200
trees, the loss is an astonishing 22 million trees a day, every
day of the year.
Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka have already lost their rainforests; the
Ivory Coast's forests are nearly gone; in Central Africa, logging
concessions cover over half the world's second largest tropical
rainforest, and most lack any management plan. The Philippines,
Thailand and Indonesia have lost almost half their forests in the
past 25 years. In Indonesia, 70% of the timber is being logged illegally.
Most of this destruction is taking place in the Earth's rainforests,
home to two-thirds of the world's plant and animal species, and
thousands of indigenous tribes who have lived among them for tens
of thousands of years.
1/10th of the world's global forest cover (1/3rd of the boreal,
1/5th of the temperate), but less than 8% of Canada's forests are
fully protected, and 80-90% of the logging is in ancient oldgrowth
forests or by clearcutting. In April, Canada won the "Stump
of the Day" at the Biological Diversity conference in The Hague
for "absolute abdication of responsibility as a forested nation
to prioritize protection of primary forests."
a store for billions of tonnes of carbon. As a result of our activities,
we release eight billion tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere each
year. 17% comes from deforestation, so if we stop this, we solve
a key part of the problem. By 2050, if temperatures continue to
rise, the Amazon forest could begin to die as rainfall patterns
change and its soil dries out. Canada is looking at a 50% increase
in forest fire losses over the coming 50 years.
So what is to
be done? Many environmentalists think that trying to negotiate a
global forest treaty would take forever, and that the final result
would be very weak. There are other ways, however, that show promise.
The World Resources
Institute has established Global Forest Watch (www.globalforestwatch.org)
to provide the world with up-to-date digital information. By 2005,
it will span 21 countries and cover 80% of the world's remaining
frontier forests, allowing NGOs to see what is happening in the
forests, and helping them shine a spotlight on abuses, develop campaigns,
and negotiate forest-saving initiatives.
'debt for nature' swaps: the US Tropical Forest Conservation Act
allows developing countries to reduce their debts in exchange for
setting up a trust fund to pay for forest protection. In 2000, the
US allocated a very modest $13 million to the fund, and Bangladesh
received a write-off that frees up $8.5 million for forest protection
over 18 years. Every northern nation should enact similar legislation.
The best long-term
solution for forests that don't need permanent park protection is
eco-certification by the Forest Stewardship Council (www.fscoax.org/principal.htm).
The World Wildlife Fund is encouraging forest certification in Bolivia,
Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Britain
has certified 100% of its state forests. In Bolivia, 20% of the
forests under concession have been certified. WWF's goal is 100
million hectares by 2005; so far, 27 million hectares have been
certified in 56 countries. In Canada, 973,856 hectares have been
eco-certified, out of a total productive forestland of 205 million
hectares. We need federal and provincial legislation that would
require phased-in eco-certification for all working forests, by
a certain date.
There's a lot
we can do ourselves by reducing our consumption of oldgrowth timber
and paper products, and demanding eco-certified timber. The Friends
of Clayoquot Sound, Greenpeace and the Sierra Club have used this
tactic quite successfully, causing hundreds of companies in Europe
and North America to go ancient forest free. Now they are talking
to Japanese wood importers. IKEA has stated that it will get all
its wood from certified forests, and Home Depot has pledged not
use timber from endangered forest areas starting in 2003. According
to WWF, if the ten companies that dominate the world timber industry
were to adopt eco-certification, the world's growing demand could
be met by as little as 600 million hectares of forest - about twice
the size of India, or a fifth of the world's forests. This revolution
is just beginning - and only just in time. It's all good natural
- Guy Dauncey
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.
to: Louise Irwin, Anke van Leeuwen, Dianne Lade, Rosie Kaplan
(in New Zealand), Robbie Anderson, Brian Burchill, Donna Webb,
Robert Newton, Margaret Hutchinson, Katey Bloomfield, Tim &
Dianna O’Brien, Terry Esch, Nadine Cruikshanks, Michael Clague,
Kate Stevens, Hal Knight, Mel McDonald, Victoria World Federalists,
Hannelore Ioannides, Viginia Neale, Joyce Hale, Muriel Kenyon,
Joan Hurwood, Krista Kaptein, Lynn Husted, Chris Bullock, Janice
Stewart, Monica Ashwell, Bert & Liz Elliott, Monika Hall-Kowalewski,
Peter Schofield, Janice Turner, Anne Wilson, Ken Wardroper, Fred
Knelman, Roger Edwards, Susan Gage, Stefan Ochman, Jan Meadows,
Bob McKechnie, Philippa White, Keith Lundmark, Rob & Hilda
Matsuo, Cheryl Lumley, Dorothy Eastwood, Marlene Rice, Marilyn
Thaden Dexter, Ruth Masters, Barbara Scott, Erik & Miriam
Thorn, Cheryl Taves & Keith Baker, Lind Miller, Silvan Foreman,
Margaret Schubart, Lawrence Smith, Jocelyn Braithwaite, Sydney
Langhelt, Margaret Fear, Donald Thiers, Noelle Wass, Alan Philip,
FM Smythe, John Azar.
can be sent to EcoNews, 395 Conway Rd, Victoria, BC, V9E 2B9.
For a receipt, send stamped addressed envelope.
Eco-Pioneers - Partners with capital wanted to develop
a clean air, ecological community somewhere on Vancouver Island.
Call Jan, 250-746-7368
Organic Gardening program for people on social assistance
or low income. 2 days/week, mid-May – Sept, gardens in Colwood
& Sooke. Call Jackie Robson or David Stott, 478-1122
Life Celebration Productions: Highest quality photo/slide
montages on video for anniversaries, family albums, memorials
etc. Wedding reception video shows the couple's life from birth
to engagement,$390. For brochure/demo video, call Sylvie at 250-743-8886,
Summer sublet Furnished, colourful 2-BR, heart Fernwood.
June 1-Aug 31. Shared organic garden, fruit trees, fireplace,
skylight, deck, fenced yard, pet OK, NS. $750/mo incl. Andee Pelan
(250) 389-0206 firstname.lastname@example.org
Roommate (female) to share cottage on organic farm in Saanich.
ns. cat ok. $400+util. Possible work trade 652-1177
The Nanaimo Area Land Trust is looking for new members
in the Nanaimo area who care about the land. We protect with covenants,
stewardship campaigns, purchase of properties, etc. Admin@nalt.bc.ca
Congratulations to Vicky Husband, long time Sierra Club
activist, awarded the Order of Canada. Thanks to her personal
dedication, future generations will enjoy a greater wilderness
Congratulations to Al Craighead, long-time Victoria resident,
and ex-city councillor, now elected Deputy Leader of the BC Green
Environmentally ill Fairfield woman needs home support
1 afternoon/week. Mostly homework, errands, computer work possible.
Mandatory: applicant can lift 30 lbs; leads low-chemical lifestyle;
never uses fabric softener; never shares laundry facilities with
other users; never uses items of unknown laundry history (2nd
hand clothes). Desirable: car in good repair, chemically free.
Please call only if all 5 mandatory qualifications are met. 250-920-0036
at the University of California, Berkeley, have found a way to
make cheap plastic solar cells that are flexible enough to paint
onto any surface. The cell is made from tiny nanorods dispersed
in an organic polymer or plastic. A layer 200 nanometers thick
is sandwiched between electrodes, and produces 0.7 volts. This
is 1/10th the efficiency of regular solar cells, but
it’s a beginning. Coming next – nano-solar painted walls?
the "Science Fiction Becomes Fact" department: NASA
scientists have found that the Earth's crust holds a vast natural
reservoir of hydrogen trapped in ancient rocks, where bacteria
with no access to sunlight have evolved to rely on hydrogen as
their source of energy. The scientists think the hydrogen is produced
when water molecules trapped inside molten rock break down. Studies
of granite and olivine rocks have revealed extraordinarily high
levels of trapped hydrogen, but it’s so deep down that unless
there are large pools of hydrogen, as there are pools of gas,
it will be prohibitively expensive to get at. How do you mine
rock that is 15 miles underground? Hmm…
government is having such a hard time ratifying the Kyoto
Protocol; maybe they should take a leaf out of California’s book.
California lawmakers are looking at limiting greenhouse gas emissions
by requiring the state's Air Resources Board to adopt regulations
that would achieve "the maximum feasible reduction" in emissions.
The bill has passed the state Assembly and will be heard by the
Senate's appropriations committee on April 29th. If it becomes
law, the regulations would not take effect until at least 2006.
Automakers called it a veiled effort to increase fuel efficiency
and discriminate against SUVs. "I don't think a lot of soccer
moms in Marin County would appreciate that," said Eron Shosteck,
for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. Watch for a new
auto- financed astroturf NGO: "Soccer Mums United for Global
pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental
consequences of any job I consider and will try to improve these
aspects of any organizations for which I work." That’s the
pledge that graduates at Manchester College, Indiana, will be
taking this May, when about half the graduates will be wearing
a green ribbon pinned to their gowns as a way to promote social
and environmental awareness. The idea started at California’s
Humboldt State Univ in 1987, and is being used by 65 US colleges;
a further 200 have expressed an interest. So - which Canadian
college will be first to adopt the pledge? Details - email@example.com
think - very year, every men’s urinal in Victoria (and all around
the world) flushes some 30,000 gallons of water down the drain.
Every restaurant and workplace in the CRD, maybe 5,000 urinals?
That’s 150 million gallons a year. Enter the waterless urinal,
which uses a lighter-than-water fluid to trap the urine and let
it flow down the drain with no odours. Furthermore, the waterless
urinals are actually cheaper than the old ones. See www.waterless.com
13th is kick-off day for the Proportional Representation
initiative, designed to show that BC’s people want a more fair,
democratic and representative way of voting. Between May 13th
and August 12th, we need to gather 255,522 signatures
(10% in each riding) - you can help is by collecting signatures.
By the end of April, 1,949 people had registered as canvassers
(myself included). If we have 4,000, we’ll need to gather an average
of 60 signatures each. You can download the form at www.freeyourvote.bc.ca
keep us focussed, and remind us who’s the boss around here, the
Bush government has formed a Global Stomp Department. Here’s April’s
STOMP Report to the White House:
Item #1: Following advice from Exxon, we campaigned successfully
to get climate scientist Robert Watson removed as chair of the
UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; the guy believes
(with 99.9% of scientists, alas) that fossil fuel emissions cause
climate change. Last year, our White House Council on Environmental
Quality received a memo from our friends at Exxon Mobil asking,
"Can Watson be replaced, at the request of the US?" They also
recommended that we "restructure our attendance at upcoming IPCC
meetings to assure none of the Clinton/Gore proponents are involved
in decisional activities." In April 2002, we got Watson voted
off. Chalk it up!
Item #2: Until late April, a Brazilian diplomat called José
Bustani was director-general of the UN Organisation for the Prohibition
of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which enforces the chemical weapons
convention, inspects labs, factories and arsenals and oversees
weapons destruction. He’s been a popular leader, but he’s been
trying to negotiate Iraqi disarmament, instead of going to war.
So in March, we accused him of financial mismanagement, demoralization
of his staff, bias, and ill-considered initiatives, and advised
him to resign. He refused. Next, we proposed a vote of no confidence,
but we lost. So then we threatened to withdraw our OPCW funding,
threatening its collapse, and called a special session. Bingo!
Under the heavy pressure, he was voted out by 48 nations, with
43 abstentions. The guy stormed out of the conference hall and
said the vote lacked a legal basis – but hey – we won! Chalk it
Item #3: In Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez has been meeting
with Castro, and working with OPEC to keep the price of oil up.
We worked with business and church groups which dislike his approach,
and achieved a big demonstration and a successful coup ..er..
"change of government". The media were great, supporting
our line, and ignoring the fact that the guy’d been democratically
elected. Things went a bit wrong after that, and now he’s back
in power, so we’ll have to refine our tactics.
Item #4: In Florida, while 2,000 people were attending
Al "global warming" Gore’s big return to politics, 7,000
were attending a huge rally by maverick social critic Mike Moore,
author of the #1 best seller "Stupid White Men" (www.michaelmoore.com)
Hey – how did this get in here? Urgent message to White House
– can’t we get Michael Moore voted off something? Revoke his passport?
Send him to Lithubania?
where do we get all this stuff? Not from the regular Canadian
media, that’s for sure. So here’s the hot tips:
Caspar Davis (here in Victoria) runs a global quality "NS"
list, which reaches many parts the regular media can’t reach.
To join his list, send him a message at firstname.lastname@example.org
For the other US news, we read "The Daily Grist"
from Earthday, in Seattle, which provides five nicely packed stories,
each with a humorous edge. For details, see www.earthday.net
For global environmental news, we read Planet Ark, about
15 headline stories daily, at www.planetark.org
There’s more daily environmental news at www.enn.com
. These services are all free - so why miss out?
Plants at Great Prices
tomatoes. Vegetables. Herbs.
Roses. Bamboos. Shrubs.
– we all have a pretty heavy eco-footprint, up here in Canada.
If you want to check out your own lifestyle, and see how many
planets you’d need if we all lived this way, the folks at Seattle
EarthDay have teamed up with the folks at "Redefining Progress"
(who brought us the "Genuine Progress Indicators", to
balance GDP) to produce a d-i-y footprint analysis. You’ll find
freshly milled, organic flour, HAGGIS FARM BAKERY has been supporting
local families for over 15 years on Saturna Island.
fresh, Monday and Thursday, in Victoria, from Seed of Life, Peninsula
Co-op, Lifestyle Market and Island View Freezer.
In the wake of Enron’s moral melt-down, the UK oil company BP
(which now stands for ‘Beyond Petroleum") has announced that
it will cease giving any political contributions from corporate
funds anywhere in the world.
In the run-up to the Kananaskis G-8 Summit in June, the Canadian
government cancelled all $83.6 million of the debts Tanzania owes
Canada. In the big picture, Tanzania’s external debt grew from
$6.3 billion in 2000 to $7.9 billion in 2001.
Staples has started selling tree-free paper called "Vanguard
Recycled Plus" (90% post-consumer recycled, 10% hemp/flax,
acid-free & process chlorine-free) in over 1,000 stores. Let
them know you approve! While you’re at it, ask them to stop selling
regular paper cut from BC’s old-growth forests.
If you’re thinking of holidaying in the Kananaskis area in late
June, you’ll find all the details you’ll need at www.g8.activist.ca.
More next month.
If you are interested in Garry oak ecosystems preservation and
restoration, you can join the Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team
listserve – send a message to email@example.com
Environmental Law Centre’s 5th
22nd, 5-9 pm
Gibson House in Oak Bay
wine, food and music
support will ensure we can continue to provide high quality, pro
bono environmental legal services in our community.
CICERO LIVED TODAY
welfare of the planet is
the highest law"
mundi suprema est lex"
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