No. 119 - Serving the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island -
BIOLOGY OF HOPE
were big things happening in Johannesburg in late August at the
World Summit on Sustainable Development, the biggest gathering ever
to occur on Earth dedicated to….well, what was it dedicated
To some, it was dedicated to the quest for yet more growth and economic
development, on the dubious argument that economic growth makes
a country prosperous, enabling it to clean up its environment. Call
it ‘sustainable’ development, to make it sound good.
others, it was dedicated to achieving a desperately needed turn-around
in our values and goals, before the pressure-driven quest for constant
growth drives us over the cliff-edge of ecological collapse.
is a litany of loss that is far too familiar. Each of its lines
tells of forests that are being torn down, oceans being stripped
of their fish, farmland being pumped full of poisons. How can we
listen? The litany is equally strong in the poorer nations of the
South. More development of the kind we are doing – even under the
‘sustainable’ logo – will not bring freedom from poverty. It might
increase GDP – but it won’t bring genuine progress.
US military budget for 2003 is $396 billion – over $1,000 million
dollars a day. The US President declined to attend the Johannesburg
line of the litany cries out for help. "But who am I",
we say, "to make a difference? I’m just one small individual,
living my life the best I can." The issues are so big; it is
so easy to feel helpless.
yet this is the crucial moment. This is the time, now, when we must
decide which road we take – whether we continue down the comfortable
road that is leading us to destruction (called ‘progress’), or turn
onto a new road, and invent our goals and hopes anew. We must decide
it in every country, every city, every business, every home.
is an interesting thing about hope and hopelessness. When Britain
was alone in Europe in 1940, when Nazi Germany had conquered all
and was embarking on Russia, very few felt hopeless. The hour seemed
as dark as it was possible to be – and yet the people remained determined,
and full of hope.
Because they were engaged. They were committed to do whatever
it took to overcome the monstrosity that had overtaken Europe.
is the wonderful enigma, the paradox of hope. For when hopelessness
meets engagement, in a determined commitment to success, hopelessness
withers and disappears. It is not a rational process: it feels more
biological. Maybe there are hormones or something similar which
kick in the way endorphins do when you’ve been running for 30 minutes.
However it works, it achieves a miracle: After a few months of engagement,
it starts to transform the grey death of hopelessness into the determined
spirit of hope.
this is the secret which can abolish hopelessness, and turn our
world around. Commitment to make a difference, in whatever way we
can, supported by the friendship and encouragement of others who
are doing the same.
really doesn’t matter where you begin. There are ten thousand ways
to engage in the changes that are needed – so choose the ones that
intersect with your passions. That way, you’ll have fun while you’re
every household, we can change the food we eat (more organic), the
coffee we drink (Fair Trade), the way we garden (without pesticides),
the way we travel (more bikes and feet).
every business, we can change the materials we use, the pollution
we release, the waste we generate, the commitment to social responsibility.
We can explore a process such as The Natural Step, and start moving
the business, step by step, towards eco-sustainability.
every city, we can encourage more public participation, plan more
pedestrian spaces, eliminate more toxins, allow more urban farms,
reduce more greenhouse gas emissions, invest in more transit and
LRTs, build more affordable housing, and encourage more community
every college and school…. And so it goes on. I don’t need to make
the lists. Anyone can do it, if you put your mind to it.
this is the astonishing thing. In every realm of human endeavour,
be it forestry, urban design, gardening, producing energy, treating
sewage, growing food, having a baby, painting a house, or even manufacturing
a car, there are Earth-friendly models and success stories that
can inspire and give guidance.
it needs, right now, is simply that more people become engaged.
There are so many opportunities – and I’m not talking about simply
joining a protest, or something like that. Engagement means becoming
involved in implementing solutions, in whatever walk of life you
we cast our minds towards hopelessness, we can feel the energy drain
away. But if we cast them towards engagement, the biology of hope
starts to run through our veins. And that’s a mighty good payoff.
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 fulfillment.
big thankyou to Denise Savoie, Katie
Bloomfield, Max Halber, HF Taggart, Karen Chapple, Roger Smeeth,
JM Gerlach, Barbara Benoit, Pru Moore, Henri Lock, Diane Mothersill,
Marion Cumming, Elli Boisvert, Jane Fawkes, Elizabeth Nuse, Sara
Stallard & Arnold McCutcheon.
can be sent to EcoNews, 395 Conway Rd, Victoria, BC, V9E 2B9.
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The SOUL of IAN HUNTER has left his body. He is my friend
and heroic inspiration, being an able explorer of inner space,
a LIBERTARIAN and HEMP ACTIVIST !!! For PEACE and PROSPERITY,
with HUMOUR and GENIUS, IAN faced the political and judicial systems
COURAGEOUSLY. He shared with and is dear to thousands of kind
SPIRITS. Michael Poole.
Salt Spring Growing Circle natural foods co-op seeks
general manager. Must have significant managerial, supervisory
retail grocery experience; operational & financial skills,
excellent communications, leadership & interpersonal skills.
Experience with co-ops v. desirable. Fax qualifications, resume,
and salary expectations to GM Cte 250-537-4377.
Take Action for Cleaner Air by volunteering on Sept 11th,
12th or 13th at the free, no fees, no fines Vehicle Emissions
Clinic. Call Deanna or Deb, Burnside Gorge Community Centre, 388-5251,
and sign up for a four-hour shift. firstname.lastname@example.org
Research assistance. Does your social justice or environmental
organization need research assistance? The Vancouver Island Public
Interest Research Group links UVic students to local organizations
for action oriented research through its Research Internship Program.
Call 721-8629, email@example.com
For rent - cabin on Denman Island near lake. Work trade
with quiet, conscientious garden lover preferred. Patrick &
Jane 250 335 1605.
WAY OF A NATION (1)
a country obtains great power,
becomes like the sea:
streams run downward into it.
more powerful it grows,
greater the need for humility.
means trusting the Tao,
never needing to be defensive.
great nation is like a great man:
he makes a mistake, he realizes it. Having realized it, he admits
admitted it, he corrects it.
considers those who point out his faults as his most benevolent
thinks of his enemy
the shadow that he himself casts.
a nation is centered in the Tao,
it nourishes its own people
doesn't meddle in the affairs of others, it will be a light to
all nations in the world.
Te Ching Lao-tzu (551-479 BCE)
WAY OF A NATION (2)
measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply
social values more noble than mere monetary profit." - Franklin
Roosevelt, 1933 Inaugural Address
BAGS ARE GOING
a very small thing, in the order of global affairs, but it’s telling.
In Ireland, 3.9 people were using 1.2 billion plastic bags a year,
which were littering the landscape everywhere. A few minutes of
use, followed by 10 – 20 years as litter, or in a landfill, and
there’s the chemicals used to make them too. They’re a symbol
of our general wastefulness as a society. So this March, the government
brought in a 23 cent green surcharge on every bag, and the result
has been instantaneous. The use of plastic bags has fallen by
92% as people have shifted to re-usable bags, and the government
has netted $5 million, which it is using to set up an Office for
Environmental Enforcement to help dispose of unwanted fridges
and freezers. The levy must be passed on to the consumer, and
does not apply to smaller bags used for dairy products, fruit,
vegetables, nuts, confectionery, cooked food, fresh meat, fish
and poultry. The UK (10 billion bags a year) is about bring in
a similar tax. It’s so simple. Tax bads, not goods. So why not
here in Canada?
clip this story and send it to David.Anderson@ec.gc.ca
than just an Organic Produce Box
us in nurturing local food production
local organic farmers
in Transition to organics
Pender Island, all is not as environmentally friendly as the cottages
and the ocean might seem. Earlier this year, the Gulf Islands
School Board asked its pesticide contractor if it thought the
Pender Island school should be sprayed for anything. Well for
sure, the contractor replied, and proceeded to spray against carpenter
ants – probably with diazinon. Short-term acute effects from over-exposure
to diazinon include headache, nausea, flu-like symptoms and, in
more severe cases, heart problems or seizures. A 1998 EPA study
found that some symptoms of short-term over-exposure to diazinon
may "persist for months or years after the initial exposure."
Diazinon is currently classified as a non-carcinogen, but one
study in Missouri showed that children of parents who used diazinon
in the garden faced an increased risk of brain cancer. Studies
of farmers by the National Cancer Institute have shown an increased
risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma associated with diazinon.
May, two young children from Pender, Nicholas and Naomi Wilde,
attended the UN Children’s Conference on the Environment in Victoria,
and when they came home, they set up PECK – Pender Environmentally
Conscious Kids. With ten young members so far, they have done
a beach clean-up, pulled broom, and launched a petition asking
the Gulf Islands School Board to stop using pesticides in the
school. For carpenter ants, egg shells, red pepper, borax, calcium
dust, bonemeal, diatomaceous earth or powdered charcoal can be
scattered at house entry points. (See www.winnipeg-bugline.com/ants.html)
They are looking for support from the other Gulf Islands to persuade
the school Board to change its ways – call 250-629-6087 firstname.lastname@example.org
GE FOOD PETITION
July 5th, Oregon Concerned Citizens for Safe Foods turned in 101,255
signatures to the Secretary of State's office to qualify a voter-initiative
to require the labeling of genetically engineered food - enough
to qualify for the November Oregon ballot. Oregon will be the
first state in the country to vote on the right-to-know about
genetically engineered food. The grassroots campaign is now moving
into a higher gear, as it seeks to win the majority support that
it will need to win in November. See www.labelgefoods.org
SHAM PARKS PROCESS
Park - Members Day-Passes $5, Non-Members $10. Join the Frequent
Hiker Club, and save 10% on future visits! Buy your Goldstream
Commemorative Coffee Cup here!" If a BC park falls during
a Recreation Stewardship Panel hearing, does anybody hear? This
is a very alarming question, because the Liberal government seems
to have set its mind on privatizing BC’s parks, regardless of
what the public thinks. It has set up a Recreation Stewardship
Panel which is holding private, invitation only meetings, and
is not allowing any public meetings. The Panel has been
given a ridiculously short time-frame to do its work, considering
how much BC people love their parks, and most of the invitations
are going out to people with hunting, angling, business and tourism
interests. The government appears quite willing to gut the BC
Park Act. In response, 56 environmental organizations have signed
a Declaration on the Principles of Parks, See www.wildernesscommittee.org,
and attend the ‘Parks in Peril’ Sierra Club meeting on Sept 24th
(see Diary). During the summer, the Western Canada Wilderness
Committee also organized a successful information picket of Manning
Park, causing Western Forests Products to back off from plans
to build a logging road through the park, and a similar picket
on the Sea-to-Sky highway, gathering support against the government’s
thoughts of rescinding the South Chilcotins Mountains Park, 150
km north of Whistler, and opening it up for industrial mining
say that when stocks are low is a good time to buy. But if you
want to invest in socially and environmentally responsible companies,
how do you decide what’s good and who’s just pretending? The Progressive
Investor, published by Rona Fried, founder of SustainableBusiness.com,
has just issued a list of the Top 20 All-Star Green Stock Picks
(the SB20). Each of the companies chosen is outstanding financially,
and making an exceptional commitment to sustainability. So for
your eco-broker, or your on-line trading spree, here’s the list:
Power Systems (BLDP)
Organic Dairy (HCOW)
don’t see many environmentalists out on the green, but that doesn’t
mean a golf course must always be a den of pesticides. On Salt
Spring, the Blackburn Meadows Golf Club is managed organically
– no chemicals. The 1608 yard course keeps many of its former
natural features to maintain the flourishing bird and wildlife
population – see www.bmgcssi.com/golf.
Audubon International also runs a Cooperative Sanctuary Program
for golf courses to protect wildlife habitat, reduce water and
pesticide use, and practice environmental stewardship.(www.audubonintl.org/programs/acss/
golf.htm). If people must swing their clubs, let’s at least
make the courses as eco-friendly as possible.
to go pesticide-free? Victoria’s City Green has published a great
little guide called ‘Pesticide Free Naturally’, packed
full of detailed advice, which comes with a sign you can place
in your garden when you’re free of the chemicals. It’s just $5,
so give them a call at 381-9995 to ask where you can find one.
got spare fruit? Don’t let it rot, or go to waste. The
LifeCycles Victoria Fruit Tree Project will come
and harvest it to share with you, the pickers, the local food
banks and community kitchens. Call them at 383-5800.
WONDERFUL WORLD OF WEB
connections that have passed my way, which I thought I'd pass
voices and actions from Johannesburg
may have heard the case of the Nigerian woman, Amina Lawal, who
has lost her appeal against execution by stoning (for "adultery"),
once her baby daughter is weaned. Amnesty International Merton
group (UK) says it is one of the worst cases they have ever followed.
Please take a second to click on this link and sign the letter
to the President of Nigeria.
Oxfam's global campaign to make trade fair. Click on www.maketradefair.com,
and join 47,000 other people who have
signed so far to make a Big Noise. Take Action. Spread The Word.
Make Trade Fair.
for Ratifying Kyoto (ARK)
of Albertans want the Canadian government to ignore Ralph Klein,
and ratify the Kyoto Protocol on global climate change. If you
have friends in Alberta, please tell them about this new initiative.
Wind Power Photos
website has an extensive collection of images of European wind
installations, with collection of images of how birds and turbines
get along just fine. www.windpowerphotos.com
day, thousands of fish, turtles, dolphins and other marine life
are drowned, crushed, and suffocated after being caught on fishing
hooks and nets meant for other species. Every year, an estimated
44 billion pounds of unwanted, dead or dying fish and countless
numbers of turtles, porpoises, and sharks are simply thrown overboard.
Take 30 seconds to help stop this senseless destruction - www.OceansAtRisk.com
- The Winchester Crop Circle
might have seen the film 'Signs' on crop circles that's in cinemas
now, and thought "what a stupid film". Well, take a look at this,
that appeared in a field near Winchester (UK) on August 15th -
and come to your own conclusions. www.temporarytemples.co.uk/2002-face.html
OF THE MONTH
EAST CREEK www.saveeastcreek.com
on the west coast of Vancouver Island, tucked in just north of
the Brooks Peninsula, lies a vast and ancient rainforest that
may be among the oldest in the world. It is known as East Creek,
and it is one of only six pristine primary watersheds larger than
5000 hectares that are left on the Island. The other 84 have all
been roaded and logged to a varying extent. The forests of the
Brooks Peninsula escaped glaciation 10,000 years ago, providing
a refuge for life while ice plates scoured the rest of the land.
Today, it shelters eagles, wolves, bears, black tailed deer, Roosevelt
Elk, five species of salmon, the endangered Marbled Murrelet,
and a magnificent, ancient oldgrowth fir and cedar forest. It
is the traditional territory of the Quatsino First Nation and
– yes, you guessed it - it is proposed for logging and road building
as early as this winter. LeMare Lake Logging has received the
go-ahead to make 17 cutblocks over the next five years, totalling
260 hectares, more than half of which will be clearcuts.
not easy to visit, but you can take an e-visit at www.saveeastcreek.com.
And please come to the launch of the Save East Creek Citizens
Committee, on September 17th (see Diary). And – letter-writers!
- please send your thoughts about this to:
Stan Hagen, Minister of Sustainable Resource Management,
Assembly, Victoria V8V 1X4 (250) 356-9076 Fax 356-827 email@example.com
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