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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. 119 - Serving the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island - Sept 2002


THE BIOLOGY OF HOPE

There 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?

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.

To 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.

There 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.

The US military budget for 2003 is $396 billion – over $1,000 million dollars a day. The US President declined to attend the Johannesburg Summit.

Each 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.

And 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.

There 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.

Why? Because they were engaged. They were committed to do whatever it took to overcome the monstrosity that had overtaken Europe.

This 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.

Engagement: 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.

It 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 at it.

In 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).

In 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.

In 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 economic development.

In 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.

For 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.

What 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 are active.

When 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.

Guy Dauncey


ECONEWS

AG00119_.gif (2913 bytes)A 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.

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A 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.

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

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THE ECO-CORNER

$5/line (non-profits & low-income free) 1" box ad $35, $2" box ad $65

* 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. rec-bgca@shaw.ca

* 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, trichards@vipirg.ca www.vipirg.ca

* For rent - cabin on Denman Island near lake. Work trade with quiet, conscientious garden lover preferred. Patrick & Jane 250 335 1605.


THE WAY OF A NATION (1)

When a country obtains great power,

it becomes like the sea:

all streams run downward into it.

The more powerful it grows,

the greater the need for humility.

Humility means trusting the Tao,

thus never needing to be defensive.

A great nation is like a great man:

When he makes a mistake, he realizes it. Having realized it, he admits it.

Having admitted it, he corrects it.

He considers those who point out his faults as his most benevolent teachers.

He thinks of his enemy

as the shadow that he himself casts.

If a nation is centered in the Tao,

if it nourishes its own people

and doesn't meddle in the affairs of others, it will be a light to all nations in the world.

Tao Te Ching Lao-tzu (551-479 BCE)


THE WAY OF A NATION (2)

"The 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


IRISH BAGS ARE GOING

It’s 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?

Action: clip this story and send it to David.Anderson@ec.gc.ca (See www.environ.ie/whatsnew/pblevyinfo.html)


Share Organics

More than just an Organic Produce Box
Join us in nurturing local food production
* Supporting local organic farmers
* Farmers in Transition to organics
* Fair Trade Products

www.shareorganics.bc.ca 595-6729


PENDER’S ECO-KIDS

On 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.

This 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 echo@gulfislands.com


OREGON’S GE FOOD PETITION

On 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


A SHAM PARKS PROCESS

"Goldstream 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 and logging.


TOP GREEN STOCKS

They 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:

AstroPower (APWR)

Axfood (AXFO)

Ballard Power Systems (BLDP)

Chiquita (CQB)

Electrolux (ELUX)

FuelCell Energy (FCEL)

Green Mountain Coffee (GMCR)

Henkel (HNKG.BE )

Herman Miller (MLHR)

Horizon Organic Dairy (HCOW)

JM Inc. (JM.ST)

Kyocera (KYO)

NEG Micon (Neg.CO)

SCA (SC.AB)

STMicroelectronics (STM)

Swiss Re (SWX: RUKN)

Tomra Systems (TMRAY)

United Natural (UNFI)

Vestas (VWS.CO)

Whole Foods (WFMI)

Details: www.sustainablebusiness.com


ORGANIC GOLF

You 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.


ECO-GARDENING!

Want 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. www.citygreen.ca

And 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.


THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF WEB

Links and connections that have passed my way, which I thought I'd pass on:

The Johannesburg Earth Summit
www.guardian.co.uk/worldsummit2002

Radio Earth Summit
On-line voices and actions from Johannesburg
www.radioearthsummit.org

Help Save Amina Lawal
You 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.
www.mertonai.org/amina

Make Trade Fair
Join 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.

Albertans for Ratifying Kyoto (ARK)
72% 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. See www.web.ca/~ark

European Wind Power Photos
This 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

Oceans at Risk.
Every 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

And finally - The Winchester Crop Circle
You 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


ACTION OF THE MONTH
SAVE EAST CREEK www.saveeastcreek.com

Up 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.

Action:

It’s 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:

Hon Stan Hagen, Minister of Sustainable Resource Management,

Legislative Assembly, Victoria V8V 1X4 (250) 356-9076 Fax 356-827 stan.hagen.mla@leg.bc.ca

Thanks!


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EcoNews, Guy Dauncey
395 Conway Road, Victoria V8X 3X1
Tel/Fax (250) 881-1304

Author of "Stormy Weather: 101 Solutions to Global Climate Change"
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