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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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Contact Econews

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. 121 - Serving the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island - Nov 2002


IMAGINE – A GREEN DEMOCRACY?

Let’s face it. In May 2005, there will be an election in BC, and if the NDP and the Green Party continue to split the vote, the Liberals will be re-elected with another big majority. They may only get a minority of the votes, but it’ll give them a majority of the seats.

At a time when we are about to vote for new municipal councils, it is good to turn our minds to the issue no-one wants to talk about. BC is being ruled by an ideologically driven government, whose MLAs appear to have little understanding of nature, ecology, social responsibility, or the needs of people on lower incomes. And yet as long as we are divided in opposition, they’ll continue to rule.

I write as a keen member of the Green Party, and a supporter of Jack Layton for leader of the federal NDP. Call it politically schizoid, if you want; I call it pragmatically sensible. Neither the NDP nor the Green Party is going to fade away. They are both here to stay. We have to find a way to work together.

It is statistically valid to argue that George Bush is only in power because Ralph Nader and the US Green Party were unwilling to stand down in key swing seats, such as Florida, trading their sacrifice for future influence with President Gore. With Bush swinging the axes of war, it may be one of the more disastrous decisions in world history.

If (a big if) BC’s Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform recommends a system of Proportional Representation voting; and if (another big if) the people of BC vote for such a change in the promised referendum at the May 2005 election, the May 2009 election will use the ProRep voting system for the first time in North America. The NDP and the Greens will receive seats in proportion to the number of votes cast, and if they win enough votes, they may be able to rule in coalition, as they do in many European countries, and in New Zealand.

If they are to govern together successfully, however, the Greens and the NDP will have to learn to work together. This will mean practicing the art of compromise, and respect. If the coalition collapses in an embarrassing display of name-calling, the public will be quick to punish them by returning the Liberals to power.

So if we’re going to have to cooperate then, why not start now?

The glue that holds a political party together is part vision, part organization, and part trusting relationships. Right now, there is almost no trust between the NDP and the Greens – just a smoldering mix of irritation and blame. Nothing will work until we fix this.

So here’s my proposal. With or without out the blessing of the party leaders, (who can’t take this kind of initiative without full and formal party discussion) grassroots members of local Green and NDP constituency groups decide to get together and plan a party – with a difference.

The deal is this: you’re all in a room together, and the goal is to make friendships, and discover how much you share, not how much divides you.

After the introductions, there are facilitated circles where you discuss fundamental beliefs, different issues, or whatever you want, with the goal of finding common ground. If any two people think they have a non-negotiable difference, they go off to a part of the room called "We Differ", where a facilitator helps them explore the exact nature of their difference. To the extent that it really is non-negotiable, it gets listed.

If anyone wants to indulge in recriminations, that’s fine, but they have to go to another part of the room called "Digging up the Past", where they can express their distress, and have it properly recorded. Hurt and anger are understandable, but they can’t be allowed to sabotage the possibility of a new beginning.

The net result, hopefully, might be that people agree to invite more members to share the same experience. After a while, they might agree to move on, and start exploring potential landmines which could cause it all to fall apart.

The ideal result, after much friendship building, might be that a Grand Council of both parties agrees to divide the candidacies at the May 2005 election, so that Green candidates stand down in some seats, while NDPers stand down in others. It will take a lot of trust and goodwill to do this without inciting a grassroots rebellion from members who may feel betrayed – hence the need for trust and friendship.

If, as a result, there were enough Green and NDP MLAs to form a government, they’d need to form a coalition – so the trust would begin to pay off. This is not about forming one party - it’s about celebrating our differences, and cooperating, for the sake of all BC. You may say I’m a dreamer – but I’m not the only one. If not this – then what?

Guy Dauncey


FALL APPEAL

Dear Readers,

The leaves will soon be turning, as Nature begins to tuck herself in, and the EcoNews bank account would love to feel that same cosy feeling, since it’s very (very) empty. Could you help fill it up?

EcoNews has been financed by donations from its readers ever since it started in 1991, 120 issues ago. It costs $1,100 a month to produce, and for this, we reach over 6,000 people, including every B.C. MLA and local politician. In an average month, donations bring in around $550, so twice a year we need to reach out and ask for your help.

If you enjoy reading EcoNews and value the information that it provides, would you consider making a donation? (Cheques payable to EcoNews).

EcoNews, 395 Conway Road, Victoria, B.C. V9E 2B9

EcoNews is not charity tax-deductible, but if you would like a receipt, please enclose a stamped self-addressed envelope.

If you have a friend who might like to receive EcoNews, include their name, and we'll send them a copy.


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.

Sept Oct Nov
Circulation: 2100 2100 2100
By Email: 1265 1265 1308
Print & Post: $776 $944 $800
Editorial: $250 $250 $250
Donations: $440 $2569 You?
Advertising: $100 $225
Balance: -$175 $1455

Many thanks to Susan Scott, Anke van Leeuwen, Ellie Roelofsen, Peter Spurr, Walter Riegel, Margaret Fear, Fred Knelman, Barbara Hourston, Joanna Manley, Nina Raginsky, Jim Stilburn, Judith Cullington, Audrey Woodward, Ken Wardroper, Andrée Gleichauf, Netha Selene, Susan Coward, Petra Durrance, Marilyn Thaden Dexter, David Greer, Maggie Salmond, Elizabeth Woods, Walter Meyer zu Erpen, Paula Khan, Moireen Phillips, Robbie Newton, Ann Tasko, Peter Schofield, Anne Clemence, John McPherson, Marlene Rice, Nöel Taylor, Terra Verde Glassworks, Ed Mackenzie, Martin Weideman, Vince Cummings, Daniel Harper, Richard de Candole, Wayne Madden, Lani Royce, Dorle Kneifel, Andrew Pringle, Daphne Taylor, Hal Knight, Jocelyn Braithwaite, Chris Garrett, Mel McDonald, Constance Mungall, Rob Wickson, Lifecycles, Rich Atwood, Blaise Salmon, Brian Pinch, Anne Gower, Corp of District of Saanich., Pamela Harbord, Miyo Stevens, Diane Angus, Ray Arnault, Laurence Smith, Gary Greenstein & Louise Irwin.

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

EcoNews by email: fill out the form at the top of the page!


THE ECO-CORNER

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

* Volunteers needed to help at the Goldstream Salmon Run until Dec 8th. Since provincial funding was cut, the Nature House is barely making it. Call Darren or Carol, 478-9414.

* The Land Conservancy’s Working Capital Fund seeks investors to help the TLC embark on an intensive fundraising and awareness program to help us step up the pace in continuing to protect BC’s critical habitat. Min $10,000 investment; annual 4% interest; principle paid out after 3 years. TLC is a successful, non-profit land trust that works to protect special places. Kari Frazer, 589-8096

* Water conservation engineer technician youth intern wanted to work in El Salvador with the Gaia Project. See www.gaiaproject.bc.ca

* EcoVillage: Are you interested in developing an ecovillage arrangement on Southern Vancouver Island? Call Michael 595-2393. Needs ability to work together, and manage $150,000.

* Volunteer or group wanted willing to compile the annual regional EarthDay/EarthWeek schedule, next spring. Call Doug Koch 383-5765.

* Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary seeks volunteers to help build a trail on Christmas Hill. Call Joan, 479-0211.

* Concerned about pollution? Be part of the solution! The Office Paper Buying Club offers chlorine-free recycled paper, 27% below retail. Order deadline Nov 15th. $57/$60 per case (5000 sheets) + tax, delivery. Pay in advance. Reach for Unbleached. Delores Broten dbroten@rfu.org 250-935-6992

* Vacancy: Environmental Educators on the Sierra Club’s school program team. HRDC, EI & Reachback recipients only. Closing date Nov 22nd. See www.sierraclub.ca/bc/education

* Thankyou, EcoNews firewood customers. I won’t be able to supply any more cordwood, alas–the woodlot’s about perfect! Peter 652-2613

* Cyclists: Congratulations to the new Board of the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition. President: Bill Maylone. Directors: Janet Besler, Alastair Craighead, Allan Dunlop, Lindsay Hill, Richard Miller, Patrick O'Connor, Mike Poplawski, Norah Scholten, Brian Collier, Sarah Tarry, Cory Waters. www.gvcc.bc.ca

* The Ecoforestry Institute seeks a volunteer editor for its quarterly journal, "Ecoforestry." Call retiring editor Don Vipond to talk - 652-5491.


UVIC, 2017 AD

Heather Johnstone writes: Imagine the University of Victoria campus 15 years in the future… Do you see intact greenspace and flourishing ecosystems? Do you see a campus designed for pedestrians, with green transportation? Have building practices such as densification helped create a more vibrant and complete community? Has UVic implemented new waste recycling technologies? UVic is currently asking for feedback on its Draft Campus Plan for the future. This is a golden opportunity to make UVic a model of sustainability, but without meaningful input by you – students, neighbours, and community members – the opportunity will be missed, and UVic will be locked into an unsustainable pattern of unimaginative development. Demand Smart Growth from your University! There are workshops on Nov 14th, 18th and 23rd (see Diary). For details, call UVic POLIS Project, 472-4637. www.demandsmartgrowth.org


WOLVES AND COUGARS

Nitya Harris has new numbers on the proposed wolf & cougar cull: "The number of deer on Vancouver Island has fallen fourfold from 200,000 in 1980 to 55,000 in 2001. In the same period, 133,000+ were taken by hunters. As the prey decreases, so do their predators. Cougars have fallen from c750 in 1995 to c350 in 2001, with hunters killing over 400. Wolves have fallen from c400 in 1986 to under 200 in 2001, with hunters killing an unknown number." The cause is the loss of oldgrowth forest, the deer’s winter habitat. So what’s the solution? Cull the remaining wolves and cougars, or place a moratorium on deer-hunting? Please write to Joyce Murray on the issue – PO Box 9047, Stn Prov Gov, Victoria V8W 9E2.


BIOMIMICRY

Heather McAndrew writes: "Biomimicry", the title of Janine Benyus's acclaimed book, is innovation

inspired by nature - looking at how the expert (Mother Nature) has been solving problems for thousands of years. "Genius" says Benyus, "is all around us", if we just look closely enough. Since writing the book Benyus has been asked by countless U.S. companies to help them solve environmental problems. All she does, she says, is ask questions and help point the designers, architects, carpet manufacturers and urban planners (etc) to think outside the box, to the way nature might already be doing it. Benyus's book is the focus of two new "Nature of Things" programs (Nov. 14 and 21) directed by Victoria's David Springbett. The first will be launched in Victoria on Nov. 3 (see Green Diary) when Benyus and Springbett will be present to answer audience questions. This and her two workshop events, one for students and one for industry professionals are being sponsored by the Restoration of Natural Systems program at UVIC.


MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS

On November 16th, we go to the polls to elect new councillors for the next 3 years. If you have these three things, you can change the world: (1) a majority of supportive councillors; (2) supportive staff at City Hall; (3) a strong citizen’s organization working for the vision you believe in. EcoNews has consulted its experts, and here are some recommended candidates. If you only support 3, only vote for 3, since other votes will support their rivals.

Victoria: Jacquie Ackerly, Rob Fleming, Dean Fortin, Pam Madoff. Denise Savoie, Bryan Skinner (www.vote.vce.ca ), Philippe Lucas (www.philippelucas.ca ).

Oak Bay: Christin Geall, Nils Jensen

Saanich: Judy Brownoff, David Cubberley, Vic Derman, Gracie MacDonald, Jennifer Neely, Carol Pickup.

Central Saanich: There’s a battle brewing here, with an organized slate of pro-development candidates who want to tear into the Agricultural Land Reserve. Here are the "Keep it Green" candidates: For Mayor: Allison Habkirk. For Council: Chris Graham, Michelle Haddon, Zeb King, Rhonda Korol, Susan Mason, Robert Thompson.

North Saanich: Heather Goulet (www.hermessenger.com ), Cairine Green, Annie Schoones, Keith Thomas

Sidney: James Bechard, Jeanette Hughes, Marilyn Loveless, Peter Wainwright.

Highlands: Jane Eert, Sandy McPherson, Jane Mendum

Esquimalt & View Royal: not researched. Langford & Sooke: No recommendations.

Colwood: Jason Nault

Metchosin: Ed Cooper, Kym Hill, Leslie Zinger

Juan de Fuca: Erik Lund

School District #61: Lyse Burgess (www.lyseburgess.ca ); Andrew Weaver: (www.members.shaw.ca/ajweaver ); Charley Beresford, Bev Horsman, Michael McEvoy, Ruth McIntosh, Mark Walsh.

ALL CANDIDATE MEETINGS

Victoria: Mon 4th, 7pm: Vic High

Wed 6th, 7pm Sir James Douglas

Thur 7th, 7pm, Oaklands C’ty Center

Fri 8th, 1:30pm, 1-380 Cook Street

Wed 13th, 11:30am, 638 Fisgard

Oak Bay: Fri 8th, 7pm, Monterey Centre. School Trustees - Thur 14th, 7pm Willows School

Saanich:

Tue 5th, 7pm Gordon Head Rec Centre

Wed 6th, 11:30am Cedar Hill Golf Club

Thur 7th, 7:30 Claremont Secondary

Thur 14th, 7:30 Lochside Elementary

Central Saanich

Thur 7th, 7pm: Brentwood Elementary

North Saanich: Tue 5th, 7pm Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Willingdon Rd.

Sidney: Wed 6th, 7:30 Mary Winspear.


THE SAANICH NATURESCAPE CHALLENGE

Angela Evans writes: If you garden in Saanich and provide space for nature, this is a contest for you! The race is on to see which of Saanich’s 12 neighbourhoods register the largest proportion of ‘Naturescape’ properties by June 2003. Churches, farms, single houses, schools, apartments, townhouses and businesses are all eligible, renters and owners alike. Naturescaping means providing space for wildlife in your landscape - as small as a butterfly or as large as a deer. Naturescaping attracts wildlife to our backyards, preserves native plant species, reduces the need to water and mow, and fosters land stewardship at the neighbourhood level. In January, the Mayor will announce which neighbourhood is leading. Naturescape kits can be purchased at the Saanich Planning counter at 770 Vernon Ave. www.hctf.ca/nature.htm 475-5494.


WASHINGTON STATE’S SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES

It’s not far to Washington, just south of the border, but sometimes it seems as if it’s a century away. Their Governor, Gary Locke, has just signed an executive order that requires all state agencies to adopt environmentally sustainable practices, including the use of energy efficient products, recycled materials, and conservation programs. Locke signed the order after the first meeting of the Governor’s Sustainable Washington Advisory Panel, which will focus on developing an action plan for a sustainable Washington. All state agencies are now required to establish sustainability objectives, and prepare a biennial plan to modify their practices. www.sustainableseattle.org/sustpanel


PORTO ALEGRE’S COMMUNITY BUDGETING

It’s different – very different. Can you imagine this happening in Saanich, or Sooke? Porto Alegre, a fast growing city of 1.2 million people in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, ran into problems when its passive political culture and centralized, non-transparent government failed to resolve arguments over how its limited resources should be spent - water and sewers for poorer neighbourhoods, or clean streets and parks for richer areas? To resolve the conflict, the city devised a new method of participatory budgeting. They divided the city into 16 regions, and established 5 theme structures covering urban development, transportation, health & social services, education and culture, and financial/tax planning. Every year, in every regions and each of the theme structures, 2 large meetings are held. At the first meeting, the previous year’s investment plan and expenditures are scrutinized; at the second, new priorities are selected and councillors are elected by direct democracy to represent these priorities. There are also many sub-regional and thematic meetings, to ensure that every street, regional and thematic grouping is able to voice its concerns.

The newly elected delegates prepare a new Investment Plan and send it to City Hall, where it is debated by the regularly elected representatives, who have the right to modify and amend it, but not to make any fundamental changes. Between 15 & 25% of Porto Alegre’s annual budget is allocated by the participatory model each year, to the satisfaction of the residents. The system has also changed the local political culture, which now values participation, transparency and accountability. 70 other cities in Brazil are now implementing Porto Alegre’s system. (Thanks to Szilard Fricska)


ZERO WASTE

Here’s a question to ask candidates at the various public meetings: will you support a goal of Zero Waste for the CRD? Toronto has made a commitment to divert 30% of its waste by 2003, 60% by 2006 and 100% by 2010. This July, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors established a goal of 75% waste diversion by 2010, and voted to establish a timeline for achieving zero waste as soon as the city hits 50% recycling (currently 49%). 33 New Zealand councils have also adopted the Zero Waste goal. Zero Waste changes the way resources and materials flow through our society, closing-off waste disposal in landfills and incinerators, and focusing instead of materials redesign, to facilitate full recyclability. See www.grrn.org


"Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare" – Japanese Proverb


ACTION OF THE MONTH KYOTO: JOIN THE BATTLE!

All across Canada, Alberta-inspired oil company and industry reps are organizing to derail, postpone, scrap or delay Canada’s ratification of the Kyoto Accord on global climate change, quoting all sorts of worst case scenarios. Kyoto’s not a perfect treaty – but it’s the best the world could get, since the same oil companies used professional lobbyists to sabotage and weaken the process when Kyoto was in the design stage. They’ve been here before – they complained that the requirement for unleaded gasoline would bankrupt them; they complained that eliminating CFCs and reducing sulfur dioxide emissions would bring disaster. In each case, they were wrong. Kyoto is an essential first step, and there are as many estimates that promise job gains and health benefits as there are industry studies predicting losses. The federal government appears to be split, with David Anderson and Environment Canada supporting ratification, with Chretien’s support, but with other ministers taking the oil companies’ position

Action: Write to Herb Dhaliwal, Minister of Natural Resources, urging him to support ratification: Honourable Herb Dhaliwal, House of Commons

Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0E6


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395 Conway Road, Victoria
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Author of "Stormy Weather: 101 Solutions to Global Climate Change"
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