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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. 122 - Serving the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island - Dec 2002


GREEN LEADERSHIP

Calling all councillors, both new and old - congratulations on your election, or re-election. You have been chosen by your peers to be leaders of your community.

Our world stands in a very fragile, precarious condition; some would say perilous. Many of us live in considerable comfort compared to people in most other countries, but we know about the growing tensions between the world’s haves and have-

nots. We know about the violence, the injustice, the suffering and the anger, and we know that something has to be done.

We know (whatever Ralph Klein may think about dinosaur farts) that our planet’s atmosphere is in deep trouble from the accumulation of greenhouse gases, and that we have to engage very seriously with the task of using less energy, and less fossil fuel.

We know – though it pains us to realize what it means – that almost a quarter of the world’s mammals – including the Siberian tigers in the photo - face extinction within the next 30 years from the destruction of habitat and the introduction of alien species, if we don’t adopt a different course of development. This latest warning comes from the United Nations Environment Program, in its Global Environment Outlook-3 report (www.unep.org/geo/geo3), issued just before the Johannesburg Summit. The report identifies more than 1,000 mammals, 1 in 8 bird species, and more than 5,000 plants that are in danger of extinction, if we carry on the way we are.

"The world is at an environmental crossroads, where the choice between greed and humanity will decide the fate of millions of people for decades to come", Klaus Topfer said when presenting the report. "Fundamental changes are possible and required. It would be a disaster to sit back and ignore the picture painted."

The report paints four possible scenarios, ranging from a greed-driven "markets first" future to a caring and sharing "sustainability first" approach. Under the former, all hell breaks loose, with more than half of the world’s population living with drought, and 70% of the remaining land and animals under threat. Under the latter, the negative trends begin to improve, and a turnaround can be achieved by 2032.

All change starts with leadership, by someone, somewhere. At the local level, the change from a greedy to a sustainable planet consists of a host of small decisions, many of which can cross your Council’s table, if you choose to present them.

You can choose to support the forthcoming CRD model bylaw that will reduce the use of pesticides in our region, making it safer for everyone.

You can choose to support the call for a Light Rail Transit system. A new study by Island Transformations shows that an LRT system from Langford to Victoria, combined with the smart growth approach outlined in the Regional Growth Strategy, would bring $742 million in social and economic benefits over 20 years, compared to a $302 million loss from further highway expansion. (See www.islandtransformations.org).

You can work to encourage more cycling and walking in your municipality by creating new bike lanes, more safe routes to school, and more greenways.

If all this sounds a bit like a checklist for a "Green Oak Bay" or a "Green Duncan", then so be it. But you don’t need to fear that it will create an enormous burden of work. There’s a huge pool of goodwill and desire to make a difference among local citizens and community groups, if you ask them to help you. You can choose to adopt a green approach to new buildings and building renovations, following the LEED standard that is taking North America’s architects and engineers by storm, encouraging the use of less water and energy, more renewable energy, more recycled materials, and so on.

You can propose that your municipality work to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by signing up with the FCM’s Partners for Climate Protection program, whose staff will help you

to save energy and money, while reducing your emissions.

You can explore ways of helping local farmers, and encouraging more locally grown organic food, as Saanich is doing on the Haliburton lands.

You can set new standards for subdivision design, so that proposed new subdivisions represent the best in neighbourhood design, solar design, energy and water efficiency, cycle-friendliness, greenspace protection, and the inclusion of affordable housing – instead of the worst, as is currently often the case.

You can do small things like proposing that your municipality serve Fair Trade coffee and tea at all its venues, and encourage local festivals and concerts to do the same.

They are small green steps – but taken together, they become one giant green step for humankind. Please don’t think that ‘responsible leadership’ means defending the status quo, and thinking only about taxes. Be a leader; be a green leader. We really need you.

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.

Oct Nov Dec
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Many thanks to The Troubador Centre, Mr & Mrs Wilfred Waddell, Mary Anne Montgomery, Richard Pearson, Miyo Stevens, Claire Lynch, Gwyneth Sproule, Maria Bos, Daphne Wheeler, Audrey Woodward, Margaret Davidson & Bill Rees, Virginia Newman, Roger Edwards, E. Anne Wilson, Judith Walker, Sheryl Taylor-Munro, Zaida Gilchrist, Stan Copland, Frances Thibeau, Margaret Hantiuk, John Boquist, Anita Galitzine, Roxanna Mandryk, SE Day, Richard Bocking, Mallory Pred, Betty McInnes, Kathleen Gibson, Ruth Masters, Grace Draper, John & Wendy Evanoff, DA Shaw, Colin Graham, Daphne Dunbar, Margaret Schubart, Mel Moilliet, Alice Davis, Jill Willmott, Claude Maurice, Louis Ray, & the Victoria Natural History Society.

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

$1/word (non-profits, low-income free) 1" box ad $40, $2" box ad $70

* Organic grower seeking land to lease in or near Victoria with water supply. Also, Omega 1000 Juicer for sale-used a few times. Best offer. Sandy maidinitaly@hotmail.com 389-0515.

* For rent. Small house on acreage, comes with greenhouse/sunroom and own garden space. Wood heat, propane stove, electric hot water. Partly furnished. $650. 652-2613.

* The CRD Round Table on the Environment seeks 4 new volunteer members - 2 representing the business community, 1 citizen at large, and 2 representing professionals & labour. Valuable work. Send resume by Dec 9th to CRD 524 Yates, Box 1000, Victoria V8W 2S6. For details call 360-3057.

* Fernwood: quiet, bright 3 or 4 bedroom upstairs suite available Dec 1st. Highspeed internet, clawfoot tub, near bus. $1300/month, shared w/d. Sorry, no smokers or pets. Fiona, 595-6465, fionac@uvic.ca

* Quaint, quiet, funky, NS, shared house in Fairfield. Fireplace, garden, decks, eco-friendly, seeking 3 working persons or mature students (Couple preferred for garden cabin), Cats O.K. $325 plus Hydro. January 1st 595-1180

* Research needs? The Vancouver Island Public Interest Research Group seeks research proposals from community organizations for its Research Internship Program. The students do the research as part of their university studies, so there’s no or minimal cost to your organization. For details, call Tim Richards 721-8629.

* Good money. Looking for a good place for your savings? The Land Conservancy’s Working Capital Fund needs investors (min $10,000) to help it launch an intensive fundraising and awareness program. 4% interest, repays after 3 years. Kari Frazer, 652-4689.

* TLC Raffle. Garth Lenz has donated a gorgeous framed photo of the Sooke Hills in support of The Land Conservancy’s Ours Forever Campaign. 800 tickets are being sold at $20 for 3 or $10 each. The draw is on Dec 18th. Call 479-8053 to buy tickets, or admin@conservancy.bc.ca


THE WORLD BOWS TO TEWOLDE

Tewolde Berhan is a slight, asthmatic Ethiopian who heads his country's environment protection agency. During the recent big Johannesburg Summit on Sustainable Development, the US delegation tried hard to push through a resolution which would have given the World Trade Organisation the power to override international environmental agreements covering climate change, ozone depletion, toxic dumping, etc. The negative consequences of such a vote would have been appalling. The delegates were feeling exhausted, and about to pass the resolution, when Tewolde Berhan made an impassioned late-night speech that shamed the rest of the Third World and then the EU into voting down the plan. No one could remember a personal intervention having such an effect. Later in the conference, Tewolde did it again, personally frustrating a US move to negate the small progress made on corporate responsibility. (Thanks to Geoffrey Lean, The Independent).

Interventions like this do not come out of nowhere. During the 1990s, Tewolde put much of his energy into UN negotiations to protect biodiversity, and built up a strong group of African negotiators who began to take the lead on issues such as opposing patents on living materials, which helped strengthen the G77 and Chinese negotiating positions. He also worked for the recognition of traditional and community rights in developing nations, and helped draft the model community rights legislation which is now being used throughout Africa. "I am local, rural, communal. And I find that the whole world is a community. We have made progress in asserting our local community rights globally. We shall continue to do so". Tewolde won the Right Livelihood Award in 2000: www.rightlivelihood.se/recip.htm#2000


GM FOOD LABELLING

In Oregon, the citizens’ petition to require labelling for GM food won only 27% of the vote, handing a victory to big food producers and biotech researchers who raised more than $5 million to combat the initiative. "I don't consider it a loss. We may lose this election but this is just the beginning of a movement here in Oregon and across the nation," the measure's chief petitioner, Donna Harris, told Reuters.


IN DESPAIR OF BC

Alas! The BC government’s new energy policy has opened wide the door to coal-fired power, the cheapest and dirtiest way of generating energy. It does suggest that 50% of BC’s new power come from green energy, but only as a voluntary goal. The new policy fails to introduce net metering for local producers of solar or wind energy, makes no mention of a ‘distributed grid’, viewed by many as the future of electricity supply, and fails to offer any tax credits or supports for clean energy. On the bright side, the proposed gas-fired power plant at Duke Point in Nanaimo will now have to undergo a full review and find itself a private investor, before it can go ahead.


IN PRAISE OF ALBERTA

Tooker Gomberg, a past Edmonton city councillor and ever keen Kyoto activist, has unearthed a 1990 Alberta government report which shows that if the province invested $6.7 billion in a package of 300 different energy efficiency measures, it could reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 7.3% below the 1988 level (21% more than is needed under Kyoto), and realize savings of $2.2 billion a year – a 33% rate of return. The savings would continue long after the investment had been repaid, giving Alberta a $2.2 billion annual dividend, and reduce annual electrical use to 48% below the 1988 level by 2005. Retrofitting existing buildings and industries accounts for 56% of the saving, while the rest comes from improvements to future facilities. The report, "A Discussion Paper on the Potential for CO2 Reductions in Alberta" was produced by the Energy Efficiency Branch of Alberta’s Ministry of Energy in 1990. Tooker Gomberg held a weekend vigil on the steps of the Alberta Legislature in late November to draw attention to the report, but to little avail. Why would a province turn its nose up at a program which could yield an annual dividend of $2.2 billion after only three years? The answer can not be found in the realm of the rational. Alberta’s premier has stated his views on Kyoto. In a recent speech, he said (in effect): "You know, they say that 11,000 years ago, Earth had an ice age. So what caused that to end? Dinosaur farts?". There must be something about oil that pickles the brain. Why do so many oil millionaires want to pretend they are cattle ranchers, and wear ten-league boots? What is it about oil that causes them to take pride in stupidity? All that I know is this: that if Tooker Gomberg were premier of Alberta, they’d have a far more sensible government. Message to the BC government: find out whoever wrote that report, and hire them to save $2.2 billion a year for B.C.


ALBERTA’S LITTLE SECRET

Why is Alberta like George Bush?
by Arthur Caldicott

Both behave like overindulged children.

Both have had everything served to them with no effort.

Both have floated for decades on oil money.

Both are appallingly self-centered.

Both are ignorant and insensitive to the consequences of their actions on their neighbours and global community.

Both believe their incredible good fortune is an entitlement.

Neither have limits to which they will resort, nor to which they will stoop, to preserve that entitlement.

Both deserve a good spanking and to be sent to bed without supper.


SAD CORNER

The BC Conservation Data Centre, which gathers and shares information on rare and endangered plants & animals in British Columbia, has lost 50% of its staff in recent cuts. If a rare flower disappears from a meadow, and there was nobody there to note it, was it really there?


Share Organics

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


"The world is not to be put in order, the world is order. It is for us to put ourselves in unison with this order."

Henry Miller


SEEDS OF VICTORIA

Organically Grown & Locally Harvested
2003 SEED CATALOGUE $2
To request call (250) 881-1555

view online: www.earthfuture/gardenpath

Theme Gift Collections - $9.95

Gift Certificates Available on Request


"You didn't come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are not a stranger here."

Alan Watts


COSMETIC CAUTION

Before buying cosmetics for yourself or anyone else this Christmas, take a word of caution from Health Care Without Harm, which has just tested 34 leading cosmetic products in Sweden and the UK for phthalates – chemicals which are known to harm reproductive capacity and foetal development, including birth defects in the male penis. Phthalates were found in 79% of the products tested, including perfumes, deodorants, hair mousses, hair gels and hair sprays. Two of the phthalates found are already banned in Europe from toys that are likely to be put in the mouth. For the full report, see www.wen.org.uk . In a similar vein, studies have shown that people who colour their hair with permanent hair dye (not temporary or semi-permanent colours) once a month double their risk of getting bladder cancer. Hairdressers who apply the dyes are at even greater risk, which is caused by chemicals known as arylamines.


THE WONDERFUL WEB

Links and connections that have passed my way:

Free Your Vote! Update Gordon Gibson's website about the citizen's assembly on electoral reform.: www.ag.gov.bc.ca/legislation/citizensassembly. "Take a look. What is proposed is more than we could ever have wished for even if we had been successful in getting all the signatures that we needed!" - Adriane Carr

David Suzuki’s Nature Challenge The David Suzuki Foundation has researched the Top 10 ways to help conserve nature. To take the Challenge, pick three and promise to do them over the next year. www.davidsuzuki.org/WOL/Challenge

Reduce the Environmental Impact of your Office Need criteria for environmentally responsible office supplies? Want to know which brands of binders, envelopes, highlighters, file folders, labels and six other types of office supplies meet these criteria? www.greenseal.org/cgrs/report.htm Green Seal's latest Choose Green Report on Office Supplies

More from Fresh Piks, in Victoria Fresh Piks has just expanded its selection of organics. Build a customized order online at www.freshpiksvillage.com with more choices from organic grocery items and the freshest produce. Mention EcoNews when you sign up and you’ll get $10 off your first order.

Arctic Town Plugs into Tidal Energy www.msnbc.com/news/831472.asp?cp1=1

Turn This World Around Raffi’s new song for everyone:
www.turnthisworldaround.org

Journey to Forever is a pioneering expedition by a small, mobile NGO involved in environment and rural development work, starting from Hong Kong and travelling through Asia and Africa to Cape Town, South Africa. Our route will take us away from the cities and populated districts to remote and inaccessible areas. Our focus is on trees, soil and water, sustainable farming, sustainable technology, and family nutrition, and our aim is to help people fight poverty and hunger, and to help sustain the environment we share. www.journeytoforever.org

Gaviotas – Colombian Ecovillage www.urbanecology.org/gaviotas/about.htm

National Drivers Records File Use it as a Christmas joke to see how paranoid yor friends are. www.license.shorturl.com


ACTION OF THE MONTH
THE VANCITY AWARD

VanCity is Canada's largest credit union, with $7.5 billion in assets and 282,000 members, including a branch here in Victoria. Starting last year, VanCity created an annual $1 million VanCity Award. Any non-profit society can make proposal, and three finalists are chosen, with members voting on the final winner. A proposal must be bold, innovative and exciting; be self-sustaining in the long term; create a lasting legacy; and support the social, economic and/or environmental well-being of the community in which VanCity’s members live and work.

Last year, members chose Better Environmentally Sound Transportation to receive $1 million to help build the Central Valley Greenway, which will wind through the Lower Mainland carrying commuters, children, weekend wanderers and tourists by foot, bike, rollerblade or wheelchair, linking New Westminster, Coquitlam, Burnaby and Vancouver. Last month, members chose the Vancouver East Cultural Centre for this year’s $1 million award to restore, renovate and revitalize its facilities.

So here’s our action of the month. If VanCity can do something as bold and adventurous as this, why not Coast Capital Savings? (Previously Pacific Coast Savings). It’s got the resources to do it, and many of us would happily put our tiny annual dividends towards such an initiative. Coast Capital has recently merged with Richmond Savings and Surrey Metro, and it is in danger of losing its connections to the community. It says that "social responsibility is a better way of doing business", and this a great way to demonstrate it. The energy that is released when local non-profit societies start dreaming what they could do with $1 million is amazing.

Action: Write to the Board of Directors, Coast Capital, 722 Cormorant St, Victoria, V8W 1P8, and suggest that they launch an annual $1 million community grant program in each of the three communities they serve. If you are a member, and would happily forgo your annual dividend to this end, it would be good to say so.

"And in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make."

Paul McCartney


NOTICE

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EcoNews, 395 Conway Road, Victoria V9E 2B9, Canada. Thanks !

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EcoNews, Guy Dauncey
395 Conway Road, Victoria
V9E 2B9
Tel/Fax (250) 881-1304

Author of "Stormy Weather: 101 Solutions to Global Climate Change"
(New Society Publishers)
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