No. 125 - Serving the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island -
PROTECTING OUR INLAND SEA
Laurene Stefanyk knew the sound she
heard was not a shotgun. But the blast of air rang out loudly
enough to waken the Galiano Islander as she slept in her home
overlooking Active Pass.
Although she couldn’t see their
sleek dorsal fins cutting through the water, she was instantly
aware of a group of killer whales swimming through the narrow
passage linking the Strait of Georgia to Swanson Channel.
While Orcas have become the emblem
of these biologically rich waters, their survival remains in question.
Only 83 southern resident Orcas exist in the wild, down 20 percent
since the mid 1990s.
by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada,
researchers predict their extirpation as early as the middle of
the next century if nothing is done to halt the decline.
The Georgia Basin and Puget Sound
trough, home to the Orcas, is an archipelago of islands and inlets
bounded by the mountains of Vancouver Island and the mainland
of BC and Washington. The huge volume of freshwater injected by
the Fraser River as it empties into the Strait of Georgia, mixes
with Pacific waters, to create a massive estuary with the relatively
low salinity preferred by larval forms of many species.
It is an inland sea without equal
in the Americas, remarkable for its varieties and concentrations
of life: the world’s largest octopus, rockfish that live for more
than 100 years, crab and clam, sea star and nudibranch, cod and
halibut, porpoise and sea lion, oyster and anemone, seabirds and
Shallow narrows force nutrient rich
water into upwelling currents, feeding a diversity of life, from
urchin, prawn and shrimp to herring, smelt, and on up the food
chain to the Orca.
There is also a human dimension to
the region. More than six million people live around Puget Sound-Georgia
Strait, and that number is expected to reach ten million by 2010.
Millions of ferry passengers transit these passages every year,
and the beauty attracts many thousands of recreational boaters.
Legions of sports fishermen use the area, while wildlife watchers
compete for glimpses of cormorant, eagle, dolphin and whale.
Urban development, habitat loss,
sewage discharge, air and water pollution from industry, homes,
cars and boats, and the ever-present risk of oil spills present
serious risks to the area’s natural values.
Canada has declared this to be "the most at risk natural
ecosystem in Canada." To address this, the agency has established
a new national park, the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, comprising
2600 hectares of land spread over 14 islands and an even greater
amount of submerged lands.
But citizens on both sides of the
border have an even larger, more comprehensive plan in the works.
An unprecedented international coalition of some sixty organizations,
has been working together for four years to advance an initiative
they call the Orca Pass International Stewardship Area.
The cross-border effort envisions
a network of marine protected areas (MPAs) to protect species
that are threatened by over fishing and human disturbance, along
with a commitment to stewardship throughout the area by all levels
of government, business, industry, citizen and recreational groups
The Orca Pass plan incorporates
best practices, best science and best technology as a path to
environmental protection and economic sustainability. Supported
by local knowledge, the initiative is applying geographic information
system tools and leading-edge marine reserve design to identify
an effective conservation strategy.
MPAs hold the promise of recovery
for habitat and long-lived species of fish that are currently
threatened and endangered, such as rockfish and lingcod. At the
few existing reserves on the US side of Orca Pass, dramatic increases
in fish abundance and size have been seen both inside and outside
the reserves. MPAs are a tool that works!
MPAs can be created under a variety
of regulatory acts. The National Marine Conservation Area Act
and Species at Risk Act, both passed in 2002 will further enable
conservation efforts of this kind to proceed. The federal government
has signaled its intention to establish the Southern Strait of
Georgia Marine Conservation Area within five years. This will
help achieve many of the goals of the Orca Pass project on the
The role of citizens is crucial.
Boaters, fishermen, whale watchers, kayakers, scuba divers, ferry
operators: We must all practice good stewardship. All of us need
to be conscious that our land-based lifestyles have an impact.
The toxins we use on our lawns and gardens, spew from our cars,
and flush down our toilets, all end up in the sea.
Orca Pass proponents, like Laurene
Stefanyk, are vibrantly optimistic. “It is a bold vision of what
our place is to be for the future of this magnificent place.”
Georgia Strait Alliance
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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Many thanks to
Peter Ronald, Philip & Jose Lake, Louise Taylor, Hermann Hicks,
Kathryn Harcourt, Jocelyn Abrams, Kim Feltham, Joanne Roach, Coro
Strandberg, Kathleen Kyle, Emile Lacroix, Ray Grigg & Joyce
Baker, Marcel Sarrasin, Colin Graham, Kay Look, Jan Zwicky, &
Elisabeth Bosher. Also to our noble bike and foot distributors:
Heather McAndrew (South Oak Bay); Neil Topham (Fairfield); Hugo
Sutmoller (N .James Bay), Bill Wilson (S..James Bay), and John &
Susan Smith (Duncan), and to the noble labelling crew, Ian Barclay
and Laura Anderson.
can be sent to EcoNews, 395 Conway Rd, Victoria, BC, V9E 2B9. For
a receipt, send stamped addressed envelope.
by email: fill out the form at the top
of the page!
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* EarthLight Magazine readers
– eco-spirituality (www.earthlight.org).
Do you want to form a study circle? Kay 656-8135
* Old glasses you don't need
any more? Operation Vision in Peru seeks donations of gently used
frames to fit as many as 500 people per weekend. Call Constance
* All natural house cleaning
Natural products, aromatherapy energetic clearing. $10-15/hr Crystee
* Urgent call for volunteers
for the UVic Cunningham Woods Tree Sit, willing to sleep for a night
in the trees. Please contact 382-2606 firstname.lastname@example.org
* Do you bank with VanCity Savings?
They’re holding their elections March 7th – 15th,
and three very progressive people are running for the board - Elain
Duvall, Cheeying Ho and Shauna Sylvester - see www.voteaction.ca
If you’ve not received your mail-in ballot, call VanCity at 604-877-7664.
More than just an Organic Produce
Join us, nurturing local food production
* Supporting local organic farmers
* Farmers in Transition to organics
* Fair Trade Products
If we assume that one of our many
purposes for being here on planet Earth is to become engaged with
"Project Paradise", i.e. to turn the state of human affairs
from sad to magical, from careless to eco-sustainable, one of our
rational responses might be to list what is needed to turn any particular
corner of Earth into paradise, and strategize how we are going to
get there. The exercise is interesting, for there is a LOT happening
here in Victoria, but it also reveals some areas in the environmental
field where almost nothing is happening as an organized community
- The greening of babyhood, daycare centres, and
- A reduction in the chemical toxins that cause
cancer and learning disorders
- Sustainable urban development, and green subdivisions
- Green architecture and building
- Socially responsible business
- Socially responsible investment
- Implementation of the Kyoto Treaty’s call for
every household to reduce its greenhouse gases by 20% by 2012
- A Kyoto initiative to persuade each municipality
to sign onto the FCM's Partners for Climate Protection campaign,
joining Victoria and Saanich
- Adult environmental education in our colleges
- Clean air, free of toxins
- Public transit advocacy
- Earth-friendly funerals.
If we approached this rationally,
we might have a central visionary body that looked out for the big
picture and took the responsibility for starting new initiatives,
to ensure that we were on track to realize Project Paradise’s goals.
We might provide regular "How Can I Contribute?" workshops,
to help people find their role and purpose in the larger picture,
marrying their skills, enthusiasms, and desire to be of service,
providing a regular flow of new energy into our various undertakings.
I can visualize this happening, which tells me it is possible. If
we all look around, with the thought that somewhere out there, there’s
the perfect person to take this on, maybe we can manifest it.
THE GREENING OF BRITAIN
Some snippets of good news from
(1) Tony Blair has committed Britain
to a 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, making the
UK the first country to come near to a rational response to the
perils of global climate change.
(2) Britain is planning to promote
the drive towards sustainable production and consumption by attaching
ethical, social and environmental criteria to the government’s £13
billion annual purchasing budget.
(3) Britain is considering using
DNA "barcoding" to force biotech companies to identify
genetically modified organisms, to make it easier for regulators
to spot contaminated food or crops. The technique involves adding
a harmless DNA sequence to GM organisms that can be spotted in a
(4) London has begun using electronic
road-pricing to reduce congestion, with an £5 charge ($12 CAN) each
time you cross the city line. The income is being used to expand
public transport services.
FUEL EFFICIENT VEHICLES
Thinking of buying a new car? Don’t
worry – it happens to many of us. But before you do, be sure to
ask about its Energuide fuel efficiency rating. Here are Canada’s
2003 Energuide winners (first figure is mpg in city, 2nd
2 –seater: Honda Insight 72 – 88
(3.9 & 3.2 litres per 100 km)
Subcompacts: VW New Beetle 50 – 64
Mini Cooper 34 – 48 mpg
Toyota Celica 34 – 47 mpg
Compact: Toyota Prius 63 – 60 mpg
Mid-size: Pontiac Vibe 37 – 47 mpg
Toyota Corolla 37 – 47 mpg
Full-size: Chevrolet Impala 26 – 42
Station Wagon: VW Jetta 50 – 66 mpg
Ford Focus Wagon 33 – 47 mpg
Pick-up: Ford Ranger 29 – 37 mpg
Mazda B2300 29 – 37 mpg
Van: Chevrolet Venture, Oldsmobile Silhouette
& Pontiac Montana 23 – 35
Dodge Caravan 24 – 34 mpg
SUV: Ford Escape 27 – 36 mpg
Mazda Tribute – 27 – 36 mpg
Bicycle: All makes – No gas required.
0 litres per 100km. Peanut butter recommended instead.
If you want tips, ideas or advice
on ways to live a fuel-efficient life, including your home,
your travel, and more, then come to the Eco Home and Transportation
Show on Sat March 15th, in Victoria, 12-4pm. Make it
a double – Peace March and EcoShow, same day!
"Twenty years from now you
will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the
things you did do. So throw off your bow lines. Sail away from the
harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
- Mark Twain
THAT LOVELY FRAGRANCE
(Cough, pain, sperms recoil)
Ahem! Calling all you beautiful
people who like to wear conventional perfumes and aftershave. This
is a plea from the thousands of people who are chemically sensitive,
who suffer allergic reactions when they pass you in the street,
or if they share a room (or a home) with you. Their reactions include
dizziness, headaches, nausea, generalized pain, and breathing difficulties.
One spray of perfume may contain as many as 600 individual chemical
ingredients. The fragrance industry uses 5,000 chemicals, 800 of
which have been identified as being toxic, capable of causing cancer
and birth defects. It is also a plea from your future children.
Your future children? Yes. There is evidence that the sons
of women who absorbed phthalates during their pregnancy have a greater
risk of getting testicular cancer. Almost all cosmetics contain
phthalates, chemicals that are widely used as plasticizers. A recent
study from Harvard University found evidence that men who had to
a normal level of exposure to diethyl phthalates through the use
of cosmetics and plastics showed increased damage to the DNA in
their sperm. And calling all teenagers! Perhaps the most
worrying trend is that more and more children and teens are using
deodorants, hair gels, hair sprays on a regular basis (often every
day), as well as nail varnish, perfume and glitter occasionally.
Puberty is a time of heightened vulnerability, and the phthalates
that these products contain are known to damage your reproductive
system. They are "gender benders", which can effect the
reproductive ability of the children you may have later in your
life. The deodorant you use today may prevent you from having grandchildren
in 40 years time. The imperative need is for these chemicals to
be banned and phased out entirely. In the meantime, do yourself
and everyone else a favour – don’t use them. There are lots of totally
natural alternatives available. Call me a grinchy green, but its
your health that you’re risking. For more on this, see www.nottoopretty.org
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April 21st – 30th (5
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"TO CONTEMPLATE WAR"
Speech by US Senator Robert Byrd
Senate Floor, Feb 12th,
"To contemplate war is to think
about the most horrible of human experiences. On this February day,
as this nation stands at the brink of battle, every American on
some level must be contemplating the horrors of war. Yet, this Chamber
is, for the most part, silent -- ominously, dreadfully silent. There
is no debate, no discussion, no attempt to lay out for the nation
the pros and cons of this particular war. There is nothing. We stand
passively mute, paralyzed by our own uncertainty, seemingly stunned
by the sheer turmoil of events.
This coming battle, if it materializes,
represents a turning point in U.S. foreign policy and possibly a
turning point in the recent history of the world. This nation is
about to embark upon the first test of a revolutionary doctrine
applied in an extraordinary way at an unfortunate time.
The doctrine of preemption -- the
idea that the United States or any other nation can legitimately
attack a nation that is not imminently threatening but may be threatening
in the future -- is a radical new twist on the traditional idea
of self defense. It appears to be in contravention of international
law and the UN Charter.
And it is being tested at a time
of world-wide terrorism, making many countries around the globe
wonder if they will soon be on our -- or some other nation's --
hit list. [Big cut]
One can understand the anger and
shock of any President after the savage attacks of September 11.
But to turn one's frustration and anger into the kind of extremely
destabilizing and dangerous foreign policy debacle that the world
is currently witnessing is inexcusable.
On what is possibly the eve of
horrific infliction of death and destruction on the population of
the nation of Iraq -- a population, I might add, of which over 50%
is under age 15 -- this chamber is silent. We are truly "sleepwalking
through history." In my heart of hearts I pray that this great nation
and its good and trusting citizens are not in for a rudest of awakenings.
To engage in war is always to pick a wild card. And war must always
be a last resort, not a first choice.
I truly must question the judgment
of any President who can say that a massive unprovoked military
attack on a nation which is over 50% children is "in the highest
moral traditions of our country".
This war is not necessary at this
time. Pressure appears to be having a good result in Iraq. Our mistake
was to put ourselves in a corner so quickly. Our challenge is to
now find a graceful way out of a box of our own making. Perhaps
there is still a way, if we allow more time."
SHALOM – SALAAM PACE – PAX – PEACE
"I have, despite all disillusionment, never,
never allowed myself to feel like giving up. This is my message
today: It is not worthy of a human being to give up."
- Alva Myrdal, on winning the Nobel
Peace Prize in 1992.
TO STOP THE WAR ON IRAQ
Given the urgency of the situation
in Iraq, I have written an action guide called "101 Ways to Stop
the War on Iraq", which is at www.earthfuture.com. It contains
all of the email and letter-writing addresses, peace movement contacts,
and everything that anyone could need to stop the US attempt to
force the world into a war that no-one wants. Please send this out
to all your friends, far and wide. The whole world has to stand
up, now. We are millions. It's gone beyond a struggle for oil, weapons
of mass destruction, or supposed terrorist links. It's now about
just one thing: shall we determine the fate of our world by dominance,
or by cooperation? This is the evolutionary choice that our planet
faces in the next few days. Do we continue to live by dominance
and oppression, or do we chart a path of cooperation that can lead
us towards a peaceful, just, sustainable, ecologically prosperous
future? If every one of us stands up, in one way or another, we
can tip the balance. All around the world, people are writing, leafletting,
marching, praying, phoning, emailing, striking, taking off their
and generally finding 101 ways to say NO to this war. The mood in
the USA is quite scary. Here in Victoria, there’s a student Walk-out
for Peace on March 5th, and another Peace March on March
Nothing is inevitable. Nothing says that this war is written in
the sands of history. If you have never written a protest letter
before, write five today.
ACTION OF THE MONTH
THE WAR ON IRAQ
Please write to:
(1) Jean Chretien Prime Minister
of Canada, Langevin Block, 80 Wellington St., Ottawa ON K1A 0A2
(2) Saddam Hussein, Iraqi Mission
to the UN, 14 East 79th Street, New York, N.Y. 10021
(3) George and Laura Bush, The White
House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500
(4) Rt. Hon Tony Blair, Prime Minister,
10, Downing St, London SW1A 2AA, UK
(5) Colin Powell, Sec of State,
2201 C St NW, Washington, DC 20520
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