No. 127 - Serving the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island -
WATER, SPIRIT AND PEACE
The occupation of Iraq has gone ahead;
Iraq’s people have been freed from Saddam Hussein’s Stalinist
rule. The Shi’ite muslims are free to worship again; the political
prisoners have been released from their torment.
To achieve this, thousands of children,
civilians and young soldiers have had their heads blown off, their
limbs torn off by cluster bombs. 7,000 years of history have been
looted from Iraq’s museums, and the US corporations are lining
up for the reconstruction contracts.
Is this good? Is it bad? What an
awful question to consider.
Is this just business as usual on
planet Earth, the perpetual pursuit of power by war and conquest?
Is it the beginning of The New American
Century, in which the US will deliver its might and awe to every
corner of the Earth?
Or is it the beginning of something
entirely different, when the people of Earth finally decide that
enough is enough, and apply their compassion and resources with
a whole new energy to the construction of a humane, sustainable
world, beyond violence, beyond war, beyond ecological stupidity?
To explore this possibility, I want
to take an enormous leap into another way of looking at the world,
to the delight of some and the probable bewilderment of others.
If we leave aside the various fundamentalisms,
whose believers lock onto a particular creed and declare it the
only Truth, we are left with two major attempts to understand
The first, the scientific worldview,
says that the world is a material place, which happens to produce
consciousness. It says that evolution is the result of a random
biological process, as genes seek to replicate themselves, and
that the struggle for survival is just the way things are, with
some cooperative survival thrown in for good measure.
It’s a material world, filled with
material conflicts, softened by an inexplicably strange human
desire to make the world a kinder, gentler place.
The other worldview says that the
world is a spiritual place. Spirit is primary, and evolution is
the process by which spirit works through matter and consciousness
to express itself on Earth, to realize the unity, justice and
peace that we all long for, deep down.
In this worldview, matter is still
real, but in the heart of every atom there is a form of consciousness.
Surrounding all consciousness, whether in the atom or within our
own sensibility, there is spirit. The world’s religions and shamanic
traditions all talk about the value of prayer, meditation, chanting
and ritual to open the doorways to the realms of spirit.
From this perspective, the pursuit
of power and material gain is a foolishness that we pursue when
we mistake ego for soul, and spend our lives trying to satisfy
the ego’s unsatisfiable craving for a happiness it will never
Which is correct? Time – and science
– will tell. Science currently tells us that the evidence is all
stacked up in favour of the material view; but true scientists
are deeply committed to the quest for truth, and if three conditions
coincide, science could adopt a new paradigm.
These conditions are the presence
of a plausible theorem, to define spirit and propose for it a
formative influence; replicable evidence that consciousness, as
a corollary for spirit, can exist in its own right, outside its
material home; and the existence of a test which validates the
theorem, or a null hypothesis which invalidates any alternative
explanation. We don’t need to know all the answers to accept a
theorem; we all accept that gravity exists, even though no-one
knows what it really is.
Into this debate steps a pioneer
Japanese researcher, Dr Masaru Emoto, whose work with ice-crystals
is changing the way we think about water (www.hado.net).
Dr Emoto has been photographing the crystal structures of water,
no two of which are ever alike. Using high-speed photography,
he has been demonstrating that the molecular structure of frozen
water changes if it is polluted – and if it is exposed to words,
music, or prayer.
Dr Emoto is producing evidence that
human consciousness has an effect on water. The world’s surface
is 70% water; our bodies are over 50% water. His work proposes
that water is alive; that it carries its own unique magnetic resonance
field; that it can carry a memory. I shall not go into this more
here – Dr Emoto is speaking in Victoria on May 3rd
If the material worldview is correct,
evolution is pretty, but meaningless. If the spiritual worldview
is correct, evolution may be a process by which spirit seeks wholeness.
And how does it do it? Through the
urgent desire that so many of us feel to heal conflicts, to overcome
prejudice, poverty and injustice, and to live on the Earth in
a peaceful, sustainable manner. Through the work that we do to
realize these goals. And through our determination to go on asking
questions, to question the assumed wisdoms that encourage us not
to think, and to follow our own paths in life.
monthly newsletter, funded by your donations, that dreams of a Vancouver
Island and a world blessed by the harmony of nature, the pleasures
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"Vision without action is a daydream; action without
vision is a nightmare." Japanese Proverb
$1/word (non-profits, low-income free)
1" box $40, $2" box $70, insert $180
* Growing Communities - your chance for a free
garden plot, & lessons in organic growing. We’ll work as a team,
growing for the Goldstream food bank. Call Jackie Robson, 361-9446.
* Unity Flags - Many thanks to everyone who helps.
* Do you know of a business, co-op or non-profit
enterprise in Victoria that is improving its social or environmental
performance, or selling a social or environmental product or service?
We're creating a directory of values-based businesses. email@example.com
by May 12
* The Bicycle: #1 Sustainable Wonder of the World!
Free, 1-Day Traffic Cycling Skills Course that will change the way
you cycle and think about cycling for ever. Bike to Work Society
& CRD Traffic Safety Commission. Call Susanna Grimes 920-5705
* The Sustainable Living Bus, a mobile eco-centre
that encourages us to conserve energy and water, reduce waste, travel
more wisely, and make informed consumer choices, is in the Victoria
area in June & July. To book the bus for your event call 250
-384-1534. No cost.
* Gaviotas retreat with Paolo Lugari, in Colorado,
October 3rd -5th. See - www.friendsofgaviotas.org/2003retreat.htm
. 3-day gathering to explore the magic that sustains the imagination,
creativity and innovation in this remarkable ecovillage in Colombia.
* Looking for people interested in building a rural
EcoVillage in the Comox Valley. Rainwalker@shaw.ca
WOMEN IN THE WOODS
Right now, 14 Women in the Woods are blockading
a logging road in the Walbran. Here’s Betty Krawczyk, one of their
elders: "At age 74, I am the elder of our group. We, along
with our supporters, are blockading a logging road on the Glad Lake
Main in the Upper Walbran Valley. There are two logging companies
clear-cutting the ancient trees here, Weyerhauser and TimberWest.
We are concentrating on Weyerhauser, because they are an all-American
firm, and are symbolic of the invasion and occupation of our public
forests by US corporations. The CEOs of Weyerhauser were also invited
to the BC legislature by Gordon Campbell to help formulate the groundwork
of Campbell's "Working Forest" Initiative, which will eventually
privatize all of our public forests in BC. As a great-grandmother,
these changes strike me to the heart. It means my grandchildren,
along with the rest of the world, will never know the wildness of
these spiritual and botanical wonders. These ancient forests hold
the history of human and animal evolution as well as the earth's
evolution. We humans evolved along with these awesome wonders, and
to degrade them for the momentary profit of a few is to degrade
the human race and the earth itself."
"Someone has to take justice beyond rhetoric.
Someone has to tell the truth. It might as well be me." Jen
"As I sit on a bridge over a rushing river,
in the middle of the wilderness, I send all of you this ripple in
our great upwelling of environmental justice everywhere." Joelene
I am not." Klare Yakobuski, age 21.
Women In the Woods needs your support. Please send
a financial donations and help spread the word about the blockade.
Send cheques to Carolyn McPherson, 647 Speed Ave. Victoria, V8Z
1A5, marked 'for Women In the Woods'. Call Krista Roessingh 250-721-9445
(firstname.lastname@example.org) or Justine
Stark 721-8193(w) 382-8428 (h)
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 WONDERFUL WORLD OF WEB
Some noteworthy sites that have passed my way:
Solar Electric Light Fund. Installing solar PV
in remote third world villages. Right now there’s a $5 fundraising
sweepstake to win a trip for two people to Bhutan, organized by
Geographic Expeditions. The winner will chose between the 17-day
Essence of Bhutan and the 17-day Sacred Valleys Trek. Airfares are
included. See www.self.org
Green Legacies - important information for anyone
who wants to make a gift for nature: www.greenlegacies.ca
Green Thumb – a way to help the environment, while
(if) you shop on-line: www.care2.com/greenthumb
Community Drinking Water Atlas. An interactive
research tool for people who want to know more about community watersheds
in British Columbia. You can use it to create watershed maps containing
important local information such as wildlife populations, water
supply, mining operations and forestry activity. Developed by Sierra
Club of Canada. http://scbc.dyndns.org/ms/bcview/intropage/specmap_intro.html
Petition from the Canadian AutoWorkers (Durham
Regional Environmental Council) for "Extended Producer Responsibility".
The sooner we make the producers of automobiles and other products
responsible for what they take from this Earth, the better this
world will be: www.PetitionOnline.com/drec002/petition.html
Ecological Fiscal Reform. A new website for anyone
interested in fiscal policies for environmental objectives, including
politicians, policy makers, scholars, executives, NGOs, students,
tax and accounting professionals, and economists: www.fiscallygreen.ca
A recent opinion poll on western Canadian attitudes
shows that "protecting the environment" is our third highest
priority (64%), behind "improving health care" (74%) and
"retaining young people" (68%). "Lowering taxes"
is far behind with 41% support. Support is consistent throughout
the west; in Alberta it is the second highest priority after health
care. The poll shows the public still cares, and wants to protect
CORPORATE THREE STRIKES
California has a shameful and draconian piece of
legislation on its books called "Three Strikes", which
says that if you commit three criminal offenses, however minor,
including simply the possession of drugs, you are jailed for life
(25 to 50 years). It is being applied as a nasty form of racism.
African-Americans make up 7% of the California population, but over
31% of the California prison population, and 44% of the Third Striker
Well, it seems that a bad idea can generate a
good one. The FBI estimates that personal and household crimes cost
Americans $17 billion a year. Corporate white collar crime costs
$2 trillion for crimes such as toxic pollution, food and drug violations,
fraud, bribery, wrongful death, and illegal agreements. The power
corporations alone robbed Californians of $9 billion by their manipulative
overcharging. Corporations are often allowed to claim the cost of
fines as a tax-deductible expense, and see it as a normal cost of
Under legislation being proposed by Senator Gloria
Romero, of Los Angeles, however, all this would change. The Corporate
Three Strikes Bill SR 355 says that any corporation with three violations
that result in $1 million each in fines or a death within a ten
year period will be banned from operating in California. California-based
corporations will have their charters revoked, while out-of-state
corporations will lose their right to do business in the state.
The legislation is designed to catch the big offenders, and to provide
a meaningful deterrent.
Right now, it is hard to trace corporate crime,
since the details are recorded in many different courts and agencies,
and rarely brought to view. Under the proposed act, corporations
would be required to submit a yearly statement of criminal convictions,
to be displayed on the Secretary of State’s website, and to publish
the details of each offense in a full-page newspaper advertisement.
Whether or not it succeeds in California, this would be an excellent
model for federal legislation in Canada. www.corporate3strikes.org
STOP PRESS: ON April 29th, the bill
was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. It now goes to the
Appropriations Committee, then the floor of the Senate, and then
the full Assembly. The deadline for completion is August 31st.
Fed up with the mainstream media? There’s a new
paper in Victoria called "Our Paper", a quarterly tabloid
with 16 pages. The current issue has stories on Iraq, the Campbell
government, Palestine, Cuba, Burma Mexico, and poverty in BC. $16
from #223-3220 Quadra, Victoria V8X 1G3. A welcome addition, to
keep us all informed!
LIVING BY WATER
Do you live next to a creek, river, lake or the
ocean? All too often, lakeside property owners build boat ramps,
decks and docks in ways that destroy the shoreline habitat. Help
is here, however. Sarah Kipp and Clive Callaway have produced a
fabulously detailed and practical handbook for waterfront living
called On the Living Edge, which covers everything from the ecologically
sound construction of docks and ramps to ways to prevent erosion,
protect water quality, and keep chemicals out of the water, with
detailed sections on wells, septics, trails, animals and visitors.
For a copy, send $20.81 to Living by Water Project, Box 7, Salmon
Arm, BC V1E 4N2. The book would make a great gift to a living-by-water
home-owner. I’d love to hear from any realtor who decides to give
one as a welcome gift to any client who buys a house by water. www.livingbywater.ca
Source: Bio article on George Bush by Nicholas
Kristof, NY Times, May 21, 2000: "We were terrible to animals,"
recalled Mr. Throckmorton, laughing. A dip behind the Bush home
turned into a small lake after a good rain, and thousands of frogs
would come out. "Everybody would get BB guns and shoot them,"
Mr. Throckmorton said. "Or we’d put firecrackers in the frogs
and throw them and blow them up." When he was not blowing up
frogs, young George – always restless and something of a natural
leader – would lead neighborhood children on daredevil expeditions
around town, seeing how close they could come to breaking their
necks. George also quickly acquired a colorful vocabulary.
THE GARDEN PATH ORGANIC PLANT NURSERY
Our Famous Tomatoes Are Ready
~40 Varieties to Choose From~
Open April, May & June
Daily 10 - 5:30pm
395 Conway Road
(off Interurban, 1 block past Camosun College)
Real Assets is Canada’s first investment firm that
focuses exclusively on socially responsible investments. In addition
to serving their clients, they go out of their way to influence
the global playing field. One of their initiatives is a shareholder
resolution that (with Ethical Funds and Meritas) they put to Canada’s
banks, asking their directors to report on how social, environmental
and ethical issues impact their business, and what they are doing
to manage the risks. A recent report by a coalition of institutional
investors including Merrill Lynch, Swiss RE and Credit Suisse, for
instance, found that climate change would have a major impact on
financial performance, slashing the share values of heavy greenhouse
gas emitters by 40%, and causing banks to suffer a 29% loss in share
value if their loans were impacted by 10% due to climate change
related disasters. A normal shareholder resolution is lucky to win
2% of the vote. The Real Assets motion won 10.4% of the Royal Bank
vote, 27.1% of the Toronto-Dominion vote, and 29.9% of the Bank
of Montreal vote. Maybe there’s life in those shareholders yet!
For details, see www.realassets.ca
ACTION OF THE MONTH
YES TO WIND, NO TO GAS
The federal cabinet will soon consider whether
to approve the proposed GSX natural gas pipeline to Vancouver Island,
as the National Energy Board will probably recommend. The gas is
to feed the proposed Duke Point power plant, in Nanaimo. Natural
gas is a polluting fossil fuel, and the electricity from the Duke
Point plant will cost 8.9 cents per kilowatt hour. BC Hydro, meanwhile,
is only offering 5.5 cents for "green" energy – and is
receiving far more offers it than it can handle.
Action: Write to the Rt Hon Jean Chretien, House
of Parliament, Otttawa K1A 0A6, and ask cabinet to turn down this
foolish megaproject. Email: Pm@gc.ca
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395 Conway Road, Victoria V9E
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