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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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Guy Dauncey, Editor
395 Conway Road, Victoria, BC
Tel (250) 881-1304

Executive director of The Solutions Project


Newsletter No. 136 - Serving the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island - March 2004


Well, it seems I got it wrong. I criticized the film The Corporation last month for being too negative, and not focussing enough on the solutions, and I certainly heard back from you!

Here’s Andrea Goldsmith, from the Sunshine Coast: "I have to tell you, you are dead wrong about The Corporation. The reason it's important is that most people HAVE NO IDEA that corporations are doing what they are doing. Of course, we need solutions, you and I know that, but 99% of the brainwashed consumers don't know that. Just walk down Robson Street one day, or Metrotown, or go into Costco, and you will be reminded of that. And that is why The Corporation is so important, and why it's so important coming from Mark Achbar. He has the profile, from his Noam Chomsky work, to get profile, to get coverage, and to get into the mainstream. Mark and his gang have pulled off an amazing feat. They are getting this extremely subversive message out to a huge audience!! They are winning awards from mainstream film festivals and mainstream audiences. You can like his movie or you can hate it, but please recognize the importance of his achievement."

From Philip and Marya Nyland, in Victoria: "Could there have been more solutions proposed? Of course, but then the film would have been even longer. We have to hope that the film has sensitized people, so that when they hear the solutions, they will be receptive, and know why the solutions are so badly needed. One thing at a time!"

From Chris Bullock, in Ladysmith: "The film presents many different perspectives; it's a complex film, not a simple minded diatribe. Because I respect your views I almost didn't go and see it; and what a lot I would have missed!! So I hope you're getting a bit of flak from your friends out there..."

From Norm Reynolds, in Courtenay: "Following the film I opened up the Action Centre for those who felt compelled to talk about what they had just experienced. There was, of course, a wide variety of opinion, but the consensus that included almost everyone was the overwhelming sense of relief, joy, satisfaction to find that so many "other" people shared an interest in coming out to see a film on this topic. The 550 seats for the Saturday night showing sold out on Thursday afternoon."

"The Corporation is a fantastic film because it is the first time a wide audience has been asked to consider that this thing we have been nurturing so fondly may be a deadly virus or a noxious weed. When you look at the American administration’s plans for corporate control of all of the Earth and the Earth’s people, when you look at Martin’s plans for "deep integration" of the US and Canada, when you look at our seeming inability to turn down the heat on a burner that is cooking our atmosphere, when we see democracy coming to mean nothing more than tyranny of a propaganda machine and the abandonment of compassion as a principle in human organization, I think it is a tremendous thing when a film comes along and accurately diagnoses the agent that is so effectively spreading such a pervasive disease."

And finally, from Mark Achbar, the film’s producer: "From my exposure to thousands of people who have now seen The Corporation, and from dozens and dozens of Q&As with audiences, Guy does indeed seem to be in a small minority who take offence because their particular solutions to the world's corporate ills were not specifically put forward in the film. Or that this issue or that was not addressed. Or the emphasis was wrong. Or the film is otherwise imperfect. As if the film should have been encyclopedic and despite the vast resources and prescience of the filmmakers, who initiated the project almost 7 years ago, we still somehow managed to leave out what they consider to be essential. (…) We worked hard to keep the end of the film from being a turgid shopping list of prescribed actions. Joel Bakan's book is more prescriptive, as lists lend themselves more readily to print."

"It is Ray Anderson, CEO of a billion dollar plus carpet manufacturing corporation who gives us at least the beginning of a vision of a sustainable future. "I visualize an organization of people committed to a purpose," he says, "and the purpose is doing no harm. I see a company that has severed the umbilical cord to earth for its raw materials, taking raw materials that have already been extracted and using them over and over again, driving that process with renewable energy."

"One thing I would like to say is: it's only a movie. If it has sparked debate, it has served its purpose. A great place for the debate to continue is in our web forum at I would also like to say to readers of Guy's critique: Do not despair, because the film is NOT generating despair."

Well, thankyou, everyone! It is still on in Victoria and elsewhere, so if you’ve not seen it yet, do go.

Guy Dauncey


AG00119_.gif (2913 bytes)A monthly newsletter, funded by your donations, that dreams of a world blessed by the harmony of nature, the pleasures of community, & the joys of personal fulfillment, protected and guided by active citizenship.

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A big thankyou to Lois Marcoux, Casey Twedell, Katey Bloomfield, Michelle Grant, Lenka Dumitrescu-Pelikan, Jean Baskin, Harold King, Pat & Barbara Barron, Troubador Music, Barbara McDavid, Helen Furnes, Nigel Seale, Nina Raginsky, Robert & Hildegard Matsuo, CA Browning, Ed Matthews, Patricia Irwin, Ray Zimmeman and Mary-Wynne Ashford. Also to Ian Barclay and Laura Anderson, for prepping the labels and the envelopes so faithfully!

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

Donations can also be sent by PayPal, please send to, be sure to 'earmark' it to EcoNews.

$5/line (non-profits, low-income free)
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* Wanted. Unused expired or dead return address envelopes, for EcoNews. I’m almost out! Call Guy, 881-1304.

* Recycled, chlorine free paper The Copy Paper Buying Club provides monthly orders at 15-20% savings. A joint effort of Reach For Unbleached & Paper Choice. See

* Tax returns done by Financial Professional including self-employed. Great rates. Roxanne Brydges, CFP, 360-6284,

* Garden designs with nature in mind by Stewardship Natural Landscape Design. Christina Nikolic, 382-4450

* Beautiful quiet live/work space available for rent in Victoria. 1 room, kitchen etc. plus sunny 600 sq ft room overlooking garden. 385-9029

* Abkhazi Garden, one of Canada's most significant garden creations of last century, now open Wed–Sun, 1-5pm. Tea room, gift shop. $7.50, to support the restoration. Guided tours 598-8096.

* Wanted Cutting edge NGO seeks Victoria volunteers to coordinate fundraising events; lawyer for occasional advice. We use economics tools for environmental and social justice. 885-0700

* Pam Morninglight call Guy 881-1304

* Wanted: voluntary computer help for GE foods customer survey, Nanaimo area. Call Barbara Graves, 390-4750.

* Room available May 1 or June 1 in James Bay eco-friendly heritage house, shares with 4 women. $319/mo + utilities 388-9993

* Good Neighbourhoods Project, Garry oak ecosystem and species-at-risk education. Interactive and informative geared for K-7. Indoor and outdoor programs available. Free! Pauline Habitat Acquisition Trust, 995-2428.

* Partial work-trade scholarships available for PLAN-B: Practical Leadership and Natural Building 2004 Program at OUR EcoVillage. Natural building, community, permaculture, sustainable land management. Brandy, (250) 743-3067

* Gypsy Moth Spraying

Katey Young writes: The BC Government is planning to spray Saanich families and homes with pesticide Foray 48B (btk formula) this spring. We are told the spray is safe, but the formula contains bacterial toxins, mould-like spores and chemicals. Drift from aerial spray extends far beyond the published boundaries. Should the spraying proceed, people in the spray and drift areas who have allergies, asthma or sensitivities should be away from the area. Even previously healthy people have reported health effects. This aerial pesticide can make people very sick!

Contact the Ecological Health Alliance (250) 658-2027


Rest peacefully, my dear friend Tooker. Tooker Gomberg was one of Canada’s brightest eco-activists, always ready with a smile, a laugh, and a bright way to draw the world’s attention to what really mattered. For the past two years, Tooker suffered persistent depression (triggered in part, maybe, by being tear-gassed at the Quebec Summit of the America’s protest). On March 3rd, he parked his bike on the Halifax-Dartmouth bridge, and jumped off. His body has not been found. All across Canada, people who have been inspired by Tooker and his many colourful activities are grieving. Activist, writer, broadcaster, organizer, global cyclist, photographer, educator, Edmonton city councillor, challenger to Mel Lastman as Mayor of Toronto, his exploits are legendary. See, to enjoy his life. On Sunday April 18th we’ll do a bike ride and picnic in Beacon Hill Park to share memories, and bid him farewell. Let’s meet at the GVCC Cycling Resource Centre, 1056a North Park, at 10:30am. Guy, 881-1304.


Tooker would love this, since he campaigned successfully for the Toronto green boxes that now collect household compost. Tooker wanted to use methane from the compostibles as a clean fuel source, instead of letting it escape from landfills as a powerful greenhouse gas. This is exactly what’s happening in Europe, where 18 Kompogas plants turn kitchen scraps into compost and fuel. In Zurich, Switzerland, 1200 cars and trucks run on the climate-friendly gas, producing 80% fewer smog-forming chemicals then regular gas. Even McDonalds runs its vehicles on Kompogas. Analysis shows that if all the world’s organic wastes were treated this way (instead of rotting in landfills), 10% of the world’s vehicle fleet could run on Kompogas. Now there’s a thought. See


Residential – Commercial
Indoor – Outdoor
Carpentry – Painting – Flooring
Composters – Creative storage
& much more

Harald Wolf – 250-882-9653


The rise in global CO2 levels is increasing sharply, say the scientists who monitor the atmosphere from the Mauna Loa Observatory, in Hawaii. In the mid-1990s, the CO2 was increasing by 1.8ppm a year. In 2004, it is increasing by 3ppm a year. The causes of the sudden increase are unknown. It may be more coal being burnt in China; it may be more forest fires, or the failure of forests and oceans to absorb CO2 due to higher temperatures. Either way, it’s alarming


For several years, people have been talking about the compressed air car, which the French racing car test driver Guy Negre has been developing (see The idea is simple: the cars uses compressed air at 5000 lbs per square inch to drive its pistons, using a small amount of electricity to refill it. The prototype CityCAT has been on the road, and investors have put up $13 million US to build 35 manufacturing plants around the world. It sounds exciting, but in real life, the car only goes 37 miles before it runs out of air. For local city use, 37 miles would be just fine, and a recharge could be done commercially in 3-4 minutes (3-4 hours at home), but the limitation is enough to put a hold on production. Guy is now looking at redesigning the car as a gas/compressed air hybrid.


We all love the birds, whether they are twittering around our feeders or honking overhead on the way to their favourite waterways. Globally, there are 10,000 species (they say a really keen birder can recognize 9,998 of them). Some are in big trouble, however. In 1994, 100 conservation groups got together to form BirdLife International, and they’ve just held a big conference in South Africa, where they released the State of the World’s Birds 2004 Report. Out of those many species, 1,215 are threatened with global extinction; that’s one in eight. This includes raptors in Africa, vultures in India, and albatrosses throughout the southern hemisphere. The wandering albatrosses are losing 10% of their population a year (41% since 1974) due to long-line fishing. Species are also disappearing because of the growth of industrial monoculture in Africa, the tropical deforestation, the spread of roads, dams and power lines, exploitation for food and the pet trade, and global climate change. 82% of the threatened species are in the developing world. The birds have been happily passing on their genes for hundreds of millions of years, without interruption. Now they face sudden extinction.

The solutions lie in much better protection for critical areas of biodiversity, strengthening international conservation agreements, changing the long-line fishing industry’s methods, changing forest management practices, and so on. These (and many success stories) are all detailed in the report. They say birding is the #2 hobby in North America, after gardening. It is estimated that the amount spent by Americans on birdseed and feeding equipment exceeds $12 billion annually. The current global funding for all protected areas is $7 billion, of which less than $1 billion is spent in the developing world, with most of the world’s biodiversity. Expanding the network of protected areas to safeguard biodiversity for birds and many other species would cost another $21.5 billion. If just some of North America’s birders were to form groups to adopt a particular species, and go to bat for it, that would help. If the sellers of bird food and feeders were to place a 10% biodiversity levy on their products, that would help. If we all woke up to the devastating ecological impact that our modern lifestyle expectations have, that would help. Birders of the world, your help is needed! To download a copy of the report, go to .


~ The Home of Happy Plants ~

Open Daily 10am – 5:30pm
395 Conway Rd, West Saanich
(off Interurban by Camosun College)
Carolyn Herriot 250-881-1555


Sixteen months ago, a US coalition of dozens of citizens groups called The Paper Campaign started a campaign against Office Depot, demanding that the company stop selling products from endangered forests, and adopt more environmentally responsible practices. The campaign included more than 100 demonstrations, thousands of postcards, hundreds of phone calls to Office Depot’s headquarters, an international coalition letter signed by over 200 organizations, a 20-city campaign tour, and shareholder activism from several socially responsible investor groups. On March 25th 2004, the campaign ended, following Office Depot’s announcement that it will phase out all paper products from rare and vulnerable forests, forests containing exceptional biodiversity values, forests subject to unsustainable management, and forests that have been illegally logged. This includes the forests of British Columbia, of Canada’s Boreal forest, and of the south-east USA. Office Depot also agreed to achieve an average 30% post-consumer recycled content in all its paper products. Canada’s Boreal forest, which is being destroyed to make paper products, is the breeding ground for 30% of North America’s songbirds, and species including caribou, wolves and bears. The success of the campaign comes 16 months after Staples adopted similar policies. It shows that with persistence, excellent organizing, and the combined use of different tactics, the big corporations can be turned around. See

"Never doubt that a small group
of thoughtful, committed citizens
can change the word. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has."

– Margaret Mead


For the past 10 years, whenever an environmental issue came up in Liberal caucus meetings, former PM Jean Chretien would turn and nod toward a trio of tenacious, sometimes contrarian backbench MPs who formed the Liberals’ ecological conscience. Charles Caccia, Karen Kraft Sloan, and Clifford Lincoln have fought, and sometimes won, battles over pesticides, endangered species, environmental assessment, toxic chemicals, and the laws that govern these issues. But after the next election, the green threesome will disappear from the Liberal benches. Lincoln and Kraft Sloan are leaving politics. Caccia was ousted as his riding's Liberal candidate by Mario Silva, but may run as an independent. "All three of them, for me, are real eco-heroes," said David Suzuki. "I don't think the general public ever realized the role they played." (Ottawa Citizen).


Signs of Trouble, #375. China’s grain harvest has fallen in four of the last five years, dropping from 392 million tons in 1998 to 322 tons in 2003. The drop of 70 million tons exceeds Canada’s entire grain harvest. The reasons are varied: loss of irrigation water; desert expansion due to climate change; the conversion of cropland to non-farm uses (every 20 new cars require an acre of land to be paved), the shift to higher value crops; and a decline in double cropping due to the loss of farm labour in prosperous coastal areas. Meanwhile, China’s population is still growing, and eating more pork and poultry, which require grain to feed them. To make up the shortfall, China has drawn down on its grain reserves, and bought 5 million tons in Australia, Canada and the US. The rice shortfall of 20 million tons is close to the entire world’s rice exports of 26 million tons. Global grain stocks are at their lowest for 30 years, so there’s little spare capacity. Hmm!


Some noteworthy sites that have passed my way

Peace, Earth & Justice

Al Rycroft writes: "I am proud to announce that the Peace, Earth & Justice News has now opened a second web site, dedicated to allowing you to read the news online anytime, anywhere."

Sierra Club of BC Environmental Story Contest

Calling all activist writers! The story must be one in which the author was somehow involved. You don't have to have been the front person, but we're looking for stories told by the grassroots movement itself, not by third parties. No more than 1,500 words; must be an original work; must be true and reasonably accurate, and must have taken place in British Columbia.

The Freeway Blogger

"In light of recent disclosures and testimony by Richard Clark, I have no recourse but to call for the immediate impeachment of George W. Bush. This is not something I take lightly, particularly since it will require the painting and posting of many, many signs like the one shown here":

Equinox New Moon

Fiona Crofton writes: Here's a lovely little film I hope you'll enjoy

What’s Your Ecological Footprint?

Calculate your ecological footprint and find out how many Earths it would take for everyone on the planet to live the way we do:

Share a Ride! helps you find other people who are commuting in the same direction at the same time:

Not Another Valdez (Nifty flash film):

Canadian Peace Alliance

The Canadian Peace Alliance is excited to announce the launch of its new Website, to serve as a central resource for the peace movement in Canada, providing information and helping coordinate action across the country. Its launch is part of the CPA's urgent campaign against U.S. Missile Defense.

George W. Bush’s Resume

"I was arrested in Kennebunkport, Maine, in 1976 for driving under the influence of alcohol. I pled guilty, paid a fine, and had my driver's license suspended for 30 days. My Texas driving record has been lost" and is not available."

Leonardo di Climato

A powerful little animation, by Hollywood’s heartthrob

There’s Bikes, and there’s Danish Bikes

Local Currencies in the 21st Century: Understanding Money, Building Local Economies, and Renewing Communities, an E. F. Schumacher Society conference at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, June 25-27. Speakers include Margrit Kennedy, Edgar Cahn, Bernard Lietaer, Richard Douthwaite, Mary Beth Raddon, David Boyle, Thomas Greco, and Dwarko Sundruni.

Re-Inventing Money

Tom Greco writes "The mission of this site is to demystify money by presenting the best leading-edge ideas on monetary and non-monetary exchange.  It is a resource devoted to the advancement of economic democracy, self-determination, and global harmony."

The Cascadia Scorecard

For all of us here in the Pacific Northwest, a new index of regional progress that monitors seven key trends: health, economy, population, energy, sprawl, forests, and pollution-critical to our region’s future, including time-lapse maps of 30 years of clearcutting in five forested areas.

The Real State of the Union

How are our friends doing, south of the border?


You’ve read the debate. The Land Conservancy wants to buy the land around the Sooke Potholes to preserve forever as public space, while three of Sooke’s five councillors want it used for private development. The TLC needs our donations towards the purchase (, but it also needs your letters of support, to persuade the CRD Directors to use some of the money in the Land Protection Fund that we all voted for a few years ago to help with the purchase.

Action: Write to the CRD Chair and Directors, supporting the TLC’s purchase of the land for park space.

Mail: CRD Chair and Directors, PO Box 1000, Victoria V8W 2S6.

Fax: 250-360-3023. Email addresses:


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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"
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