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

Executive director of The Solutions Project


Newsletter No. 137 - Serving the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island - May 2004


It may be snowing in Newfoundland, but here in Victoria, spring is pouring her beauty over every cell in our bodies. The fresh new leaves and blossoms of the maple trees sing arias to our senses, while the skunk cabbages add a glorious bass as they thrust upwards from their dark, moist, woodland homes.

In Garry oak meadows across the region, the camas flowers reach out to embrace us in their deep blue heaven. All across the northern hemisphere (apart from Newfoundland), nature is responding to the warmth and light with a symphony of green.

So what must it feel like to be told the awful words "you have cancer", at a time like this? Across Canada, over 12,000 people will be told these words during May.

What must it feel like to know that when everything is busy being born, you may be about to die? Almost half of those diagnosed with cancer will die from the disease. During May, 5,700 Canadian men and women with cancer will lose the struggle to live, and never see a day of June.

Throughout the developed world, cancer agencies and healthcare workers have been struggling with this for decades. Whatever’s causing it, it’s not going away. The World Health Organization predicts that the global incidence of cancer will rise by 50% by 2020. The American Cancer Society says the US incidence will double by 2050. The Canadian Cancer Society says the Canadian incidence will rise by 60% by 2020.

And yes, it’s costing us money; some $14.2 billion a year, according to Health Canada. That could go a long way to pay B.C.’s ancillary health care workers the income they deserve, as they stand on the picket lines in defence of a living wage.

So what is causing it? Some families may have a genetic predisposition that makes them more vulnerable, but our genes are not changing; our genes are not causing it.

We know that smoking causes lung cancer, but what about the rising incidence of breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colo-rectal cancer? What about the teenagers and 20 to 24 year-olds, who are experiencing a steady rise in lymphoma, and malignant brain tumours? What is it that we do in our "developed" northern nations that causes cancer, that is not happening elsewhere in the world?

The answer is twofold. The rising incidence of cancer is being caused by ionizing radiation from nuclear power plants and other forms of radiation, and by the mass assault from chemicals that find their way into our blood, lungs, and body tissues. Chemicals from pesticides, air pollution, flame retardants, plasticizers, PCBs, water-resistant coatings, formaldehyde, cleaning agents, fungicides, plastic wrap, pharmaceuticals, etc, etc, etc. In France, between 70% and 80% of all cancers are now thought to originate from chemical pollution.

Studies show that families who use chemical pesticides have a six-fold greater chance of their children getting lymphoma. Dogs whose owners use weed killers in their yards are twice as likely to get the canine version of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The Ontario College of Family Physicians, after a comprehensive review of pesticide research, is strongly recommending that people reduce their exposure to pesticides, because of consistent links to cancer, reproductive problems and neurological diseases.

Once the cancers have formed, the fact that modern western diets lack nutrition, because chemical farming leaches the goodness out of the soil, makes it harder for our immune systems to fight back. Obesity makes things harder yet, since the toxins accumulate in body-fat.

At the core of the epidemic is the reality that we are being pickled in toxic chemicals from our first moments in the womb. In Europe, when the World Wildlife Fund took blood samples from 47 people, including 39 Members of the European Parliament, they found 76 persistent, bio-accumulative, toxic industrial chemicals in their blood. A similar study in San Francisco found 53 carcinogens in the blood and urine of the people they tested.

So what should be our response?

We need to elevate the cancer crisis to the level of concern that we give to global climate change, or terrorism, and build a global movement around it.

We need to phase out all use of pesticides for cosmetic purposes, phase out all nuclear power, and ban smoking in all public places.

We need far more rigorous control over the industrial use of chemicals. In Alabama, a state Representative is proposing an eco-tax on all toxic emissions, which makes complete sense, until they are phased out.

We need a popular movement that will come like the fresh wind of spring and wash our contaminated culture clean of toxic chemicals and radiation, purifying our pregnancies, homes, schools, cities, farms, shops and factories. This epidemic is preventable; totally preventable.

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 Diana Knox, Jonathan Francoeur, Julia Roberts, Karen Chapple, Helen Turbett, Denise Dickson, Lynn Conall, Barbara Hourston, Bob Milman, Garry Oak Meadow Preservation Society, Dorothy Eastwood, Germaine Taylor, Thomas Jones, & Ian Graeme.

$5/line (non-profits, low-income free)
1" box $40, $2" box $70. Insert $180

* Sustainable investing - what's it really about? Find out from financial professional, Roxanne Brydges, CFP. Accepting new clients. 360-6284 or

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

* Rare Lot for sale: Cowichan Station 0.4 acre facing south, $120,000. Approved septic, 30 gpm water. Driveway in. Middle of old orchard. If you're serious about buying, building an eco-sensitive home, call Justine to view: 250-715-1968

* For rent: Small Cob house on Mayne Island. Sunny, natural, low tech accommodation. Weekly/monthly June- September.

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

"Peace starts within each one of us. When we feel love and kindness towards others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace." The Dalai Lama

Healing, Freeing and Celebrating our Selves, our Relationships, and the Earth

Marianne Sämann-Wyss,
Core-Shamanic Practitioner, Wholistic Counsellor


And behold, there came a great season to the people of British Columbia, when their government said "Go forth and examine the ways we elect our representatives, and if ye find it to be antiquated, or in any way strange or unfair, let us then decide if we want to change those ways, by binding referendum in May 2009." A great gathering of citizens was assembled, and in May they arrive in the city of Victoria, to ask the people "What do YOU think?" This is your chance, folks! On May 15th, you can speak to the Citizens Assembly. Be sure to book your place! See Green Diary.


Likewise, the government asked the people if they wanted to pollute the ocean and shorelines of BC by lifting the moratorium on exploratory drilling for oil and gas. Not trusting them to give the answer they wanted, they appointed a pro-industry panel. None-the-less, they are inviting us to speak to them, and so we must. They are in Victoria Thur 13th to Sat 15th at the Coast Harbourside Hotel, and you can register to speak by faxing the form at as soon as possible, or call Scott J. Gedak 1-866-386-1323. Here’s my take. Drilling for oil and gas in our offshore waters is like excavating the floor of a cathedral for hidden heroine or cocaine. We are heavily addicted to a substance which we know to be highly dangerous to the planet (through global climate change), and like most drug addicts, the oil industry pushers are seemingly willing to do whatever it takes to get more. Second, based on our current world usage rates, the entire predicted supply of recoverable oil (2.6 billion barrels) is just 36 days supply for the planet as a whole. Third, if every barrel sells for $100, the estimated revenue to BC, at 2% of the total, will be $5.2 billion. Spread over 20 years, this is $260 million a year. Divided by 4 million people, this is $65 per person, enough for one restaurant meal per year. Is THIS what we’d risk our coast, our ocean, and our planet for? For more details, see


Do you want to see more use of wind, solar, biodiesel, and other kinds of sustainable energy in B.C.? Do you hear alarm bells ringing with regard to the floods, forest fires, droughts and heat waves that are being caused by global climate change, which we know is caused primarily by our use of fossil fuels? Do you want to see more use of sustainable energy in B.C., as an alternative to the use of oil, gas, coal, and the latest menace, the Site C megahydro project in the Peace River?

If your answers are ‘yes", we invite you to join the new BC Sustainable Energy Association ( We’re new, we’re ambitious, and we’d love to have your participation. Our vision is one in which all of B.C.’s energy comes from clean, renewable, efficient sources, respecting the integrity of nature, and the needs of humans and other species and their habitat, both now and in the future.

The potential for wind, tidal, microhydro, solar hot water, and other kinds of sustainable energy in B.C. is enormous. Combined with a continued drive towards greater energy efficiency, there is enough renewable energy to meet all of B.C.’s electricity needs. We also need to develop sustainable alternatives for the ways we power our commerce and industry, and the ways we travel. In order to develop this potential, we need a much stronger voice for sustainable energy, and much greater public awareness. If we work together, we can do it.

Will you join us, as a member? Our annual membership fee is $35 ($10 low income), with differing rates for businesses and other groups (see ). These are our goals: to help British Columbia become a world leader in the generation and use of sustainable energy; to promote the use of sustainable energy to the people of B.C. for electricity, transportation, industry, and all other uses; to provide a forum through which members can meet, share ideas, and develop joint initiatives; to speak with a strong collective voice to municipal, provincial and federal governments on the development of clean, renewable, efficient energy and the reduction of B.C.’s greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants; to provide one-stop shopping for information on B.C.’s sustainable energy resources; and to form local chapters throughout B.C., so that members can organize together.

These are some very big goals. With your support, we can build a membership that will help us realize them. You can sign up electronically at, or mail your subscription to BC SEA, 395 Conway Rd. Victoria, B.C., V9E 2B9.

We want to make a difference. We want to help BC become a leader in this field. We want to become one of the small groups of thoughtful, committed citizens that changes the world. Will you join us?


You’ve seen the movie; you’ve told all your friends about it. But what are the solutions? How do we build a future in which corporations behave like socially responsible concerned citizens, instead of freebooting pirates? That’s the theme of two participative evenings that the Centre for Integral Economics is holding this month, with a panel of Donna Morton, Anita Burke, and Guy Dauncey, on May 18th and May 26th. It’s one of the biggest challenges that we face, as a planet; so please come and join us, as we begin to explore the solutions! See Green Diary for details.

Organic Plants & Seeds

Specializing In Heritage, Rare &Unusual Plants. 40 Varieties Heirloom Tomatoes

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


One thing should be really clear for those of us who are concerned about sustainability. If we want to preserve green space in a populated area such as ours, we have to have a strategy for affordable housing. The more attractive a community, the more people want to live there. This creates a greater desire to protect green space, which puts the squeeze on development, which increases the price of housing, which creates a big problem for people on lower incomes. There is an urban planning motto which says "No density without greenery". We need another which says "No green space without affordable housing."

The Victoria Community Housing Trust, established by CEDCO in 2002, has purchased two residences that are leased to the Vancouver Island Health Authority for supportive housing: a 21-unit residence for formerly homeless and at risk people, and a 24-unit residence for older men and women who face physical and mental challenges. The Trust is committed to securing more housing for those in need, and is offering a free 20-minute presentation to interested groups or organizations: "Housing in Victoria: The Good News, The Bad News and the Good News". For all the details, give David Stott a call at 360-0852.

The solution is easy, if we are willing to make the effort. It involves homeowners contributing through their taxes to a fund to buy land for Community Land Trusts. If I were Mayor of Paradise, I’d also charge $1000 per $100,000 on property sales, to fund a Community Land Trust which would buy land for sustainable ecovillages. It’s needed on Salt Spring; it’s needed in Tofino, and it’s needed in Victoria. If we don’t do something of this nature, we can be fairly accused of campaigning for green space on the backs of the poor.


If a tree fell in the forest while we were busy using paper, would we really care? Many of us do, so here’s four things you can do yourself to help save the forests, and use less paper.

1. Print on both sides. Never recycle a clean-sided sheet of paper. Use it again!

2. Change your computer’s default settings so that your page is 0.5" at the top, 0.55" at the bottom, and 0.9" on either side. Compared to the normal settings, you’ll use 14% less paper, which really adds up over a year. Using MS Word, go under ‘Format’ to ’Document’, and change your defaults.

3. When you are printing something out, reduce it to 10 point first.

4. Buy your white paper through the monthly Reach for Unbleached Copy Paper Buying Club. When you buy their chlorine free, recycled paper, every 40 cases saves 17 trees, 4,100 kWh of energy, 20,000 litres of water, and 3 cubic metres of landfill; and reduces air pollution by 75% and water pollution by 33%. You can find all the details at .


How to dispose of dear Aunt Harriet, who has just died? Expensive hardwood coffin? Nope. Cremate her, releasing toxic fumes of mercury from her many fillings, along with cancer-causing polyaromatic hydrocarbons? No. Enbalm her, using formaldehyde which will leach back into the soil? I don’t think so. Bury her in a hemp bag? Maybe, if there’s a funeral director who’ll agree. But now, from Sweden, approved by the Church of Sweden, comes the ultimate eco-burial: immerse her in a bath of liquid nitrogen to remove the water, then place her in a container that biodegrades within six months. An 80 kg body produces about 20 kg of powder which makes splendid potting soil, says Susanne Wiigh-Masak, the method’s inventor. She has tested the method with pig and cow carcasses, and says she planted roses above the containers with excellent results. "We have a common responsibility to take care of the nature that was created by the God we believe in". The Swedish government is expected to approve the method soon.



For 30 years, Canada has been opposed to placing weapons in space, circling the Earth. We have always been relied upon to support efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons. But now the new Martin government is seriously considering joining the US in its crazy Reaganesque program to place nuclear weapons in space, re-igniting the nuclear arms race. The Defence Minister, David Pratt, has said that Canada is considering making our home and native land available to the Americans for interceptor rocket launchers or radar stations. The Americans plan to spend $53 billion on this by 2010. And we wonder why things are falling apart? If we really want global security, we should use our Canadian goodwill to rejuvenate multilateral efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, and build on our experience in peace-making. The latest Ipsos-Reid poll shows that 58% of Canadians oppose the US project.

Action: Write to Paul Martin, and remind him that Canada stands for different values, not US craziness.

The Rt Hon Paul Martin,

80 Wellington St, Ottawa, K1A 0A2

Tel (613) 992-4211

Fax (613) 941-6900


Some noteworthy sites that have passed my way

From Here to Economy.

Can capitalism be harnessed to solve environmental problems, or is capitalism itself the problem?

Greenpeace Tissue Product Shopper's Guide to Ancient Forest Friendly Tissue.

Over 150 tissue products that are sold in Canada are listed in this guide, with information on or not each product is ancient forest friendly.

One Less Tonne (of CO2)

At you can click and choose among 20 actions, committing to change the way you use energy and thus reduce your personal emissions by one tonne or more. With every action you pick, you get a tally of your emission reductions as well as the money you will save through reduced electricity or fuel costs.

One Tonne Challenge

Launched by the Government of Canada. The government’s challenge calls on each Canadian

to cut his or her annual emissions of greenhouse gases by one tonne, or about 20%, part of Canada’s national blueprint for reducing emissions in line with the Kyoto Protocol.

Urge Paul Martin to Keep Canada out of Star Wars

An Interview with God

Chernobyl Today

This is a photo essay by a young woman on a motorcycle as she travels through the Chernobyl nuclear reactor site in the Ukraine.

The new Global Ideas Bank aims to promote and disseminate good creative ideas to improve

society, and to encourage the public to participate in creative problem-solving.

The Great Warming

The new TV series (Discovery) on the impacts and solutions to global warming

Leonardo da Vinci’s Car

Five centuries after his death Italian scientists have finally managed to interpret the design for a car by Leonardo da Vinci and recreate it: precursor to the modern automobile.

Implement, the City of Seattle's sustainable building tool.

A practical how-to-tool that assists in implementing a sustainable building policy.

The Paper Calculator

Calculates the U.S. average energy, wood consumption and environmental releases across the full life cycle of five major grades of paper and paperboard. Allows you to compare the environmental impacts of papers made with different levels of post-consumer recycled content, from 0% to 100%.

The Global News Quiz

Spot the Terrorist!


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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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