No. 142 - Serving the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver
THE CRUCIAL CHALLENGE
Wouldnít it be nice if this nagging problem of global climate
change would just go away? Like a head-ache, you would wake up
in the morning and find that itís gone?
Alas, it is not. Itís going to go on pounding away for the next
twenty, fifty or hundred years, until we get the message. And itís
going to get worse, as the Earthís temperature and the temperature
of the oceans rise.
This yearís sockeye salmon run on the Fraser is the worst for
50 years, because the river water is too warm, killing the fish
and making the survivors lethargic.
This yearís hurricane season is the most intense for years because
the Atlantic is warmer, generating the monster storms which have
been thrashing Florida and the Caribbean.
This yearís ice-melt in the Arctic is the fastest, because the
summer temperatures have been the highest on record. As well as
song birds, theyíve now got wasps, neither of which have been seen
in the Arctic before.
This yearís mountain pine beetle epidemic in central BC is going
to be the worst on record, because without the cold winters, thereís
nothing to kill off the pine beetle larvae.
In September, National Geographic brought out a special issue
on Global Warming, which is exceptionally well written and researched.
One of the stories told about the break-up of the Larsen sea ice-shelf
in Antarctica, and wondered if this might cause the continentís
glaciers to migrate faster towards the sea, where they would contribute
to global sea-level rise.
In mid-September, the scientific report came through that yes,
the glaciers were in fact moving faster: six times faster. The
West Antarctic ice-sheet has enough ice in it to cause sea levels
to rise by 20 feet. More than 100 million people, worldwide, live
within three feet of sea level.
National Geographicís Editor, Bill Allen, knowing that the issue
would cause some angry readers to cancel their memberships, wrote "Iíd
have a hard time looking at myself in the mirror if I didnít bring
you the biggest story in geography today."
With global climate change, we face a crisis of enormous proportions
that has only just begun. The changes we are seeing so far come
from a global temperature rise of just 0.8 C. The predicted 100
year warming is in the range of 2 to 5 C, possibly 7 C.
It is no wonder that Britainís Tony Blair said recently "If what
the science tells us about climate change is correct, then unabated
it will result in catastrophic consequences for our world. The
science, almost certainly, is correct. (Ö) Now is the time to sound
the alarm firmly and put this on the agenda."
Here in BC, we have a Premier and a Minister of Energy and Mines
who, like the popes and priests of the Middle Ages, do not accept
that the science is correct. They prefer the view that there are
still too many uncertainties, so there is no need to act. I dearly
hope my information is wrong, in which case I will publicly apologize
As a result, BC has no climate change action plan, no commitment
to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, no support for wind energy,
and lots of support for coal-fired power, coal-bed methane, and
When our leaders fail to lead, we have to lead ourselves. And
nowhere is this better demonstrated than in Vancouver, and on Salt
In Vancouver, the City has approved a Cool Vancouver plan to reduce
the cityís corporate greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, and the city-wide
emissions by 6%, both below the 1990 level by 2012. For the community
as a whole, this is a 27% reduction below todayís levels.
Vancouverís plan emphasizes all the normal things, such as walking,
cycling and taking the bus to work; walking your child to school;
reducing the number of cars in your household; buying the most
efficient vehicle; installing efficient appliances; and making
your home more efficient, with initiatives to back them up.
All of these changes involve us. There is a lot that a city can
do to improve transit, make it free, build more cycling routes,
encourage car-sharing, etc. But they all involve us. If we donít
get on board, the train will go nowhere.
On Salt Spring, the Earth Festival Society has embraced that challenge
in a way that every neighbourhood, town and city in Canada should
The average Salt Spring Islander produces 6.2 tonnes of greenhouse
gas emissions a year, not counting flights and food. They have
established a One Tonne Challenge that includes food and flying,
as well as driving and electricity, and they have invited households
to calculate their emissions and pledge to reduce them by one tonne.
So far, 331 households have signed up, which is getting close
to 10% of the Island (500 households). www.saltspring-onetonnechallenge.org.
The challenge is that every one of us should sign up, and pledge
to reduce our emissions. If we are leaders in any way, our responsibility
to do so is greater. The website is here: www.climatechange.gc.ca/onetonne
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A big thankyou to
Katey Bloomfield, Marjorie Vachell, Peter
Schofield, Lona McRae, Mimi Otway, Trudy Thorgeirson, Judy Gaylord, Joseph
Lacroix, Kathleen Woodley, James Holtz, Martin Wedieman, Wally Du Temple,
Marya Nijland, and Brian Pinch.
$5/line (non-profits, low-income free)
1" box $40, $2" box $70. Insert $180
* Apple/pear juice from locally harvested unsprayed
fruit for sale at LifeCycles. Freshly pressed, pasteurized
using UV light, must be used within a week, or frozen. $5 for
2L, $4.50 bulk. Victoria Fruit Tree Project. Laryl 385-7425 email@example.com.
* The Georgia Strait Alliance, looking for co-tenant
to share office space at #12 Centennial Square. Centrally located,
$400/month, 2 private offices, one shared + kitchen. Utilities
etc negotiable. 381-8321.
* To Rent: to congenial woman, bright bedroom with
use of living room, garden, kitchen. Oak Bay, near UVic & Camosun
* Gala Dinner & Art Auction for Restorative Justice
Oak Bay, Uplands Golf Club 6:30pm Oct 16th, $50.
Join the Mayor of Oak Bay, bid in live and silent auction on
abstracts, landscapes, sculpture, prints ($10- $2,500) by local
artists and artisans. Restorative Justice brings victims and
offenders together in facilitated conferences, healing harm
and changing lives. www.rjob.ca. Call Roger Colwill at 598-0077
* For Sale From eco-managed woodlot, 1/2 cord dry seasoned
16" alder firewood. Fir also, 652-2613.
* For Rent. Small house in countryside, 1/2 hour from
town. Available till Summer 2005. Power, water, phone, woodheat,
quiet. No pets, no kids. $650/month. 652-2613
TREE OF LIFE
This will be a day to remember. Itís a huge musical and environmental
art event that needs you to help make it happen. On Saturday
Oct 9, 500 people will travel up-island to gather on the site
of an ancient forest, to celebrate life and build community.
Once there, they will sing with the Gettingí Higher Choir
and create a huge living sculpture of the Tree of Life. The
result will express gratitude for our forest ecosystems, and
be documented to help the Rainforest Action Network and the
Western Canada Wilderness Committee inspire communities struggling
to preserve their own endangered forests.
If you want to join this spectacular, once-in-a-lifetime event,
register at www.treeoflifecelebration.org ,
or call Cassbreea Savage at 250-388-9292. And see www.spectralq.com .
Do you long for a faith community with a green heart?
You'll be welcome at our place
FAIR KICK SOCCER
All over the world, kids love soccer. But 80% of the world's
stitched soccer balls are made in the Sialkot region of Pakistan,
produced largely by children working in appalling and poisonous
leather-working conditions. Itís fun for the kids who kick
the ball, but not for those who made it.
Now you can help change all that. Fair Kick Soccer, based
here in Victoria, is importing certified Fair Trade soccer
balls made by a company in Pakistan that has agreed to pay
their workers a fair wage, not to employ children under 15,
and to make sure their workers can attend school while working
The balls are top notch FIFA standard, and good for the highest
level of competition. Theyíre available in Victoria from Janine
Gagnier, Fair Kick Soccer, 250-727-6860 firstname.lastname@example.org .
After covering their costs, Fair Kick donates all of its
profits for UNICEFís school kits for children in Iraq, and
the rescue of child soldiers in Africa. You can also sell the
soccer balls as a fundraiser for your school, team, league,
or non-profit society. For photos, see www.web.net/~tdrop/soccer.html
VALUES BASED BUSINESS
If businesses around the world all adopted fair trade, socially
responsible, environmentally sustainable practices, how good
would that be?
There are a number of businesses here in Victoria doing just
this, including Elite Dry Cleaners in Fairfield, and Small
Potatoes Urban Delivery, and now we have the Values Based Business
Network, which educates and encourages better business practices,
for the wellbeing of all.
Membership is open to any person or enterprise which supports
its mission and purpose. Thereís a big event on Thur Oct 28th
at St. Anneís Academy, so itís a good chance to see what itís
all about. See Diary. Roger Colwill 598-0077.
MONEY GROWS ON TREES
According to a report commissioned by the US Sierra Club,
the US National forests are ten times more valuable if used
for recreation and to protect wildlife and water quality than
if used for logging, mining, and grazing.
Measured by these new standards, the forests are worth $234
billion and generate 2.9 million sustainable jobs. By contrast,
logging, mining, and grazing are worth $23 billion and provide
407,000 jobs. "Leaving trees standing in most cases can contribute
far more to local, state, and national economies than logging," said
Ernie Niemi, co-author of the report.
BIKE TO WORK WINNERS
Congratulations to Victoriaís Tenth Bike to Work Week participants
this June. There were 5,135 participants (a 37% increase from
last year), 828 new cyclists, and 39% of the participants were
female (national average is 25%).
The Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management Resources
Information Branch RIB Riders came 1st out of 118
large teams, with 47% of the Branch cycling in to work.
UVicís Physical Education Pedalers came first out of 138 medium
teams, with 80% participation, and Russ Hay's Bicycle Shop
came first of 63 small teams, with 100% participation.
The mini team prize was shared by CFB Esquimalt (NDQAR), Fiber
Options, Deep Green Consulting, the Bureau of Pensions Advocates
(Legal Eagles) and sowelu (dowelu), all with 100% participation.
The average distance travelled by all cycle commuters was
8.3 km. All in all, the results confirm Victoriaís status as
Canadaís cycling capital. If you want to get involved with
the cycling community, and join the 7,000 cyclists who use
their bikes on a daily basis, check out the Greater Victoria
Cycling Coalition at www.gvcc.bc.ca or
Patricia Lane *
Finding common ground for over 20 years.
are cheaper, faster and much easier on relationships.
*denotes law corp.
CALLING ALL ECO-MARINE PEOPLE
Plan ahead! Next March 29th to 31st,
in Seattle, thereís a big Puget Sound Georgia Basin Research
Conference which will be the premier marine science gathering,
and a venue for scientists and decision makers from a wide
range of disciplines to share results and information on the
ecology of the whole marine ecosystem, using both science and
ORGANIC SCHOOL FOOD
The kids at Lincoln Elementary, in Olympia, Washington State,
are trading their chicken nuggets and cheeseburgers for organic
lettuce, pita pockets and blueberries, under a new policy passed
by the Seattle School District banning junk food in the schools
and encouraging organic food in school cafeterias.
The biggest hurdle has been the cost, since the organic food
generally costs more, and the schools are struggling to pay
for books and teachers. The secret has been to eliminate dessert,
allowing Lincoln Elementary to cut its lunch costs by 2 cents
per meal, while offering a full organic menu.
The response from parents and students has been great, aided
by alarm bells about obesity: The latest US government statistics
show that 31% of kids aged 6 to 19 are overweight, and 16%
are obese. Junk food vending machines are going, too. Stoneyfield
Farm now stocks school vending machines with healthy foods,
organic fruit leather, and soy milk.
VANCOUVERíS BIG BOX BAN
Speaking of progress, Vancouver City Council voted this summer
to ban big box stores in Kitsilano, and is studying a city-wide
cap on store size. The move blocks an attempt by Home Depot
to establish a 72,000 sq ft store covering an entire city block,
which was opposed by local residents. The new rules limit store
size in Kits to 10,000 sq ft, and 30,000 sq ft for groceries
In an Op-Ed in the Vancouver Sun, Councillor Anne Roberts
wrote: "Ten smaller shops with doors and windows along
the block creates a more pedestrian-friendly environment. Ten
smaller shops attract neighbourhood residents to walk to shops
on a daily or weekly basis. Ten smaller shops are likely to
be locally owned, and money spent there is likely to re-circulate
throughout the local economy."
SAANICHíS SHORT STREET
Saanich has approved a very innovative approach to urban development
at Short Street, a small L-shaped street of mostly single-family
homes next to the Town and Country Shopping Centre, with easy
access to transit and the Galloping Goose bike trail.
Redevelopment has been in the cards since 1999, when the Short
Street Action Plan recommended a narrow, pedestrian dominated
A development has now been approved for a 5-storey U-shaped
building, with commercial space on the ground floor, and 72
residential units above, set in a pedestrian, traffic calmed
streetscape. All residents will receive a yearís free region-wide
transit pass and free membership in the Victoria Car Share
Cooperative, paid for by the developer, who will also buy a
vehicle for the Car Share cooperative, with a dedicated parking
spot. In return, the developer was allowed to create 32 fewer
parking spaces (a 21% reduction).
There will also be secure underground bicycle parking, and
outdoor lock-ups. This is first-class, sustainable progress.
WIND POWER FUTURE?
The Sea Breeze Power Corporation has received an Environmental
Assessment Certificate for its proposed 450 MW wind farm at
Knob Hill, on the northern tip of Vancouver Island. Thatís
enough power for 350,000 people, and would make a wonderful
start to a decade of wind energy projects in BC.
So far, however, BC Hydro has taken a very skeptical approach
to wind energy. When Sea Breeze applied to have their wind
power considered as a replacement for the Duke Point gas-fired
power plant, BC Hydro turned them down, arguing that wind energy
was not reliable. Wind turbines blow on average for 8 hours
a day, but that has not stopped their integration into the
grid all over the world, where 39,294 MW of wind turbines are
spinning with totally satisfactory results.
The normal agreed "firm power" rating for wind is
20%, meaning that a 450 MW plant has a firm power rating of
90 MW, but BC Hydro assigned them a rating of 0%, effectively
arguing that wind power was useless.
This is very frustrating, and is leading Sea Breeze to explore
what I consider an exciting new proposal to integrate the Vancouver
Island grid into the US grid by an undersea cable to the Olympic
Peninsula. This would allow us to export the wind and tidal
energy thatís waiting to be gathered, as well as supply Vancouver
Islandís needs. Some people argue that we should not be exporting
power to America, but global climate change doesnít pay attention
to national borders, so we must do whatever it takes to get
green energy rolling, and shut down the coal-fired and gas-fired
The BC Sustainable Energy Association will be working on all
these issues over the next year. There is a Victoria Chapter
of the Association being formed this month (see Green Diary),
so if you want to join, go to www.bcsea.org .
WONDERFUL WORLD OF WEB
Some noteworthy sites that have passed my way:
I Find the Best Mortgage Deals from the Best Lenders
I source mortgages from lenders who commit to community Programs
and investment, corporate social responsibility, sustainability,
and social and environmental responsibility
Ian Baker, Mortgage Consultant
some difficult situations a broker/lender fee may apply.
ACTION OF THE MONTH:
"Welcome to beautiful BC, where wolves are hunted, trapped,
poisoned, sterilized." You may have seen The Raincoast
Conservation Societyís posters in downtown Victoria.
Why is it that some humans need to go out and kill other creatures?
Are they so restless, spiritually, that they have to take another
creatureís soul, and wear it as their own? The sports hunters
are not hunting for food, but for "pleasure". Real
tourists carry cameras, not guns. Let the wolves be! For the
guides, itís a living.
In the great wild spaces of northern BC, in the Muskwa-Kechika,
twice the size of Vancouver Island, the Ministry of Water,
Land and Air Protection has become the Ministry of Hunter Protection
in its bid to boost the numbers of moose and elk, to keep the
The moose and elk populations are not in any danger, but the
wolves like to eat them, so they have to be controlled. Not
by shooting (weíre making some progress), but by surgical sterilization
and fertility lowering drugs. Itís a tough task, because the
dominant breeding pair one year may not breed next year. So
when sterilization fails, the wildlife managers can resort
to shooting. For more information, see www.raincoast.org
Action: Write to Gordon Campbell, and ask him to stop
the wolf sterilization program.
The Hon Gordon Campbell, Box 9041, Station Prov Govít, Victoria
V8W 9E1 Email: email@example.com
Tel (250) 387-1715 Fax 250-387-0087
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