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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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Contact Econews

Guy Dauncey, Editor
395 Conway Road, Victoria, BC
CANADA V9E 2B9
Tel (250) 881-1304
www.earthfuture.com

Executive director of The Solutions Project

 

Newsletter No. 145 - Serving the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island - January 2005


DUKE POINT POWER FOLLIES

An enormous tragedy has hit the coastal towns and villages around the Indian Ocean, in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami. Over 150,000 people may have lost their lives, and five million people have lost their homes, their villages, their local economies, everything. Now is the time to be true to our belief that we are one world, one family of humans. The following are all receiving donations to help the emergency efforts:

There is a connection to what follows, and itís called global climate change. Itís happening, and faster than people expected. 2004 was the fourth warmest year on record. The current forecast is for a one-metre rise in sea level over the next 100 years, as the ocean expands and the glaciers melt.

Hot on the heels of this is the concern that Greenlandís ice-cap is melting, and the West Antarctic Ice-Sheet is starting to break up. This year, the first time itís been observed, grass is growing on Antarctica. Between them, Greenland and the West Antarctic could cause a 10 metres sea-level rise. Ten metres was the height of the tsunami waves that swept ashore on December 26th. Now picture the sea being permanently ten metres higher, all around the world. 125,000 years ago, when Greenland was warm and lost 3/4 of its ice-sheet, the sea level all around the world were 5 metres higher.

EcoNews has already reported, earlier this year, that climate change threatens the extinction of 25% of all land-based plants and animals by 2050, including the polar bear. And then thereís all the human tragedy, lining up for its share of the grief. If we want to have a chance to stave this off, we have to start NOW, by whittling away at all the greenhouse gas emissions we are producing.

And as well as cutting back on our personal emissions, we also need to stop the 252 MW natural gas-fired power plant that BC Hydro wants to see built at Duke Point, in Nanaimo. This is the same plant that was rejected by communities in Port Alberni, Duncan, and North Cowichan, and by the BC Utilities Commission itself.

These are the facts you need to understand this crazy proposal:

1. BC Hydro says we risk running out of power during peak periods in the winter of 2007/8, because they are choosing to zero-rate the subsea cable to the mainland at this time. This is not a general power shortage: just a possible peak power shortage during cold snaps from 3-5 in the afternoon.

2. To fill the gap, BC Hydro wants Duke Point Power to build a $280 million gas-fired power plant. When running at full, it will produce 800,000 tonnes a year of greenhouse gases, for 25 years: the equivalent of an additional 40,000 cars on the road.

3. The pulp mill giant Norske Canada has proposed reducing its power use during cold snaps, eliminating the peak power crunch.

4. The BC Transmission Corporation says that it could replace the subsea cable by summer 2008.

5. As soon as the cable is replaced the problem will be over, and there is plenty of green, sustainable energy that we can develop to meet our needs from the wind, tides, microhydro, solar hot water, geothermal, groundsource heat, and much improved efficiency.

6. To add to the craziness, Duke Point Power is not going to pay for the cost of natural gas. Right now, itís $6 per million cubic feet, but BC Hydro hopes it will return to $3, even though most experts expect it to go higher as the supply becomes scarce. It is the consumers and businesses of Vancouver Island who will pay up to $5 billion in additional costs for gas, which would be avoided entirely if BC Hydro developed wind energy instead.

Between you and me, this project has "weird" and "fast ferries" written all over it. Itís just not rational. And itís going to be enormously expensive, both financially and environmentally.

The timing of all this is very critical: the BCUC is holding the sole approvals process in Vancouver, starting on January 11th. The groups which are trying to stop the power plant, including the Georgia Strait Cross Concerned Citizens Coalition, the BC Sustainable Energy Association and Citizens for Public Power, would like you to write a simple letter to the BCUC, before January 11th, expressing your opinion (for details see Action of the Month below, and www.bcsea.org).

It may seem like one small letter, but itís much, much more: it is one more shoulder to the push for change, as we work to alter humanityís future.

Guy Dauncey


ECONEWS

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.

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 GuyDauncey@EarthFuture.com, be sure to 'earmark' it to EcoNews.

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A very big thankyou to Joan Tiernan, DE Mclaren, Frances Wood, Terry Hartrick, Kathleen Stewart, Andreas Demmers, Richard Bocking, Jean Matheson, Mel Moilliet, Pamela Charlesworth, Stanley Copland, Ruth Masters, Rose Evans, Felix Lion, Jan Meadows, Susan Grout, D Curhill for Greg Walsh, Liz Leboe, Elizabeth Garret, Alan Drengson, Irma Berlin, Constance Mungall, Cherry Davies, Brian Allaert, Sue Wheeler, Chris Napper, Dean Gaudry, Dorle Kneifel Medical Corporation, Religious Society of Friends, Peter Ronald, and Pat McMahon.


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

* Wanted urgently for EcoNews. Unmailed envelopes! We will delete the address and re-use. Call Guy, 881-1304.

* Wanted: accommodation for professional single male, Interurban area, preferably rural. 1 BR + den or 2 BR. Needed by February 1st. Excellent references available. Caretaking duties possible. David, 250-729-8797.

* Want to get involved in the Sierra Clubís Victoria-based voter education project, Vote Environment? We are looking for 25 volunteers to work on the project from January to May. Come to our volunteer info session on Jan 27 at Sierra Club, 302-733 Johnson St. 5-8pm. Free pizza for early birds.

* Victoria-based Sea Watch Ecological Society needs volunteer or professional fundraiser to help its efforts to protect BC's offshore marine environment. Experience with foundations an asset; all ideas welcome. Stuart Hertzog (250)

889-3436 stuart_hertzog@telus.net

* Ethics Buying Collective. For healthy, organic food at reasonable prices, go to www.ethicscoop.ca to see whatís available. Local to Victoria.

* Ecoforestry Institute needs volunteer webmaster. Please contact Peter Jungwirth newdimen@mars.ark.com or 250-334-4559. www.ecoforestry.ca

* Deborah Morse is planning to create an on-line and print Directory of Organic Products and Services on Vancouver Island, called Organic Islands.ca. Can you help by filling in a survey at www.victoriagardenmall.ca?

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Do you long for a faith community with a green heart?

You'll be welcome at our place

www.victoriaunitarian.ca/eco.php

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A RESTORATION MAP

Shannon Mallory, a student with the Restoration of Natural Systems Program at UVic, is doing a project to map the location of every restoration project in Greater Victoria, using GIS. This will result in an interactive Internet map allowing community members, restorationists and potential volunteers to learn about projects, and get in touch. It will also assist with land acquisitions, and identifying potential linkages for sensitive ecosystems. If youíre doing a restoration project, please contact Shannon 721-2580 smallory@uvic.ca .

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MOZAMBIQUEíS COMPOST

Thereís a backside revolution brewing in Mozambique.

When I lived in the Senegalese village of Bambadinka, we would wander into the bush to do our morning business, and our droppings would be eaten by the local wild pigs, while still warm. This was interesting, and ecologically ok for a small population. As the population grows, villagers typically dig deep latrine pits, which attract flies, spread disease, and flood whenever the water table rises, polluting drinking water.

In the remote Niassa region of Mozambique, a revolution is taking place with use of the EcoSan composting latrine. Instead of one deep pit, the latrine has two shallow pits. After you have gone, you cover it with ash and soil, and when it is full after about 8 months, you close it off and move on to the next one.

During the composting process, pathogens in the feces are killed by the lack of water, and what remains is a rich humus which works wonders on the soil, dramatically increasing harvests. It is 100% more effective than expensive chemical fertilizers, and when properly covered it attracts no flies or bugs.

Before its introduction, a local farming association of 50 villagers could hardly feed its families from the 4 hectares they tilled using chemical fertilizers. Now they farm 14 hectares using the humus from 20 latrines, and their crops are high and lush, bringing a surplus they can sell.

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GETTING SICK?

Are you getting sick with coughs and colds at this time of year? Well forget those pills and potions, and the notorious "six week cold". This is a purely personal recommendation for Chinese medicine. Two days treatment with boiled herbs and what-nots, and itís gone.

Where to start? Try Doctor John in the Chinese herbalist at the bottom of Fisgard St, before you cross into Chinatown. No appointment needed. It tastes awful, but it works!

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CELLPHONE RADIATION

You might want to think twice before using that cellphone.

A 4-year study conducted by 12 research groups in 7 European countries has shown that after being exposed to electromagnetic fields that are typical for cellphones, human and animal cells in the laboratory showed a significant increase in single and double-strand DNA breaks, which could not always be repaired by the cell. This caused damage in future generations of cells (mutation), which is a possible cause of cancer.

The project leader, Franz Adlkofer, says that since the work was done in a lab it does not prove there are any health risks, but he advises against using a cellphone if a regular phone is available, and he recommends using a headset where possible. The $100 billion a year cellphone industry says there is no conclusive evidence of harm from electromagnetic radiation. 650 million cell phones were sold to consumers in 2004.

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I Find the Best Mortgage Deals from the Leading Lenders

I arrange mortgage loans at the lowest rates for people throughout BC who commit to local community programs and investment, corporate social responsibility, sustainable business practices, and social and environmental responsibility

Ian Baker, Mortgage Consultant
Beyer Mortgage Services, Inc.
(250) 592-8969
ian.baker@beyermortgage.com
www.beyermortgage.com

In some difficult situations a broker/lender fee may apply

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THE MOUNTAIN CARIBOU

China has 2,500 giant pandas left. Africa has 2,700 black rhinoceros. Canada has less than 1,900 mountain caribou, and theyíre all here in BC, in the Inland Temperate Rainforest.

"Whereís that?", you may ask. We live in such a large province, we are often ignorant of our own enormous back yard. The Inland Temperate Rainforest exists in the wettest valleys of several mountain chains that stretch for 1000 km across BC in a band 200 km wide, from north of Prince George to the US border in the Columbia Mountains.

Logging and road building have destroyed much of its oldgrowth, and fragmented what remains, and while there are a number of parks in the area, many are either too small to support sensitive species, or they contain lots of subalpine, alpine, rock and ice. Many have been isolated by clearcutting, which prevents the animals from travelling outside the boundaries for food, or find a mate.

The mountain caribou have lost 28% of their numbers since 1999, and disappeared from 43% of their historic range. The government has set up special management areas, but still allow them to be logged.

The federal governmentís new Species At Risk Act requires management agencies to undertake recovery strategies, but its committees include logging companies, snowmobile operators and heli-skiing companies. Snowmobilers are driving the caribou to extinction, but the government does nothing to regulate them.

Into this morass steps the Valhalla Wilderness Society, in New Denver, with a ground-breaking vision for the Inland Temperate Rainforest that calls for 55% to be protected, almost 8 million hectares.

The plan is based on science, taking into account the needs of the mountain caribou and other endangered species. Right now, the logging companies often pay only pennies per tree; under the Valhalla plan the priority would change, tying the future economy to ecotourism and more value-added log manufacturing.

"The Valhalla protection plan will inadvertently force BCís reluctant timber giants, and the BC government, to stop wasting wood, and start being economic visionaries rather than dinosaurs".

Itís a huge problem, but this is a vision thatís big enough to address it. www.vws.org

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Renovations
Residential, Commercial, Indoor, Outdoor

Eco-friendly Carpentry ; Woodworking; Flooring; Composters; Creative Storage
Harald Wolf 250-882-9653
www.wolfweb.ca/allegra

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WHOíS MINDING OUR FORESTS?

Fewer and fewer people, it seems, according to a new report by the Sierra Club called Axing the Forest Service. In the past three years of Liberal cuts, 800 jobs have been lost in BCís Forest Service, mostly in BCís rural communities. 304 people who used to do compliance and enforcement, ensuring that forest companies do things like protect salmon habitat, have gone.

Scalers now check only 1 out of every 147 truckloads of wood that leave BCís public forests; if spot inspections were increased and just 1% in added value was recovered, stumpage fees would increase by $10 million.

On average, each BC Forest Service employee is now responsible for 18,000 hectares; thatís ten times fewer staff than the US National Forest Service employs on federal forests in the US, despite BC logging rates that are seven times higher, and increasing.

So what are the solutions? The report recommendations include increasing the minimum stumpage rate, and hiring more employees to keep track of whatís going on in the woods.

www.sierraclub.ca/bc/programs/wildlands/issue.shtml?x=629

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ONE TONNE CHALLENGE

The start of January is the perfect time to get a handle on our personal greenhouse gas emissions. Yes, the government needs to show much more leadership, and the big oil companies need to start being part of the solution, but we need to play our personal part too.

Each of us on average produces 5 tonnes of greenhouse gases a year by driving, heating our homes, etc. The One Tonne Challenge invites us to reduce that.

If you go to www.climatechange.gc.ca/onetonne/english, you can use the calculator to work out your current emissions, and make plans to reduce them. Weíre all in this together!

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THE SOOKE POTHOLES

Bill Turner, Executive Director of The Land Conservancy writes:

Dear Friends,

For many years developers have wanted to build on the property surrounding the Sooke Potholes. Plans to create a private resort have been in place for more than two decades and, at one point a lodge was partially constructed on the site. Now you and I have a chance to ensure that this kind of development never happens.

We can save the Potholes forever. Help TLC raise $800,000 by January 28, 2005, to create a public park that's open to everyone. Your special tax-deductible gift will be used to pay off the remaining debt on the property, allowing TLC to work with our government partners to make the spectacular 156-acre park a reality. Go to www.conservancy.bc.ca to help TLC create a park at the Sooke Potholes.

I know $800,000 may seem like a lot, but there are more than 325,000 people living in our Capital Region community. If just one out of every ten residents makes a gift of $25, TLC will have enough money to permanently protect the Potholes.

With your help we can protect the Potholes. Forever. For everyone. Thank you.

www.conservancy.bc.ca

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Wholistic Counselling, Core Shamanism

Energy Work with People, Animals, Spaces and Places

Marianne Sämann-Wyss 382-3582 msw@islandnet.com www.islandnet.com/~msw

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THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF WEB

Some noteworthy sites that have passed my way

The Campaign for a Nobel Prize for Sustainable Development: www.sustainable-prize.net

BC For Sale. Standing up to the Privatization Agenda: www.bc4sale.org

BBC Quiz. Do You Know Your Pollution? : http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4086947.stm

The Cost of War in Iraq ($1,800 US a second): www.costofwar.com

Black Box Voting: www.blackboxvoting.org

Reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals: www.panda.org/campaign/detox/reduce_your_risks

Cars vs Bikes: www.refusenik.org/cars.htm

The World Technlogy Foundationís X Prize, to meet the greatest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century: www.wtnxprize.org

Salt Spring Islandís One Tonne Challenge: www.saltspring-onetonnechallenge.org

Vancouverís public spaces Ideas Competition for the 21st Century: www.alternativefutures.bc.ca

Wendell Berryís essay in Orion, "We are Destroyign our Country": www.oriononline.org/pages/om/04-6om/Berry.html

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ACTION OF THE MONTH
Duke Point

We need to stop the gas-fired plant, to open the way for sustainable energy.

Action: Please write to the BCUC Secretary, 6th flr, 900 Howe St, Box 250, Vancouver V6Z 2N3

commission.secretary@bcuc.com

with copies to:

All c/o Legislative Assembly, Victoria V8V 1X4


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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"
(New Society Publishers)
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