No. 145 - Serving the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver
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
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
experts expect it to go higher as the supply becomes scarce.
It is the consumers and businesses of Vancouver Island who will
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,
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
monthly newsletter, funded by your donations, that dreams of
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 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.
$5/line (non-profits, low-income free)
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* 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)
* 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or
* 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
Do you long for a faith community with a green heart?
You'll be welcome at our place
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 email@example.com .
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
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.
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!
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.
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
In some difficult situations a broker/lender fee may apply
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
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
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
Itís a huge problem, but this is a vision thatís big enough
to address it. www.vws.org
Residential, Commercial, Indoor, Outdoor
Eco-friendly Carpentry ; Woodworking; Flooring;
Composters; Creative Storage
Harald Wolf 250-882-9653
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,
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
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.
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!
THE SOOKE POTHOLES
Bill Turner, Executive Director of The Land Conservancy
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
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.
Wholistic Counselling, Core Shamanism
Energy Work with People, Animals, Spaces and Places
Marianne Sämann-Wyss 382-3582 firstname.lastname@example.org www.islandnet.com/~msw
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
ACTION OF THE MONTH
We need to stop the gas-fired plant, to open the way for sustainable
Action: Please write to the BCUC Secretary, 6th flr, 900 Howe
St, Box 250, Vancouver V6Z 2N3
with copies to:
All c/o Legislative Assembly, Victoria V8V 1X4
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395 Conway Road, Victoria V9E
Tel/Fax (250) 881-1304
Author of "Stormy Weather: 101 Solutions to Global Climate
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