No. 150 - Serving the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver
"The very agonies of war and the dark night
of suffering that has lasted for centuries are awakening civilization
to a new understanding: the peoples of the Earth have a sacred
right to peace." Senator Douglas Roche
The peoples of the Earth have a sacred right
to peace. Eleven short words, that say it all.
When animals fight, they hold back from killing,
probably because the risk of being killed outweighs the possible
But when our early ancestors learnt how to
kill at a distance, perhaps by throwing a spear, the devil was
out of the sheath. Now we could achieve dominance with far less
risk of dying. Warfare, warriors, and death became a matter of
glory among human tribes around the Earth.
In the past, there may often have been a good
case for war. Tribes were often trapped in a "kill or be
killed" situation, when invading tribes sought to steal
their land, seize their women, and kill their men. The meek were
driven to the margins; the aggressive picked up the sword.
As the habit of warfare took hold, every effort
was made to train a better warrior, design a better gun, and
build a bigger bomb, the better to slaughter the enemy.
And slaughter we have done, with cruel and
relentless persistence. Four million people died during the Napoleonic
Wars. Fifteen million died in the First World War. Maybe as many
as twenty million American Indians died as Europeans took over
their land. Fifty-five million died in the Second World War.
Against this, however, there has been a second
trend. The boundaries of our consciousness, as humans, have grown
When we lived as tribes, every other tribe
was a potential enemy. Through conquest, trade, and marriage,
we gradually widened the boundaries, forming nations. We were
still potentially hostile to each other, and full of prejudice,
but within the nation we were mostly peaceful.
It was only in 1966 that we first saw Earth
from space, and realized at a profound level that we lived together
on a small and very precious planet. The number of humans who
feel that their love for the whole Earth is deeper than their
love for their nation is growing, every day. And with each day,
the determination to end war forever grows stronger.
Peace is a very beautiful thing. Here in Canada
we enjoy its presence every day, and I think we appreciate it,
too. The Canadian impulse, affirmed by generations of Canadians,
is to help the world become a more peaceful place. In a 2004
Environics survey of Canadian values, nearly a third of Canadians
said that Canadaís peacekeeping and peacefulness was our greatest
contribution to the world.
It was with this in mind that in the Fall of
2003, a small group of Victoria citizens started meeting together,
their intentions set on one idea: that Canada should have a Department
of Peace at the federal level, with a Minister of Peace in the
About this idea, the Hon. Lloyd Axworthy, former
Minister of Foreign Affairs Canada, said "After my lengthy
tenure as Canadaís Minister of Foreign Affairs, I solidly support
the creation of this new department, so that Canada can continue
to project in the world an alternative to violent conflict as
a peacemaking and peacebuilding nation."
Right now, we have a Department of Defence,
and seven other departments that have a hand in various aspects
of war and peace. By bringing these activities together in one
new Department of Peace, they could focus on the task of creating
a culture of peace and nonviolence in the world, in keeping with
the Earth Charter.
As a country, we need to change our priorities.
We can choose to spend $4 billion on buying and maintaining CF-18
fighter jets, with all their crews and back-up resources; or
we can hire 4,000 Canadians to work for 20 years as peace-makers
and peace-builders around the world.
Every Ministry creates its own culture; the
recruitment and training of its staff is molded by this culture.
If is one of tanks, missiles, and fighter jets, it attracts people
who like these things. If it is one of citizen diplomacy, peacemaking,
and non-violent communication, it will attract a different kind
Peace-building is a very special kind of work.
It involves working in a country with a potential for violence
before a conflict breaks out. It involves developing joint projects
for health, arts, sports and sustainability that bring together
the conflicted sides to build relationships, and work for shared
It is absolutely necessary at this stage in
our planetís history that we put aside the tools of war, and
embrace the tools of peace. On June 10th-12th, there
is a Festival of Peace here in Victoria (see Green Diary), where
you can learn more. This is an initiative which deserves our
strong support, to take it all the way. www.departmentofpeacecanada.com
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A big thankyou to Susan
Coward, Ruth Masters, Dave Secco, Harold King, Peter Schofield,
Linda Billings, Anthony Kennard, Canadian Artists Response Team,
Andrée Scott, Denise Dickson, & Karen Roberts.
ECONEWS 150TH BIRTHDAY.
Yes, weíve been doing this since 1991. Weíve printed 250,000 copies
on recycled or hemp paper, re-used 120,000 envelopes, and reached
One of our readers, Rachel McElroy, who is Environmental Coordinator
at Royal Roads, has been accepted for a place in the new one-year
Masters Program in Strategic Leadership Towards Sustainability
at the Blekinge Institute in Sweden, based on The Natural Step,
after reading about it in EcoNews. (www.bth.se/tmslm )
She writes: "My hope is that my studies will cause a paradigm
shift within, resulting in transformational change on this planet
through collaboration between business and the environment." Now
sheís looking for ways to fund her $11,000 living costs in Sweden
(the tuition is free).
If you have any ideas, or would like to help her, please contact
her: Rachelle.1mcelroy@RoyalRoads.ca Tel
250-391-2600 x 4277.
ECONEWS SUMMER APPEAL
EcoNews is 150 issues old. Thanks to your help, we have nurtured
the vision of a healthy, sustainable Vancouver Island and a peaceful
world for 14 years. However, our bank account is now empty, so
can you help?
EcoNews has been financed by your donations ever since it started,
in 1991. Each issue costs around $600 for postage, $200 for printing,
and $350 for editorial, totaling $1,150. For this, we reach up
to 8,000 people by mail and email, including every MLA and local
politician, and many more through the web page at www.earthfuture.com .
If you enjoy reading EcoNews. and value the information it provides,
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DUKE POINT FOLLIES, Act 12
Tom Hackney writes: Whatís up with the natural gas-fired
power plant thatís planned for Duke Point, Nanaimo? The GSX
Concerned Citizens Coalition, the BCSEA and SPEC will appear
before three judges of the BC Court of Appeal on June 3rd to
argue that Judge Thackray's earlier decision to deny leave
to appeal should be varied, and that the appeal should be allowed
to proceed. The Joint Industry Electricity Steering Committee
will appear beside us, supporting the same argument. If we
are successful, this opens a no-liability way for BC Hydro
to cancel the Electricity Purchase Agreement, thereby killing
the project. If we are not, this will likely be the end of
our campaign against the power plant. Please send good vibrations
to us and the judges.
If Duke Point represents everything wrong with current BC
energy policy, and youíre wondering whatís right, mark Saturday & Sunday
June 4th & 5th in your diary for
a trip to the BC Royal Museum, on Belleville St. The Victoria
Chapter of the BC Sustainable Energy Association is putting
on a major Showcase Event on "Sustainable Energy Now.
Solving the Energy Puzzle", with displays and speakers
all weekend on everything from solar and wind energy to biodiesel
and peak oil. While youíre at it, you can take in the Museumís
new permanent exhibit on global climate change, and the temporary
Tibet exhibit. 9am to 5pm, both days. On Monday June 6th,
Cinecenta at UVic is showing "The End of Suburbia",
a real eye-opener about peak oil and gas, and the coming shortages www.bcsea.org
THE GARDEN PATH ORGANIC PLANT NURSERY
Open Daily: 10am to 5.30pm April, May & June 2005
2-acre Organic Display Garden Saturday Morning Workshops
395 Conway Road (Off Interurban, past Camosun College)
(250) 881-1555 www.earthfuture.com/gardenpath
UVICíS MBA SCORES 0%
There is a good argument to be made that our entire ability
to turn the world away from its current path of ecological
destruction hinges on the ability of our business leaders to
make a "mid-course correction", and to make sustainability
their guiding mission instead of being fixated on the narrow,
ecocidal goal of share value maximization, at any cost. We
can push, and encourage, but if they fail, we all go down.
So what are Canadaís MBA business programs doing to educate
their students about sustainability and corporate social responsibility?
Corporate Knights is a Canadian Magazine for Responsible Business,
and every year, they do a survey of Canadaís business schools
as "a guide for students who want to change the world",
based on the US "Beyond Grey Pinstripes" evaluation
For the 2nd year in a row, York Universityís MBA
program came top for the 2003/2004 year, with an 82% rating.
They were followed (a long way back) by Concordia University,
the U of Alberta, and the U of Calgary. Royal Roads University
just made it into the Top Ten (out of 25), with a score of
30%. For Undergraduate courses, Trent came top with 51%, followed
by York, and the U of Alberta.
So how did UVicís business program fare? Itís rather embarrassing.
UVicís MBA program came 22nd out of 25, scoring
0% for institutional support, 0% for student-led initiatives,
and only 10% for the course itself. UVicís undergraduate program
was equally hopeless: they scored 0% for institutional support,
0% for student-led initiatives, and just 4% for the course.
If you know anyone up at UVic, please encourage them to do
better. See www.corporateknights.ca
CHASING MORGAN CHASE
Donít ever doubt that protest works; especially combined with
dialogue. The San Francisco-based Rainforest Action Network
(RAN) has got it down to an art, and Americaís third largest
bank, JPMorgan Chase, has just given in.
After months of grassroots activism, including protestors
in white haz-mat suits, thousands of letters, hundreds of bank
branches visited across the country, and the largest Global
Finance Campaign Day of Action in years, JPMorgan Chase has
agreed to adopt a comprehensive policy on climate change, forest
protection, and indigenous rights.
It will take the lead in collective action by the finance
sector in advocating for national action on climate change
in the USA, and add carbon disclosure and mitigation to its
client review process. From now on, in forests where conservation
values are threatened, it will only finance preservation, and
light, non-extractive use of resources, creating broad "no-go
zones" where large-scale logging is off limits.
In areas of the world where over 50% of the logging is illegal,
such as Indonesia, it will require Forest Stewardship Council
chain of custody certification, so that wood is tracked from
stump to store, and the market for black market timber dries
The bank also recognizes the rights of indigenous peoples
on issues affecting their lands and territories, and will work
to safeguard them.
"The private financial sector, more than any other, has
the ability to begin the ecological U-turn modern that society
so desperately needs", said Ilyse Hogue, RANís global
finance campaign director. For details, see www.ran.org
Elite Earth-Friendly Dry Cleaners
Victoriaís only solvent free dry cleaner
1019 Cook St. 381-2221 Mon-Fri 8-6 Sat 10-4 www.greendrycleaner.com
STV FOR BC
In BCís recent election, an astonishing 57.38% of the voters
said "YES" to a change to the Single Transferable
Vote. It also received more than 50% support in all but 2 of
BCís 79 constituencies Thatís more votes than any BC government
has ever been elected on. The Liberals "won" in BC
with 46% of our support. In Britain, Tony Blairís Labour party
just "won" with 35% of the publicís support. On this
basis, we should argue that "First Past the Post" is
for losers. So why the 60% limit? Precisely to as to protect
the losers. We must not give up on this; we should let all
our new MLAs know that electoral reform must be top of their
Looking for a community that cherishes the earth, challenges
the mind, nurtures the spirit? You'll be welcome here.
First Unitarian Church of Victoria
5575 West Saanich Road 744-2665 www.victoriaunitarian.ca/eco.php
FREEDOM for INFORMATION
Free the documents. BC has a Freedom of Information Act, but
unless youíre a specialist, it can be tough (and expensive)
to prize what you want out of the hands of the bureaucrats.
But fear not. Galloping to rescue are the students from UVicís
Environmental Law Centre, who have written a Citizenís Guide
to Freedom of Information, designed to make it much easier,
and talk you through the process, step by step. Great work,
folks. It is free to environmental groups. Just send a self-addressed
10" x 6" envelope with $2 postage to Environmental
Law Centre, PO Box 2400, Stn CSC, Victoria V8W 3H7. And anyone
can download a copy from www.elc.uvic.ca
Put July 9th & 10th in your Diary,
for the Islandís first ever Organic Islands Festival at the
Horticultural Centre of the Pacific, on Quayle Road, in west
Saanich. There will be exhibits by local organic farms, landscaping
services, brown box programs, organic catering services, locally
made hemp products, and educational workshops; and (for sure)
lots of great organic nibblies, and conversations. If youíre
able to volunteer, call Deb Morse at 656-8130. www.organicislands.ca
FIRST PAST THE POST
Congratulations to all our new and re-elected MLAs: Scott
Fraser, Doug Routley, Maurine Karagianis, John Horgan, Leonard
Krog, Claire Trevena, David Cubberley, Carole James and Rob
Fleming (NDP); Stan Hagen, Ron Cantelon, Ida Chong and Muray
Coell (Liberal). NB: Electoral reform.
ACTION OF THE MONTH : A DEPARTMENT OF PEACE
Saul Arbess writes:
The Federal Government has become increasingly preoccupied
with security and defence. Its recently released International
Policy Statement sees a larger role for Canada in peacemaking,
peacebuilding and early intervention, before crises escalate
into shooting wars. Yet no-one is responsible for coordinating
these efforts, or to liaise with NGOs and the considerable
promise of citizen diplomacy. Right now, they are spread across
at least 8 departments. This is where the idea of creating
a Department of Peace comes in, with a Minister of Peace in
Cabinet who could develop policy aimed at achieving true security
based on global social, economic, and ecological justice.
Action: Please write to the Prime Minister (firstname.lastname@example.org),
Foreign Affairs Minister Pettigrew (Pettigrew.P@parl.gc.ca), & NDP
Foreign Affairs Critic Alexa McDonough (McDonough.@parl.gc.ca)
who have all shown interest, and encourage them to act on it.
Your letters and emails will make a difference.
House of Parliament, Ottawa K1A 0A6.
THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF WEB
Some great sites that have passed my way
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