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

Executive director of The Solutions Project

 
Econews

Newsletter No. 161 - Serving the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island - July & August 2006

Now available as PDF's! Front (PDF104kb) - Middle (PDF239kb) - Green Diary (PDF70kb)


AIMING FOR HIGHER GOALS

What are we aiming for as a civilization? I presume we are aiming somewhere: even the Titanic was aiming somewhere.

There are important secondary goals such as balancing the national books and making sure family members don’t fight too much, but these things don’t create direction.

Maybe it’s an inappropriate question, since we cannot escape the post-industrial hegemony of our paradigmatic situation – but I’ll leave that to the post-modernists to sort out.

As far as I’m concerned, since all the warning signs say we’re heading for an ecological train-wreck, it’s an appropriate question to ask.

Back in Europe’s Middle Ages, where our civilization has many of its roots, there was little concept of direction - just a desire to escape the poverty that ground down so many of our ancestors. On the planet as a whole there was no "we". Each clan, tribe, or nation drew a selfish circle, outside of which no-one was really trusted.

For a tiny minority, however, the privilege of non-poverty gave them time to dream greater dreams, and out of this dreaming came inventions, ploughs, ships, steam, medical cures, and the whole industrial revolution.

Our medical developments led to a population explosion, since our babies no longer died, and our technological developments led to a consumer explosion: all we had to do was mix some chemicals and – magic! – we’ve got weedkillers, rocket fuel, and Teflon.

Was there a guiding sense of direction that led to the changes? There was certainly a force from below, driven by the desire to escape poverty. This spoke inside every mind, saying "If you get a chance, grab it!" It also spoke to us tribally and nationally, encouraging us to grab the land of other tribes and nations.

There was also a force from within that excited us with other dreams: to understand the laws of gravity, to compose the most beautiful symphony, to reach the Moon. To abolish the stain of slavery, to establish national parks.

Is it as simple as this? That the instinctive force, which urges us to act for the benefit of ourselves, for our tribe, nation, or corporation is still saying "Grab what you can!", while the other force is urging us to act for the planet as a whole?

It is interesting to note in ‘The Greening of Wal-Mart’ (EcoNews #160) that it was the impact between these two forces that led Wal-Mart’s CEO, Lee Scott, to observe "On a personal level, as you become a grandparent, you also become more thoughtful about what the world will look like that she inherits."

It is our lower goals that are getting us into trouble. We have been so successful in grabbing what we can that the ecosystems we grab from and dump our wastes into are crumbling. At the same time, the people we have stolen land from are rising up to seek justice, or adopting our "grab what you can" habits to pull themselves out of poverty, just as we taught them.

C h a n g e d i r e c t i o n! …. the inner voice cries out. In Bhutan, the whole country has adopted the goal of maximizing Gross National Happiness, instead of Gross National Product, which is a measure purely of money, no matter whether the money comes from clearcutting a forest or the salaries of prison guards.

In New Zealand, the Maori Party has adopted the Genuine Progress Index as opposed to the Gross Domestic Product, allowing them to subtract all negatives (crime, pollution, divorce rates) and add all positives (voluntary work, cultural revival, ecological restoration) to give a more genuine indication of progress towards the goals that everyone wants.

When you look at the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) that’s been developed for America by Redefining Progress, America’s GPI has fallen steadily since 1975, while the GDP has kept rising. (www.rprogress.org)

So here’s a simple notion. On its own, it won’t change the world, but if it gives us a new beacon to steer towards, it might assist our efforts.

The notion is that every year, every level of government, and every corporation, is required by law to report on its Genuine Progress, not just monetary progress, and to lay down plans to accelerate this progress. We’ll need a whole new profession of genuine progress accountants.

If we want to make such progress, our goals must include such things as falling divorce, reduced obesity, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, fewer toxic chemicals in our bodies, reduced suicide, better marriages, and increased fulfillment at work.

The right wing parties have made it very clear: they follow the goals of selfishness and dominance. It is the other parties that must redefine their goals, so that we have a new beacon we can guide our civilization by.

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 big thankyou to Douglas Crow, Takao Scott, Maureen Chlopan. Margaret Fear, Keith & Mignon Lundmark, Ruth Masters, Vivien Davies, Sonja Young, Heather Page, Andrée Scott, Wayne Harling, Dr Dorle Kniefel, Peter Carilho, Beverlee Lane, and Michiyo Furuhashi.


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

* Charming guest room, $25/night. Cook St Village, ocean. 250-361-3102

* Guests? Short term accommodation: furnished room in Fairfield, one block from ocean. $35/night Ocean 382-3810

* Garden suite with vegetable garden for rent, Fairfield, new, bright, $800 + utilities 721-1793

* Courtenay Cohousing Call 250-338-0187 www.creeksidecommons.ca

* Nanaimo Cohousing Call 250-754-3060 www.pacificgardens.ca

* Serious Coffee wants to make a serious difference.  If you want to add coffee grounds to your compost, stop at any of our locations and pick up a free bag.  See www.seriouscoffee.com

* To let. Bright beautiful suite, yard, deck, Fernwood, partially furnished. Sublet for year Aug 1. Single or couple NP, NS. $900 + utilities. 598-1046

* For sale by owner. Fairfield, 5 BR/offices, 2 bath, 2200+ sq ft.  Green features. Gardens, arbors, old trees plants. $639,000 Donna 250-880-1430

* Seeking partners to buy land for eco-living.  erainwalker@hotmail.com

* Certified Organic fruit from Cawston farmer’s coop, available July-Oct. Email phoenixfarmfruit@shaw.ca to get on the mailing list.

* Interested in sustainable organic food production? Do you want to support local food and farmers on the Island? We invite you to become a member of the Keating Community Farm Co-operative, which needs 60 more shareholders to sustain the TLC’s agricultural property, just south of Duncan. Call Ramona Scott or Paula Hesje at 479-8301 or phesje@conservancy.bc.ca . See www.conservancy.bc.ca/content.asp?sectionid=173&pageid=646

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ORGANIC ISLANDS FESTIVAL
Coming up July 8th & 9th
www.organicislands.ca

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CENTRAL SAANICH GREENS

Do you live in Central Saanich? If so, there’s up to $2,100 available towards making your home super warm and energy efficient. It’s called Energy Savings Plan, and it’s a pilot program to persuade homeowners to save 70,000 gigajoules of energy by April 2007, equal to 87,500 tonnes of reduced greenhouse gases, roughly the amount produced by 17,500 people in a year. 1-877-727-2830 www.saveenergynow.ca

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THE IVY AND THE FOREST

I know, you want to make a big difference in the world. But how about a small difference too? English ivy is an invader from Europe that can devastate a forest or park. In Portland, it’s so bad they’ve had to create an Ivy Removal Project.

Ivy is not a major food source for native wildlife; it can grow in as little as 1% light; it spreads by vines, roots and seeds; and it’s not even a useful landscaping plant. The solution is to eliminate all ivy, including the variegated species. If you have ivy in your garden, get rid of it. If you have trees where ivy has gotten a grip, saw through the stem to kill it. And if you see ivy being sold in a garden centre, please ask the staff to remove it. See www.noivyleague.com

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ETHICAL INVESTING

The Pinch Group
Connecting your money with your values
www.pinchgroup.ca   250-405-2468

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SKA FESTIVAL

Carbon neutral is here to stay! The Olympics and the World cup of Soccer are going carbon neutral; I neutralize my emissions every year through the Solar Electric Light Fund (www.self.org), a privilege I share with Bill Clinton. Now the 7th Annual Ska Festival in Victoria (July 12-15) is going zero waste and carbon neutral, offsetting the air and car travel of the musicians by supporting a charity in Haiti that is taking solar powered ovens to replace the use of wood. See www.sunoven.com/haiti.asp. Let’s work to make this a precedent for all Victoria’s festivals, conferences, and events. See www.victoriaskafest.ca

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YEA FOR LOCAL DEMOCRACY!

Based on rigged voting procedures in Florida (2000), Ohio (2004), and other evidence, I believe that American democracy has been corrupted by an alliance of the super-wealthy (believing they are entitled to remain so), the super-religious (believing that serving God overrides the requirements of democracy), and the super-corporate (believing they are above the law). In my understanding of American politics, the White House now serves the big corporations, not the people. In the post-war history of democracy, this is the first instance of a major nation moving away from democracy towards a more fascist form of government.

So it is really encouraging to read of events in Humboldt County, northern California, where citizens were fed up with Wal-Mart spending $250,000 in a 1999 attempt to change Eureka’s zoning laws to clear the way for their big-box store, and MAXXAM, a forest company, spending $300,000 in 2004 on a faked-up recall campaign to drive the local Attorney from office because he tried to enforce the forestry regulations.

In the primary elections on June 6th 2006 they decided by 55%-45% that corporations do not have the same rights as citizens when it comes to participating in local political campaigns. Measure T, which passed the ballot, says "Only natural persons possess civil and political rights. Corporations are creations of state law and possess no legitimate civil or political rights".

Measure T bans all outside corporations from investing in local politics.

Their campaign quoted Thomas Jefferson: "I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." See www.libertytreefdr.org

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CREEKSIDE COMMONS

There’s a development with a difference happening in the Comox Valley. Inspired by the dream of a sustainable neighbourhood of beauty and peace, where people can grow as individuals while supporting each other, and also supporting the land they live on and the wider community, a group of people has bought 9.8 acres of land just outside Courtenay and started building a cohousing project.

They will live in 36 houses, enjoying their own homes in car-free spaces, while sharing a community dining room and kitchen, children’s playroom, and a crafts and woodwork shop. They have started building, and are looking for people to join them. The land is gently sloping, full of potential for gardens, orchards and ponds. "We will foster a sense of belonging, meaning and purpose, sharing the fullness of ourselves and celebrating the gifts of life with integrity." www.creeksidecommons.ca

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SALT SPRING ECO-HOME TOUR

Are you planning to go to Salt Spring on August 6th for the Eco-Home Tour, to be inspired by sustainable housing made with hemp straw bales, rammed earth, cob, straw bale, yurt-fabric, solar and wind, water catchment and grey-water? The Salt Springers would like us to cycle or car-share: meet 9:30 am to carpool at Gulf Islands Sec. School, 112 Rainbow Rd, where you can also buy tickets. See Green Diary. 250-538-0318

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STOP THE OIL RUSH

They’ve got the rush, and they’re rushing where most BC residents say they should never go. There are no less than five projects lining up to take tankers through BC’s inside passage to and from Kitimat, through the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest, along the very same waters where the Queen of the North recently hit the rocks, sinking to the bottom of the ocean. Methanex is already importing condensate, a mix of toxic chemicals and natural gas from South America, that is used to ease the flow of oil through pipelines. Each tanker carries 350,000 barrels of condensate.

Next, the Alberta energy giant Enbridge wants approval to ship up to a million barrels of tar sands crude oil a day to China, India and California, using three to ten tankers a week.

Third, Enbridge and Kinder Morgan want approval for two competing 1,200 km pipelines that would send imported condensate from Kitimat to Alberta at the rate of 100,000 barrels a day, which presumes that the condensate will be shipped to Kitimat in the first place.

Fourth, there’s a condensate pipeline proposal by Pembina to send 100,000 barrels of condensate a day from Kitimat to Summit Lake, north of Prince George.

Finally, Kitimat LNG has received an environmental assessment certificate for a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal to be built in Kitimat. LNG is natural gas that has been chilled to -162º C so that it can be imported from countries such as Iran and Russia.

LNG is so explosive that when LNG tankers arrive in Boston Harbour, the police put marksmen on the bridges and helicopters in the sky in case a terrorist tries to hit the ship with a missile, causing an explosion that could result in second-degree burns at three kilometers.

Why is the gas needed, you ask? Because North America is running out of natural gas, so we need to seek it elsewhere. The Mackenzie is also facing a pipeline to feed gas from the Arctic to the tar sands to turn the tar into oil.

Opinions polls show that 75% of BC citizens oppose the use of tankers on the Inside Passage and would support a ban. But in mid-June, an oil tanker carrying 350,000 barrels of condensate traveled up these very same waters without a coast guard vessel stopping it or the government seeking an injunction.

There’s a reason why we want to protect these waters: we know that it’s only a matter of time before there’s a tanker disaster, pouring oil into these pristine waters and the surrounding shorelines where bears, eagles, orcas, salmon, and a host of marine species have lived for ten thousand years, without human interference or pollution. It’s wilderness. It’s Canadian.

We’ve got to stop this, somehow. We need the oil like we need accelerants on a burning house. This planet is our house, and we are pouring on accelerants with every barrel of oil and every load of natural gas we burn. We need to turn our faces in a different direction, and seek our energy from Nature’s Own in the energy of the sun, wind, and tides. For energy solutions, see BC Sustainable Energy Association www.bcsea.org. For the Inside Passage, problems: www.dogwoodinitiative.org.

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Elite Earth-Friendly Dry Cleaners
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ANOTHER CRAZY SHUTTLE

On July 1st, if the sky is clear, the space shuttle Discovery will leave Earth’s atmosphere and fly to the International Space Station. There’s a debate going on about its safety – meaning the safety of the astronauts.

But a BC scientist in Whistler is alarmed about a far greater safety issue that he says no-one will discuss. Neil Finley believes there has been suppression of critical information about the space shuttle that tells him it should never be allowed to fly.

The space shuttle’s launch rockets burn a solid fuel called ammonium perchlorate, which releases chlorine into the Earth’s ozone layer, using a special exemption in the Montreal Protocol. NASA does not deny that the chlorine contributes to ozone depletion, but says it’s so small it’s insignificant.

Neil thinks they’ve got it all wrong, because whereas the chlorine from the CFCs we use here on Earth drift up to the lower levels of the ozone layer, the Discovery, the Ariane, and all the US ballistic missile defense rockets inject chlorine into the ozone layer at a higher level where the atmosphere is thinner, and the proportional effect is 100 times greater.

Furthermore, he says, there’s a big hole in the ozone layer happening at the 43 kilometer level which no-one has explained.

He points out that the mysterious polar mesospheric clouds that have appeared over Antarctica, also known as noctilucent clouds, are being caused by the exhaust emissions of the shuttle – a point which NASA does not deny – and he is concerned that we are messing with the chemistry of the upper atmosphere without a proper understanding of how it works.

The Russians and Chinese rockets use a different fuel: there’s no need to use the ammonium perchlorate.

The perchlorate from the launches is also getting into drinking water across America. Yuk!

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Create What Matters Most!

Skills & Support for Creating Rich, Healthy, & Sustainable Lives

Coaching - Books - Newsletter

www.BruceElkin.com

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THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF WEB

Some sites that have passed my way:


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EcoNews, Guy Dauncey
395 Conway Road, Victoria
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Tel/Fax (250) 881-1304

Author of "Stormy Weather: 101 Solutions to Global Climate Change"
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