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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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Guy Dauncey, Editor
395 Conway Road, Victoria, BC
Tel (250) 881-1304

Executive director of The Solutions Project


Newsletter No. 170 - Serving the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island - May 2007


Here in British Columbia, we are sitting on an opportunity to demonstrate the solutions to global climate change that is unique in the world.

Let me be clear: it is hard to exaggerate the scale of the planetary eco-disaster that lies ahead if we do not get a firm grip on our emissions.

As an advanced nation with the capacity to show leadership, we need to reduce our emissions to 60% below the 1990 level by 2020, and 85% by 2030. Any talk of reducing emissions by 2050 is too far out, too late to stop the consequences.

It is only if the leader nations of the world can demonstrate how this can be done that we will have a chance to achieve what is needed globally, which is to stabilize emissions by 2015 to 2020, and then reduce them rapidly.

This is why the City of London has set a goal to reduce its emissions to 60% below the 1990 level by 2025. It may seem impossible, but that is in the order of what’s needed.

We must prevent global emissions from rising above 450 ppm, since that will bring a 2°C rise in temperature, trigger the unstoppable meltdown of the Greenland ice-cap, and an eventual 7 metre rise in sea level, wiping out most of the Lower Mainland and the core of BC’s economy. The other global consequences are equally devastating.

Unless there is a federal election that results in a Liberal-NDP-Green Coalition government, we’re not going to see any useful leadership there. Here in BC, however, now that we have strong, committed leadership from the Premier’s office, BC’s goal of 10% below 1990 by 2020 is good enough to get us started.

So what is it that makes BC so unique? In a nutshell, our mountains. They give us hydro electricity that is 88% green. By 2016 we will no longer be importing dirty power from Alberta and the USA, and our electricity will be almost 100% green.

We also have enough additional green electrical capacity from conservation, wind, solar, geothermal, microhydro, tidal and other sources to generate 150% to 200% more electricity than we use today without need for the Site C hydro dam in the Peace region, providing us with a large margin of comfort as warmer temperatures causing faster spring snowmelts and reduced hydro-reserves in late summer.

Illustration by Patricia Geernaert, from
Recipe for a Cool Planet

The reason why green electricity is so important is that there is a strong emerging consensus that the primary energy for future vehicles will not be hydrogen or biofuels, but electricity, for use in electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, which are expected on the market by 2012.

The power needed to run the whole of BC’s fleet primarily on electricity is only 15% to 25% more than our current use, making it easy for us to achieve. The typical time it takes for fleet turnover is up to 15 years, but if we used incentives, including a carbon that that penalizes the use of gasoline, the turnover could be reduced to ten years. A side benefit would be the elimination of air pollution, smog and noise, bringing enormous health benefits.

BC’s electricity is the 3rd cheapest in North America, which places us at a disadvantage when it comes to doubling our efficiency and jumping into the solar age, but it creates a big advantage when it comes to powering our vehicles, since it makes them that much cheaper. A typical electric car in BC will cost only a quarter of what it costs to run a car today.

Land transport only represents 31% of BC’s emissions, so we also need to demonstrate innovation and excellence in the way we retrofit all our existing buildings, make all new buildings carbon neutral, capture all our landfill gases, grow far more local, organic food to reduce our imports, switch to video-meetings instead of flying, and capture and sequestrate all of the greenhouse gases from BC’s oil and gas industry (20% of our emissions), so there’s no mistaking it, there’s a lot of work to do.

There are also contradictions we need to overcome such as the large annual subsidies we give to the oil and gas sector (average $263 million a year), and the government’s continuing commitment to the Gateway Program, which will spend $4 billion on new roads and bridges in the Lower Mainland, bringing a guaranteed increase in emissions. If road-pricing were used instead, the income could finance a major expansion of cycling, transit, coaches and ridesharing, eliminating the congestion.

There is a vast array of effective, innovative policies and technologies that we can draw on to achieve the needed level of reductions. In the process, we would catapult BC to a global leadership position, demonstrating how we can solve this problem.

The transition to an economy and a way of life that no longer needs fossil fuels will bring innovation, jobs, and a pulse of excitement, as people realize that a sustainable way of living can be exciting and rewarding. We just need the courage to believe that it’s possible.

Guy Dauncey


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.

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A big thankyou to Katy Bloomfield, Hermine Hicks, Susan Coward, Gil Parker, Sacred Heart Church, Monika Hall-Kowalewski, Judy Gaylord, Dan Schubart, Garry Oak Meadow Preservation Society, Chris Garrett, Michael & Barbara Clague, Bruce Torrie, Dr. Dorle Kneifel Med. Corp. and Jane Brett.

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* Charming guest room, $30/night. Cook St Village, ocean. 250-361-3102

* Pacific Gardens Cohousing Nanaimo 250-754-3060

* Seeking partners to buy land for eco-living

* Self-employed? Filed your tax return yet? Need assistance? Friendly accountant John Bowers, 383-7727

* Eco-village, Duncan countryside? Natural homebuilding, permaculture, Earth based spirituality. Meet Slice of Life café, 171 Jubilee St, Duncan, Thur 7-9 pm Janet

* For Sale: Picturesque Cowichan Bay 6.8 acre farm.  Used for production & sale of vegetables.  2 large ponds, barn, early 1900s 5 bedroom home.  $725,000 Pat O’Gorman, Sutton Group Resource Realty 250-748-5000

* 2007 Saanich Environmental Awards for individuals, groups and businesses. Nominations close 4pm, May 16th. Call Angela Evans, 475-5494 #3408

* The Land Conservancy needs accom for 2 international conservation volunteers, mid-June - Aug. Kathryn, 479-8301

* Wanted: Electric or hand-mow lawn service for aging greenies 477-4773

* Volunteers wanted for 3rd Annual Organic Islands Festival, Glendale Gardens July 7th and 8th. Many opportunities see Contact Karen . (250) 381-6699



On Sat May 5th I am repeating my 8-hour course at Royal Roads on The Global Climate Crisis: Seeking Solutions that Work. The feedback from those who have attended has been extremely positive, as the day is so full of positive examples from around the world. It covers the myriad solutions for buildings, transport, electricity, and fossil fuels, and policy levers that can be used by all levels of government.

$95 +GST, call Royal Roads 391-2600-#4801.

Or register here: .

All members of the BCSEA will get a 25% discount on the day. See


The Garden Path Centre

Open Garden & Plant Sale
Monday May 14th – May 21st
Daily, 10am – 5:30pm
395 Conway Rd
(off Interurban, just past Camosun College)



While we’re enjoying the spring wildflowers, Betty Krawczyk is holed up in jail for her determination to exercise her right to protest the destruction of the arbutus forest and wetlands at Eagleridge Bluffs, in North Vancouver, which is being destroyed to make it easier for cars to speed to Whistler for the “Greenest Games Ever”.

Betty was arrested with Harriet Nahanee, an elder from the Pacheenacht tribe who was protesting the negotiating away of unceded Squamish land by the band's chief and council. Betty was protesting “the needless destruction of an irreplaceable eco-system by my own chief and council: Gordon Campbell in Cabinet and Wally Oppal.”

Harriet Nahanee, 1937 – 2007

Before they were arrested, they had gone to the Bluffs to say prayers for the dead and dying creatures due to the logging and blasting. Harriet wanted to pray for the red-legged frogs “who only live in wetlands and who signify life because that’s where we all came from, the wetlands … in the Pacheenacht belief when the last red legged frog dies all of humanity will also die.”

Harriet had severe asthma and a heart condition, but after they were arrested for disobeying an injunction not to protest, Madame Justice Brown sentenced Harriet to 14 days in the Surrey pre-trial centre, a men’s jail known to be bad for women’s health. Harriet died a few days later from complications with pneumonia, aged 71. Her life needs to be celebrated:

Betty was sentenced to 10 months. “My Lady, in a very real sense this trial is not about me. It’s about an awakening human consciousness, a consciousness that wants to do things differently, that wants to be healthy, and that wants a healthy planet.”

Please write to her: Betty Krawczyk, Alouette Correctional Centre for Women, PO Box 1000, Maple Ridge, BC V2X 3K4. For news of Betty, and how to visit, see



Cambridge, Massachusetts (pop’n 101,000) has established a ground-breaking model that other cities can learn from and adopt. Under the program established by the Cambridge Energy Alliance, hundreds of energy consultants will knock on the doors of the city’s 23,000 buildings, offering a free energy audit. They will also offer free or low-interest loans enabling owners to upgrade their buildings with more efficient lighting, heating, cooling and insulation, and renewable energy systems.

The $100 million package is financed 80% from private sources and 20% from electrical utility incentive programs, creating no obligation to the city or state. The cost of an upgrade will in most cases be covered by the financing with no upfront costs, and be repaid from future energy savings by Cambridge’s universities, hospitals, small businesses, residents, and the city’s facilities.

The city’s goal is to reduce its peak electricity demand by 15%; to reduce annual electricity and water demand by 10%; to achieve a city-wide participation rate of 50%; and to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions by 10% by 2011.

The governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, has also announced a $2 million revolving loan fund to finance the start-up costs to replicate the approach in five other Massachusetts cities, starting with Boston.

But note: people in Cambridge pay 9.5 cents US a kilowatt-hour for electricity, almost twice the price in BC, making an upgrade twice as cost-effective. This is one reason why the BC Sustainable Energy Association supports higher prices for electricity.



Put Tuesday July 10th in your diary for an amazing fun-filled event. You probably know Green Drinks– Victoria’s monthly get-together at the Queen Mother Restaurant on each 2nd Tuesday, 5-8pm.

For July, Roger Colwill is brewing something very different. In collaboration with Royal Roads, Green Drinks will become “Green BBQ at the Castle” – but everyone has to get there sustainably. Some will come by bus, and some will carpool in a hybrid or electric vehicle, but we’re hoping most will cycle there along the Galloping Goose. 500 green cyclists – that’s our goal. Visualize the photo – and plan to be part of it!

PS Victoria also has a new monthly Green Lunch, every fourth Wednesday at the Fernwood Inn. 12-1:30pm



Starting on Monday May 28th, it’s Bike to Work Week in Victoria. Last year, 5,500 people took part as members of a workplace team. This year, the goal is to exceed 6,000, attracting 850 new riders.

There’s a kick-off breakfast on Monday 28th; a Car vs Bike commuter race on Tuesday 29th, a mid-week BBQ, and a wrap-up BBQ on the final Friday: this is all about celebrating cycling, and the pleasure of getting fit in the fresh air.

Talk to your people at work, and maybe form a team? Lots of prizes. To learn more, see, email, call her at 920-5775 or drop in at 202-2610 Douglas (just north of Bay).



In Salt Lake City, anyone driving a low emission or alternative fuelled vehicle can get a sticker in their window and park for free at city meters (time limits are still in force). An easy way for Victoria to show leadership? They also give free bus passes to city staff. They have reduced their emissions from city operations by 31% since 2001.




Let’s face it – they’re a scourge. On average, each person uses 300 bags a year. Collectively, the people of BC use 1.2 billion bags a year, using 18 million litres of the world’s oil supply a year, releasing 50,400 tonnes of CO2. (Data via San Francisco’s Department of the Environment).

The Stern Review estimated the purely economic cost of climate change to be $100 a tonne of CO2, so the cost that future generations will have to pay for our use of the bags will be $5 million a year. We use them for 30 minutes and they sit in a landfill for up to 1,000 years, slowly breaking down into smaller toxic bits.

Even if we recycle them, the recycled plastic is not used to make more bags. Every year, hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales and other marine mammals die from eating plastic bags they mistake for food: there are over 46,000 pieces of plastic in each square mile of ocean.

The solution is to ban them, or tax them. Ireland’s “PlasTax” of 23 cents a bag has led to a 95% reduction in their use.

In San Francisco, they have voted to ban their use at supermarket checkouts within 6 months, and in large chain pharmacies within a year; compostable bags made from corn starch and recycled paper bags made will still be allowed.

Leaf Rapids, Manitoba (pop’n 550) started with a fee a year ago, and has now adopted a ban. The French island of Corsica banned the bags in large stores in 1999; Paris has just banned all non-biodegradable bags. By 2010, they will be banned all across France.

Ireland’s Plastax (increasing to 33 cents a bag in June) reduced consumer use from 328 bags a year to 21, raises $28 million a year, and has raised $140 million since 2002, used to provide more recycling facilities, enforce waste management regulations, recycle old fridges and freezers, run waste awareness campaigns, and to launch a very successful Green Schools initiative. It would make sense for BC to do the same.

It would also be a feel-good measure, as people get used to carrying cloth bags.



On May 24-17th, Prevent Cancer Now (PCN) is organizing a major conference in Ottawa on how to prevent cancer, with great speakers and workshops; the goal is to build a nation-wide movement to remove the causes of cancer, as opposed to working to find a cure.

If you’re interested, I encourage you to come – see We are doing a 5km or 10km Run, Walk and Roll for Cancer Prevention to raise funds for PCN at Elk Lake on Saturday May 12th, and this can be used as a fundraiser to help you come to the conference. For details, see, or call me, Guy Dauncey, at 250-881-1304. .



Helen Lupowitz from Brentwood Bay has produced a very simple little pocket book called Recipe for a Cool Planet, full of practical ideas to tackle global warming, with lovely soft illustrations by Patricia Geernaert. It is excellent for use in communities, and costs $28 for 5 copies – one for you, 4 to give to friends. It is also intended as a fundraiser for schools, communities and local climate groups, who can buy it at a wholesale rate for resale. See, or email



In Boulder, Colorado, the city offers a Neighbourhood Eco Pass (NECO) that gives people a bus service all year round for $56 to $128 per household. People volunteer to become a neighbourhood coordinator, and work to raise a group contract worth $5,000 among their neighbors. Once they have done this, all the neighbors get to qualify for the Eco Pass. Research shows that once NECO passes are distributed, ridership increases by 50%. In 2005, 21 neighborhoods used the program, totaling 4,500+ pass holders.



Write to the Premier, and thank him for showing leadership on climate change. Encourage him to involve the public, not just the civil servants; to change the Gateway Program to the Greenway Program; to phase out the $263 million a year oil and gas subsidies; to keep the moratorium on offshore oil and gas; and to bring in a carbon tax for all.

Premier Gordon Campbell, PO Box 9041 Stn Prov Gov’t Victoria V8W 9E1. Tel 387-17


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Click here for previous issues of EcoNews.

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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