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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. 173 - Serving the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island - September 2007

Now available as PDF's! Front (PDF1.75mb) - Middle (PDF319kb) - Green Diary (PDF74kb)


LET US GO FORWARD TOGETHER

It has been a very disturbing summer, with monsoon-like downpours and floods in England, and the wettest June since records began, violent downpours and flooding in China, and disastrous flooding across India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal, leaving 7.5 million people homeless, displaced or stranded. There have been megafires in Greece, and blistering heatwaves in the southern US, causing nuclear power plants to close for lack of cooling water. In Baghdad, as if life weren’t bad enough, temperatures as high as 53 ºC. And all this from a rise in the global temperature of just 0.8ºC.

Even among those who accept that climate change is real, few grasp quite how serious it is. The IPCC sea-level warning for 2100 is up to 59 cm, but NASA’s James Hansen warns that it may be several metres, since the icecaps don’t melt in a linear manner. People are shocked at how fast the Arctic is melting; the whole Arctic could be ice-free in summer by 2030. I recommend the book Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet by Mark Lynas for a proper understanding of what will happen if we don’t get a very rapid grip.

The closest historical parallel in terms of the need for a coordinated response is World War II, when Britain and its allies pulled out all the stops to stop the Nazis and the Japanese from dominating the world. (I am currently reading Churchill’s history of WW II.)

In the 1930s, no-one wanted to believe another war might happen so soon after all the suffering of the last one. Churchill was almost alone in trying to warn that Germany was rearming, and Britain should do the same. There was a deep desire to believe it was not so, just as there is a desire among many today to prefer comfort of climate denial to the hard truth of the scientific evidence.

When Hitler marched into Poland, people woke up. Because of the lack of foresight Britain was unprepared, and when the Nazis invaded France in June 1940 the British were forced to retreat at Dunkirk, abandoning all their military equipment.

Britain now stood alone against the Nazis, in imminent danger of invasion without even rifles for the Home Guard. The defeated French made a treaty with Hitler, and America was watching from the sidelines. What is so compelling about Churchill’s memoirs, however, is the absolute determination that Britain would do whatever it took to defeat the Nazis, and defend the hope of freedom and democracy.

The crisis that is looming today is far more severe in terms of what "defeat" will mean. And no, I am not shy of using these war metaphors.

Today, we do not need tanks and bombers – we need solar panels and electric vehicles. In 1940, Britain’s auto industry switched its entire production line from cars to planes in six months; America did the same in 1942.

The World Bank economist Sir Nicholas Stern has estimated that the investment needed to convert our economy to sustainable energy technologies so that we can cease using fossil fuels is 1 to 3% of our GDP.

In 1940, the British government asked people to buy savings certificates to help pay for the war. During one fund-raising drive, the small town of Marple in Cheshire raised £128,360 towards the cost of a Lancaster Bomber, four Spitfires and four Hurricanes. In total, the bonds raised £1,754 million for the war effort – 3% of Britain’s GDP. If we bought Climate Solutions Bonds at a similar rate of commitment, Canada would raise $33 billion over five years to invest in transit, cycling, energy efficiency, building retrofits, converting the auto industry, retraining coal miners whose mines had been closed, helping Canada’s farmers go organic, and so on.

The British accepted the need for food rationing. We need to accept carbon rationing, starting at 4 tonnes of CO2 a year with anything extra costing $50 to $100 a tonne. They accepted the need to eat a sparse but healthy diet. We need to accept the need to eat far less meat, since the livestock industry produces 18% of our global emissions.

The single factor that made the difference in WWII was the absolute determination of the British people to win, along with her allies in Canada, Australia and the USA, and a similar determination in Russia. We need the same level of commitment today, but for the whole world.

Every one of us has a role to play, just as they did in WWII, and we can be confident that when we emerge successfully from the effort into a sustainable peaceful world, many things will have changed for the better.

Are we moving fast enough? No. Can we do it, if we try? Absolutely. When we truly realize what is at stake, we won’t hesitate for a second.

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 George Wood, Hannelore Ioannides, Katy Bloomfield, Christine Johnson, Audrey Woodward, Jan Carroll, Ron Rayner, Karen Chapple, E. C. Davies, Richard Pearson, Monica Oldham, Flora Wood, Rosemary Emery, Kathleen Gibson, James Whiteaker, Margareth Hantiuk, Ann Radford, Dana Griffith, Alan Drengson, Stefan Ochman, James Hackler, Marlyn Horsdal, Jean Matheson, Garth van der Kamp, David Greer, David van Stolk, Chislett Manson, Raymond Hill, Arnold McCutcheon, David Walker, Jack Martin, Connie Mungall, Blaise Salmon, Jenny Fraser, Anne & Gord Baird, Lynn Weger, Aarran Rainbow, Sonja Young, Christian Engelstoft, Oak Bay Green & Rosie Emery.


THE ECO-PERSONALS
$1.30 a word. Non-profits, low-income free. 1" box ad $50

* Wielding my green pen like a light sabre, I find a household that needs to share with me! Contact single yogini if you live near Victoria and need a stupendous housemate. 382-6661

* Join the Therah Community on Galiano Island. 100 acre forest, organic farm, next to Dionisio Park. Incl 2 acre cottage site, hydro phone to lot line. $115,000. www.tinyurl.com/2c82ld . 1-888-539-2250

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

* Sustainable Living in the City - Co-Operative Housing Opportunity - Beautiful, character home for sale - Fairfield/Rockland border - Currently used as an owner/occupier revenue property - 2 main suites and 3 rooms upstairs (happily rented) - Walk, bike to town, ocean - quiet street - private, established garden - major upgrades completed - space for home based business - drive by 1150 McClure St and call Susan at 384 1800 (mls 231440 - private sale after Sept 13th )

* Couple looking for home to rent with available garden space, Interurban area. 812-3379  heyleilei@yahoo.com

* Pacific Gardens Cohousing Nanaimo 250-754-3060 www.pacificgardens.ca

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

* Wanted: space for organic garden, Victoria region. Mike 385-0605

* The Land Conservancy seeks volunteers to help with exciting projects - Abkhazi Garden, Ross Bay Villa, TLC's 10th Anniversary Sept 15th. Tara volunteer@conservancy.bc.ca 479-8399

* Weekly mindfulness meditation gathering for women Brentwood area, starting September. Location tba. Tatha naturesparadigm@telus.net

* The Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary seeks volunteers this fall who share our concern for the natural environment. Joan 479-0211 or email: volunteer@swanlake.bc.ca

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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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PESTICIDES – CALL TO ACTION

There’s more action needed if you live, work or shop in the City of Victoria. Across Canada, 130 cities and the province of Quebec have introduced pesticide-free bylaws to control the cosmetic use of pesticides that have known links to childhood and adult leukemia, childhood brain cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, other cancers – and cancer in dogs.

Scottish terriers are 4 to 7 times more likely to have bladder cancer if their owners use phenoxy acid herbicides. The CRD Directors are unwilling to do act but they have produced a Model Bylaw that local municipalities can adopt. Victoria is that only community to consider doing so, but with a very weak bylaw that allows the use of pesticides on driveways and sidewalks, and anyone can get a permit to spray for $25.

You have until Sept 6th to submit your thoughts at www.tinyurl.com/2tf3ys and please send an email to parks@victoria.ca and www.victoria.ca/common/contact.shtml marked "To Mayor and Council". There is a meeting on Thur Sept 20th to plan the wider adoption of bylaws – see Green Diary. Call Nancy Falconer, Canadian Cancer Society, 380-2358.

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COMMUNITY ECONOMY

In a sane, sustainable world, as well as private enterprise, our towns and cities would also have community led businesses and coops as they do so successfully in Mondragon (Spain), the Bologna region of Italy, and elsewhere. It is known as Community Economic Development, and it too needs trained professionals, just as successful businesses like to hire MBAs. If this interests you, Simon Fraser University is offering a series of courses in Victoria, starting September 21-22. See www.tinyurl.com/39edrc.

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FAIR DEMOCRACY

A crucial story for everyone who want to end the days of vote-splitting between similar political parties. Ontarians are voting in a province-wide referendum on October 10th to adopt a system of mixed-member proportional voting.

The vote is critical for more than Ontario. The Liberal leader Stephan Dion has apparently said he supports electoral reform, but the Ottawa types are waiting to see which way Ontario votes before they make a commitment. In other words – write, phone and email everyone you know in Ontario and urge them to vote YES on October 10th! See www.voteformmp.ca and www.fairvotecanada.org/node/380 , PS. The YES campaign also needs $$ donations to support their work.

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HAVE YOU DRIVEN A FJORD?

Stand by for a revolution in the way we think about a car – the iCar. The story starts with the Norwegian Think City, an electric car from the 1990s. When the US car industry killed off California’s clean air regulations, the Think went bankrupt – but like the phoenix, it has emerged transformed.

The new Think EV will be sold on-line. It will be Internet and Wi-Fi enabled, so the car can send you an email if the battery is getting low, or if it’s able to sell power back to the grid. It will do 100 kph with a range of 180 km, and when the batteries need replacing, a power company might buy them to store intermittent green energy, for which they are still good.

Its owner Jan-Olaf Willums is planning to produce 20,000 initially for sale in Norway in 2008, for $34,000. If the battery is leased, the car will sell for $16,000 with a monthly "mobility fee" of $100 to $200 that might include the battery, insurance and Internet access. It may also appear with a Stirling engine that runs on biofuels to recharge its battery, eliminating the range limit. See CNN Money www.tinyurl.com/ywo8s9.

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Green Party of BC AGM

20-21 October at Royal Roads
Join or renew NOW to elect the new leader!
For a membership form, contact leadership candidate Jane Sterk at jsterk@shaw.ca or 382-0603
Membership deadline is 20 September.

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THE PARIS FREEDOM BIKE

Since July, Paris has been dotted with 10,000 self-serve bicycles in 750 bike ranks – known as the Velib. You can buy a year’s membership from 300 métro stations and 400 pastry shops for $41 plus a $215 credit card deposit. The bikes have been a huge success – in the first 3 weeks, they were borrowed 6 times a day for each bike. By the end of the year, there are plans to have 20,600 bikes and 1400 parking spots. Paris has 370 km of cycle paths, and is governed by a green socialist Mayor, Bertrand Delanoë. See www.velib.paris.fr

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CLIMATE ACTION DAY

If you want similar things to happen here in Victoria, and are generally concerned about global climate change, as we should all be, you can join the BCSEA Climate Action Day on Saturday Sept 15th, with a 5km walk, speakers, music and presentations in Beacon Hill Park. www.cadvictoria.org

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THE 11TH HOUR

This is a fabulous movie, at University 4 on Shelbourne. Take all your friends, and persuade your MLAs and city councillors to go. Essential viewing for everyone. See www.11thhourfilm.com and www.11thhouraction.com

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SEVEN SIGNS OF PROGRESS

Slow but sure, so don’t be discouraged!

1. Thanks to YouTube and Nanaimo’s Paul Manley, the Quebec police have been revealed to be working as masked agent provocateurs at the Montebello summit, trying to get a peaceful democratic protest tarred with the brush of violence, something many of us have suspected for years. See www.tinyurl.com/2dzk7q

2. The City of Victoria has declared that all new civic buildings over 500 sq metres must meet the LEED Silver green building standard. Yea!

3. The BC Government has said that all its operations will be carbon neutral by 2010, and hired Nicola Wade as Executive Director for Carbon Neutral government. They have also hired Louise Comeau, long time eco-advocate, as Executive Director of Public Outreach & Strategic Engagement.

4. After years of persistent campaigning since 1995 by the Western Canada Wilderness Committee and others, the Elaho Valley has been largely protected under the new Squamish Nation Land Use Plan, thanks to the Squamish Nation and the BC government. Yea! http://media.wildernesscommittee.org/news/2007/07/12426.php

5. The CRD is buying more than 9,700 hectares of land from TimberWest to protect the future of our region’s drinking water supply, and add substantially to our network of parks.

6. Thanks to persistent work by cycling and rail advocates in Victoria, the federal government has granted $11.4 million to create a new long-distance bike and pedestrian trail alongside the E&N railway, linking Goldstream and Colwood to downtown Victoria.

7. You are still an amazing person full of beauty and wonder, determined to do whatever you can to make a difference.

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ACTION OF THE MONTH:

URBAN SPRAWL - URGENT CALL

In Europe, they call them Green Belts, and they define the harmony of the landscape. You draw a line around the urban area, and outside that is forest, farm or wilderness. It’s a central principle of good planning, and here in BC it was enshrined in the Regional Growth Act to which all CRD municipalities gave their unanimous approval 4 years ago.

So why is the CRD now seeking to extend the urban containment boundary deep into land in the southern Highlands that everyone agreed should be set aside as green space? There’s only one reason that can explain it, which is that the Bear Mountain developers have discovered that turning green space into condos is an easy way to make huge amounts of money.

Not content with their initial 2200 units plus a huge golf course, or the subsequent 29 and 45 storey towers they are planning to build for a total 5,000 units (larger than Bamberton would have been – let that sink in….) they now want to extend the bulldozers deep into the southern Highlands up to Finlayson Arm Road, destroying the forest as they go with all its habitat for wild plants and creatures, and the peace that green space brings to a busy city.

This is wrong wrong wrong, and it’s an atrocious precedent if this is how easily the Regional Growth Act can be abused. We have got to draw the line. Luckily, there’s an opportunity to have your say at the CRD Public Hearing at 6:30pm on Thursday Sept 13th at the Ambrosia Centre, 638 Fisgard St. A majority of the CRD’s not-directly-elected directors have already voted twice to approve it, in blatant disregard for climate change, green space, and traffic congestion from an additional 5,000 urban limit drivers.

Action:

Here’s your "Stand up for Beauty, Sanity and Green Space" homework:

1. Go to the Public Hearing on Sept 13th, and be willing to speak. Bring your thoughts in written form to submit to the CRD so that they are part of the formal democratic record.

2. Send your thoughts by Mon Sept 10th to Tracy Corbett, CRD Regional Planning, PO Box 1000, Victoria V8W 2S6, marked "RGS Public Hearing Submission".

3. Submit your thoughts online at www.crd.bc.ca/growth/amendment Option 3. Write first then cut and paste.

The deciding vote will be taken by each municipal council, not by the CRD Directors, so the councillors must have your thoughts in writing. If just one council votes NO, the amendment goes to a provincially mandated arbitration process. We need all 14 councils to vote NO, and for that, your opinion is essential. So talk to your neighbours, encourage them to sign the petition at www.tinyurl.com/yv889l, and send an email with these details to all your friends. Green space now and forever!

PS The current Focus magazine cover story about me says I run 10km every day. Can you imagine? It’s only once a week. Blame a lowly copy-editor and cease thinking I must be super-human! J

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THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF WEB

Some noteworthy sites that have passed my way

 


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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"
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