EcoNews
Newsletter #216 - September 2011
Promoting the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island
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EcoNews is a free monthly newsletter funded by your kind donations. It dreams of a world blessed by the harmony of nature, the pleasures of community, and the joys of personal fulfillment, guided and protected by our active citizenship.
AG00119_.gif (2913 bytes) If you value receiving EcoNews, could you send a donation to help cover the cost? There’s almost no money in the bank, right now. It costs over $1,000 a month to produce, and prices keep rising. For this we reach around 8,000 people, including every MLA in BC, and every municipal politician in the CRD.If you can help by making a donation, whether $5 or $100, that would be most welcome. Donations can be sent to: EcoNews, 395 Conway Rd, Victoria, BC, V9E 2B9. EcoNews is not charity tax-deductible, but if you would like a receipt, please send a stamped self-addressed envelope. Donations can also be sent via PayPal:
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Many thanksto The First Unitarian Church of Victoria (congregational collection), The Pinch Group at Raymond James, Marian Kemp, R. Bilash, Janet Meadows, Helga Naguib, Christine Johnston, Doreen Hynd, Arnold Ranneris, Alison Fitzgerald, Pat Johnston, Chris Bullock, Hilda Dahl, Eleanor McKinnon, Richard Pearson, Marlene Rice, Roberta Hower, Andy Robertson, Nancy Turner, P. Buxcey, Gillian Smith, Ed Mackenzie, Dave Secco, Mignon & George Lundmark, Noel Taylor, Martin Weideman, Miriam Thorn, Andrew Pringle, Elizabeth Nuse, Anita Galitzine, Michael Collins, Janice Turner, Jean Rankin, Alison McLaren, Marian Kemp, Kathryn Harcourt, Marie Bohlen, Susan Grout, Brian Pinch, Peter Schofield, Mark Whitear, Barbara Hourston, Marya Nijland, Barbara Taylor, Penny Furnes, Peter Lamb, Jack & Heide Martin, Ruth Masters, Rich Mably, Sandra McPherson, Josephine Munro, Marta Gassler, Louise Irwin, Francis Kremler, Alan Dolan, Bob Willard, Frank Martens, Dennis Dolphin, Jean Wallace & Marjorie Vachell. Thankyou!
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Saanich Organics Box Program

Certified organic veggies from our farms delivered directly to you.

www.saanichorganics.com

250-818-5807



Contact EcoNews

Guy Dauncey, Editor
13561 Barney Road, Ladysmith, BC
CANADA V9G 1E9
Tel (250) 924-1445
www.earthfuture.com

Executive director
The Solutions Project

Feature Story

THE POWER OF EARTH’S STORY

What’s your story? We all carry a story in our heads, whether we are aware of it or not. How else do we answer those troubling questions – Who are we? What are we doing here? Why is life sometimes such a struggle? And why are we making such a mess of things?

In the olden days, your story might have been about how raven flew down from the sky, and created the world.

Today, more than ever, we need a new story, for we are rushing somewhere at a mighty great speed, killing the fish, cooking the sky, and clearing the forest - but does anyone know where we’re going?

Some hide, inventing a story through comic book heroes, drugs, or Second Life. Most people, however, choose one of five stories.

The First Story
A Holy Book tells our story, sent by God to guide us. For some, it is the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita, or the Talmud.

For others, it is the New Testament, which tells how God so loved the world that He sent his only son Jesus to save us from our sins. Some hold that Jesus is about to return, and all true believers will be taken up to Heaven in the Rapture, leaving the rest of us to be destroyed.

The Second Story
We humans are muddling along, and not to worry, we’ll get there in the end. We just need sound government, lower taxes, and a good business environment, so that the economy can grow and everyone can have a corner of the Earth where they can raise their kids in peace, and go fishing at the end of the day.

Recessions come and go, and most environmentalists’ concerns have proven to be wrong. If you work hard and lead a responsible life, this world is a great place to be. We should give thanks for it every day, and defend it hard against all who seek to destroy it.

Earth
www.emagazine.com

The Third Story
Something’s profoundly wrong with the way we humans live, taking what we want and just discarding our wastes. We’re technologically clever and financially skillful, but ever since we took up the plough, we’ve been ecologically illiterate.

Maybe it would be good if we became extinct – then we could leave this beautiful Earth to the beavers and the fir trees.

We behave like a cancer, consuming the body we dwell on. We allow big money to ruin the Earth, and big corporations to rape and ransack it. No wonder elephants rage, and rainforests weep.

Ours is not an encouraging story – for humans are not an encouraging species. Ecological collapse is inevitable.

The Fourth Story
We live at a time of incredible challenges – but we should never give up.

We have come a long way, and in spite of our cruelty, pride, and many foolishnesses we have made great progress. We have ended slavery in most of the developed world. We have overthrown kings and tyrants. We have created democracy. We have established human rights for many people, and abolished many of the sicknesses that used to plague our world. We have developed a scientific way of thinking, and created technologies that have helped us end poverty – not yet for all, but compared to the way our ancestors lived, for many.

Now we face a huge new challenge, to learn to live in harmony with the Earth, and all species. This will mean a complete turnaround in habits we take for granted, and ending the abusive power of corporations that are wrecking the Earth - but if we build a movement strong enough, as we have done before, we can do it.

Earth’s children know things must be different. Millions of people know it. Another world is possible. We can fashion a world without fossil fuels, in which all people have fulfilling work. We can craft treaties to save the oceans – but we have to work fast, for time is chronically short, and global warming is currently out of control.

The Fifth Story
As humans, we are the inheritors of all evolution.

We live at the threshold of the most amazing breakthrough history has ever know. It is only 40 years since we saw our planet from space, and we are already becoming a global civilization. All around the world, human consciousness is evolving beyond religion, race, and nation.

When we meet each other from the heart, it is clear that WE ARE ONE – all humans, all animals, all Nature.

As long as we get engaged to tackle the present urgent crisis, which represents the collapse of the old, pre-unity approach to life, we will survive to become a species that cares for and loves the Earth. Compared to what lies ahead, our past has been our kindergarten years.

We have urgent problems to overcome – but by working together as a planet we can create a world beyond poverty, beyond war, beyond ecological abuse.

We hold the young buds of an astonishing future our hands. A new spirituality is being born, without the old religious bonds. When we embrace the new understandings about healing, quantum connections, and the power of intention, astonishing possibilities appear.

The time is now.

Which is your story?

 Guy Dauncey

The Eco-Personals

$1.00 a word. Max 5 lines; non-profits, low-income free. 1" box ad $50


The EcoNews bank account is still very empty. If you can help with a donation, please send it to EcoNews, 395 Conway Road, Victoria V9E 2B9 (for a receipt, please send a stamped addressed envelope), or by PayPal here.


EcoNews enjoys new volunteers at our dessert potluck mail-out parties, last Friday of month. Call Guy, 881-1304


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


Short term rental, prime Fairfield location. $30/night. 250-382-3810


Syd’s Demo Salvage. Quality building materials. We also purchase homes. 250-381-1141. www.sydsdemosalvage.com


Pacific Gardens Cohousing – a sustainable community under construction in Nanaimo. 250-754-3060 www.pacificgardens.ca


Swift Kick Computers. Eco-friendly, servicing local business and personal computers at your location. All on-site transport fueled by used veggie oil. Peter, 250-514-4815

Green Bites

CHANGE IS HAPPENING

It’s so easy to lose the big picture, because the mainstream media is not reporting changes they are not tuned to. So while we know about the gloomiferous financial collapse, most people are not learning about other changes that mark an enormous shift:

  • San Francisco has announced that it will become the electric vehicle (EV) capital of the US.
  • Los Angeles is planning to become the first solar city in the US, generating 10% of its electricity from solar, costing LA residents just $2 extra a month.
  • In the UK, every new house must be zero carbon, starting in 2016.
  • The new International Renewable Energy Agency is being launched in Germany in January. The European Union has pledged to get 20% of its energy needs from renewables by 2020.
  • Starting Jan 1st 2009, Seattle will be charging 20 cents for disposable plastic shopping bags.
  • The BC town of Nelson has voted to become a Genetically Engineered Free Zone, ensuring that local farmers can grow crops and save seeds without fear of GE cross-contamination.
  • In November, The New York Times came out with a special issue dated July 4th 2009, showing in amazing detail what might be possible. OK, it was a Yes-Men spoof! www.nytimes-se.com

Don’t get caught in the daily gloomy news which drags our minds back to the collapsing paradigm. Focus on the birth of the new, not the death of the old.

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SAVE O.U.R. ECOVILLAGE

If you have been to O.U.R. EcoVillage in Cobble Hill, it needs no explaining. If you’ve not, you’ve missed discovering this living laboratory of rural sustainability that’s attracting 7500 visitors a year who come to learn about cooperative living, permaculture, natural building, and a new vision of life on Earth.

OUR EcoVillage has run into a very peculiar roadblock, however. For the past nine years, they have had their mortgage with Island Savings, who have been great, but a renewal process requires a new appraisal, and it’s proving hard to find anyone certified and able to do a multi-featured appraisal that combines park, school, business, homes, and social capital. This has put OUR EcoVillage’s $900,000 mortgage in jeopardy, amplifying the urgency to pay it off.

How can we help? OUR EcoVillage is inviting us to purchase shares in the Coop that owns the land. They have raised $400k, so $500k is still needed, with shares for sale from $1,000 to $5,000 to $100,000.

For a charitable tax receipt, you can buy through the Cowichan Community Land Trust which is purchasing the park area and placing an ecological covenant on it.

Could this be the ultimate green Christmas Gift for a grandchild? Call Brandy McPherson at 250-743-3067, and see www.ourecovillage.org.

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CORPORATION AND STATE

First there was Magna Carta in 1215, when the Barons of England forced King John to accept that his will could be bound by the law. Then there was England’s Bill of Rights, the US Constitution, and the French Revolution, which empowered all males to vote. Then there was universal suffrage, allowing all humans to vote.

Starting in 1886, however, US judges starting ruling that corporations be given them the same rights as humans, including trial by jury, and protection against the taking of property.
   
Dr. Riki Ott is an Alaska commercial salmon-fisher who witnessed with growing disgust the way Exxon slipped out of its responsibility to compensate people for the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster, when the oil tanker, under the guidance of its drunk captain, spilled up to 38 million gallons of oil. Almost 20 years later, after every legal maneuver in the book, Exxon – which took $15 billion profit in its last quarter, got off with paying only $507 million in damages –3 days profit.

Riki is arguing, very simply, for a 28th amendment to the US constitution, separating corporation and state, which she spells out in her book Not One Drop. See her 4-minute video on YouTube at www.tinyurl.com/6hrtcx

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SEEDS OF VICTORIA

Certified Organic & non-hybrid seeds for Seed Saving

Christmas Seed Collections $13.95
at all Dig This Stores in Victoria & Nanaimo
& the Community Farm Store in Duncan

On-line seed catalogue: www.earthfuture.com/gardenpath

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RECYCLE A BEATER

Got a 1995 or earlier beater that costs a small fortune each time it needs repairing? The Victoria Car Share Coop has partnered up to bring Scrap-It to the Island, with four incentive options:

(a) $750 to $2,250, depending on how much CO2 you reduce by scrapping it;

(b) a 24 months transit pass;

(c) 12 months transit pass plus $1200 towards a bike or $1300 towards an electric bike; or '

(d) $1,000 towards membership in the Victoria Car-Share Coop. For details, see www.scrapit.ca.

To join the Car Share Coop, with 17 vehicles in 12 locations, see www.victoriacarshare.ca

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RIDESHARING ON PENDER

Hot on the heels of Cortes Island’s Green Rider Program, Pender Island has its Car Stops, like Bus Stops, with 16 signs where people can wait for “casual carpooling” (not hitchhiking, so legal.) To learn more, call Barry Mathias, Moving Around Pender Alternative Transportation Society. 250-629-9965

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CYCLING TO ECOTOPIA

Otesha! The word means “reason to dream” in Swahili, and it’s a youth-run organization that uses theatre to mobilize young people to adopt more sustainable lifestyles. Otesha team members cycle around Canada, living together, having fun, and doing performances – and they’re gearing up for 2009 May-June tours in the Prairies, the Kootenays, the Sunshine Coast, and the Rockies (and more). “The twinkle in one's eye, the unstoppable laughter shared between beautiful people …I'm forever seeking magic in a world that makes very little sense to me.” Now’s the time to sign up. www.otesha.ca

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NEW COUNCILLORS

EcoNews extends a big welcome to all new and returning councillors and Mayors. Congratulations! EcoNews has been published for 17 years, and you will receive a free copy every month. We aim to cover positive, important, solutions-oriented news that is practical and useful. If you’d like extra copies for your staff, send an email to guydauncey@earthfuture.com, and if you’d like to receive it by email, sign up right here!

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HOLIDAY RECYCLING

The Recycling Council of BC is committed to the goal of Zero Waste (yea!). They tell us that the annual waste generated in Canada from gift‐wrapping and shopping bags comes to 545,000 tonnes (ouch!!). If every family reduced its weekly waste during the holidays by just one kilogram, we could eliminate 34,000 tonnes of garbage. If every Canadian was to wrap three gifts in reused paper or gift bags, we would save enough paper to not cover 45,000 hockey rinks. Tell your kids – don’t make Santa feel bad about all the waste, and don’t make the Grinch even grumpier!

Grinch
"Reduce, reuse, recycle, you wretched wastrels!"

“He puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store.
Maybe Christmas... perhaps... means a little bit more!”

   – The Grinch, via Dr Seuss.

PS: Due to the market meltdown, there’s no market for low-grade recycled plastics, so we’re being asked to reduce our use of plastics #3-#7 on the bottom, which includes those mini-yoghurt tubs.

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THE WE GENERATION

First there were the baby-boomers, then the Me Generation – and now there’s the We Generation:

“We believe that our birthright has been violated, and we are inheriting a damaged future. Enough is enough. …. We, the youth, the fair-minded, the legacy bearers, must seize this great divide as a tremendous opportunity. We must immediately unite to end plundering and transform our current condition …. We have an urgent agenda that repairs our inheritance and our planet.”

The We website is launching in January 2009 as a place “to connect, organize, develop campaigns, and launch actions that influence the political process and enable your collective voice to be heeded.” Sign the We Declaration at www.gen-we.org.

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GREEN GIFTS

  • A $1,000 or $5,000 Share in O.U.R. EcoVillage, for your grandchildren. See www.ourecovillage.org.

  • A Year on the Garden Path – a 52 Week Organic Gardening Guide, by Carolyn Herriot. Grow your own food! www.earthfuture.com/gardenpath

  • Green Gifts from Victoria’s The Good Planet stores, www.goodplanet.com

  • A Subscription to YES! Magazine full of change, hope and sustainable happiness. www.yesmagazine.org

  • Building an Ark: 101 Solutions to Animal Suffering, by Ethan Smith/Guy Dauncey. www.earthfuture.com/ark

  • $49 holiday box of local organic fruit and veggies. Foodroots fund raiser for the pocket market project. Call Lee at 250-385-7974 for a pickup on Dec 20/21 or to donate a box to the Salvation Army or Transition House. www.foodroots.ca
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DEBRA BARR

Debra Barr was always a wonderful source of warmth, love, hope, smiles, encouragement, and dreams of a beautiful world, but on October 13th she left us, after a sudden heart infection. Debra was an archivist at Royal Roads, a staunch supporter of the new Robert Bateman Art and Environmental Education Centre, a birder, runner, gardener, hiker, spiritual survival researcher – and with her life-partner Ian Barclay, a great friend of EcoNews. So many of us say thankyou, and then thankyou again. For a remembrance of her life, see www.tinyurl.com/6b553t.

Action(s) of the Month

1: ANCIENT FORESTS PETITION

The Wilderness Committee has 24,000 signatures on its petition to end old-growth logging on Vancouver Island and ban raw log exports – and they want 30,000 by December 15th. Sign on at www.viforest.org, or download a hard copy for friends to sign, or pick one up at 651 Johnson St. 388-9292.

2: FISH FARMING EXPANSION

There is a massive expansion planned for fish farming in the Discovery Islands and Broughton areas, in spite of the disaster it brings to wild salmon.  Take the time to read about it at www.georgiastrait.org/?q=node/801, and sign the petition to deny applications for expansion and new open net cage salmon farms, extend the moratorium on fish farms to the entire BC coast, and proceed with the transition of the industry to closed containment.

The Wonderful World of Web
Submissions to EcoNews

To buy ad space in the next EcoNews, or to submit your event to next month's Green Diary, please contact:

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

Deadline for April issue March 24th

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