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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. 53 - Serving Vancouver Island's Environmental Community - September 1996


NOW WE FACE A NEW CRISIS IN THE FOREST

Just when you thought the War in the Woods was over, the forests face a terrible ecological threat.

If current plans for forestry on Vancouver Island are allowed to proceed, we will see all of the old-growth forest outside the 13% protected areas liquidated, and two-thirds of the Island turned over to industrial forestry, clearcuts, chemicals and all (with the possible exception of Clayoquot Sound). It has taken over fifty years for the environmental movement to establish the principle that the best of the oldgrowth forest should be protected. With the final protection of 13% of the land-base under CORE, the rest of the Island is now being divided up into high intensity areas (HIAs) and low intensity areas (LIAs).

The new process is called Vancouver Island Regional Targets, a behind- closed-doors process which has industry but no environmental representation. Over 50% of the Island is now listed for 'high intensity forestry', and just 8% for 'low intensity'. The process is a sell-out of the more sensitive low intensity areas, where higher standards were supposed to apply. The Sierra Club has produced a map which shows that the HIAs cover most of the remaining oldgrowth forest, while a quarter of the LIAs have already been clearcut. With this new process, we have crossed a major watershed, and face a whole new landscape of problems.

If we, as environmentalists, are content to sit back on the laurels of the 13% saved (only 8% is forest, the rest is rock, ice and non-forest habitat), we will condemn future generations to a landscape deprived of the magic, power and ecological richness of the oldgrowth forest, which is the way nature designed the temperate rainforest to be, over millions of years.

We may also be doing far worse. With rising global temperatures combined with harmful UV rays, the worst thing we could be doing is removing the forest canopy, exposing new growth to the increased heat and UV rays. The most sensible defensive strategy against climate change would be to remove as little of the canopy as possible, to maintain the protection that nature herself designed. Whatever the multinational forest corporations may say, the evidence is in that ecosystem-based forest management can provide jobs, timber, and ecological security on a permanently sustainable basis.

The pressing need is to paint a picture of what such a future could look like, spell out the means by which it could be achieved, and create a whole campaign around it - one of the Sierra Club's main goals for this fall. (Call 386-5255)

The practical aspects of ecoforestry are well-known. The big question is how such a vision can be applied to the province as a whole in a sustainable, participatory way, and enable forestry to be practised as a ecologically restorative activity for the next few thousand years.

Some of the ingredients are already shaping up in Clayoquot Sound, where the government has set up a Central Regional Board consisting of five community representatives and a co-chair appointed by the province, and five members and a co-chair appointed by the First Nations. It is their task to approve all the logging plans and to ensure that the recommendations of the Scientific Panel are implemented, among other things. Because this is a community, not a stakeholder process, the process is very sympathetic to long term goals.

Standing back and thinking in large terms, the campaign that we need might contain the following :

  • The re-alignment of Regional District boundaries on the Island so that they are defined by major watersheds. This would involve reducing the size of the existing regions and creating 3 - 6 new ones, mainly along the west coast.
  • Re-aligning forest management boundaries on the same basis, disentangling the current administrative mess.
  • Creating an appointed or elected Watershed Stewardship Council for each regional district, with First Nations involvement, and giving them responsibility for approving all forestry plans, and for ensuring that local communities are involved in the process.
  • Steadily upgrading the Forest Practices Code to meet ecoforestry standards, including the requirement for ecological and cultural inventories prior to planning.
  • Legislation to encourage the transfer of TFLs into Community Forest Licenses.
  • Legislation to encourage the development of local value-added businesses, so that we no longer have to import IKEA furniture from Sweden, of all places.
  • Legislation to reduce the current level of cut back to a long-term sustainable level.

Right now, we are in danger of losing the most of the Island to industrial logging. We urgently need a practical vision of a sustainable forest future, and a new campaign to build the political will that can make such a future possible. For everyone's sakes, it has to be done.

- Guy Dauncey


ECONEWS

Published as a monthly service, nourishing the vision of an Island blessed by the harmony of nature and community, funded by your donations.

Many thanks to Marianne Livant, Camilla Turner, Robert Cunliffe, Keith Rogers, Hermine Hicks, Amelita Kucher, Audrey Woodward, Angela Evans, Gail Richards, Alison Vida, Janet Hawksley, Marianne Raedler, Colin Graham and Nattayna Hewitt. And thanks also to Amelia Humphries for her donation, which launches the EcoNews Development Fund. (See below). It's your generosity and goodwill that keeps the ship sailing !

Donations can be made to EcoNews, 395 Conway Road, Victoria V8X 3X1. If you don't want to receive EcoNews, or are going away, please let us know - it avoids wasting the postage. To receive EcoNews call (250) 881-1304, or email guydauncey@earthfuture.com


NEWS FROM THE SUMMER

While I have been quietly working away on my new book about the future, '2015', others have been busy using the summer months to make practical progress that will benefit everyone, including future generations. With so many reminders of the coming dangers, it is sometimes hard to believe things are changing. But step by step, and committee by committee, individual people are quietly making this world a better place. The next few stories are all the result of vision, persistence and commitment by individual people, here on the Island.


SOLAR AQUATICS

In Parkesville, Kim Rink's Eco-Tek company has installed the Island's first Solar Aquatic Sewage Treatment System to treat the wastes from a trailer park. Solar Aquatics uses a series of tanks inside a greenhouse to treat the wastes by passing the sewage through plants and algae, which break down the effluent until it is effectively drinking water quality. The National Research Council is advancing funding to develop a Bioponics System which will integrate growing fish and plants within the greenhouse. Interest is growing, now that there are a dozen or so operating solar aquatic systems in the world. The Chinese government has expressed an interest in Kim's system; there are plans for a small golf course system in Nanaimo, with a greenhouse attached to the clubhouse; and the City of Burnaby has set aside $100,000 to build a solar aquatics demonstration project at the B.C. Institute of Technology. To contact Kim, call (604) 882-2999.


LIGHT RAPID TRANSIT

With the government's decision to press ahead with studies for a Regional Light Rail Transit System, following years of campaigning and constant effort by people like Bill MacDonald, Alistair Craighead, Rob Price and Derek Mallard, an advisory committee has been meeting and a route has been agreed with a budgeted cost of $298 million. That's one huge hurdle jumped. The next big issue will be - when ?


SOOKE HILLS

Persisting with the vision of a Sooke Hills Greenbelt from Goldstream Park to the Sea, the Western Canada Wilderness Committee has been touring local councils, winning support for the idea that the Water District should set the lands aside as a permanent park. At the latest Water Board meeting, the decision to trade the Kapoor lands was defeated, 4 : 4.


GARRY OAK MEADOWS

Over the summer, the Garry Oak Meadow Preservation Society has been making steady progress in restoring Garry oak meadows by clearing the broom off Mount Tolmie, protecting the Garry Oak Meadow on the FAMA lands in Central Saanich, Summit Park and elsewhere, and awakening people to the need to protect our own rare ecosystem. EcoNews has made a $50 donation, to go towards the purchase of new trees.


URBAN SALMON HABITAT

Healthy ecosystems needs healthy streams, rivers and watersheds, and the government has kicked in with funding of $680,000 for urban stream projects through the Urban Salmon Habitat Program. 27 groups on the Island are receiving funds for projects including a spawning and rearing habitat in the Cowichan River, and working to protect Ayum Creek at the south end of the Sooke Hills (see Diary). For details on the program, call Eric Bonham, 356-2353.


FISH FARMS REVIEW

A big danger to wild salmon stocks, the practice of fish-farming, is finally going through environmental assessment, which is due to wrap up next March. The fish-farmers think they've got the answer to disappearing wild salmon stocks, but many people think otherwise, and hear alarm bells ringing. If you want to follow what's happening, call the Environmental Assessment Office at 356-7491.


CLEAN WATER ACT

During the recent election, Glen Clark unveiled the Sustainable Environment Charter, including a commitment to a Clean Water Act. This is scheduled for next spring, and will include a framework for implementing local watershed planning, and community stewardship programs. Now, can we bring forestry into the watershed management picture, too ? For details about the Act, call Don Fast at Environmental Protection, 387-9993. For information on water quality here on the Island, call Charmane Bernat in Nanaimo, 751-3252.

CABINET CONTACT LIST Legislative Assembly, Victoria, V8V 1X4

Premier, Youth. Glen Clark 387-1715 Fax 387-0087. Exec Secretary Gurmeel Sall 356-6370.

Aboriginal Affairs. John Cashore 387-0886. Fax 356-1124. Ass't Bob Peart

Agriculture, Food & Fisheries. Corky Evans. 387-1023. Fax 387-1522 Admin Ass't Ann Fraser-Mol

Attorney General, Human Rights, Multiculturalism. Ujjal Dosanjh. 387-1866. Fax 387-6411. Ass't Joanne Moody

Education, Skills & Training, and Labour. Moe Sihota, 356-6348, Fax 356-6595. Ass't Michele Rempel.

Employment and Investment, & Deputy Premier. Dan Miller. 356-7020. Fax 356-5587. Ass't Bert Willing.

Environment. Paul Ramsey 387-1187. Fax 387-1356. Ass't Aja Norgaard

Finance, Corporate Relations, Intergov't Relations. Andrew Petter. 387-3751. Fax 387-5594. Ass't Linda Brown, Dave Cubberley

Forests. Dave Zirnhelt 387-6240. Fax 387-1040. ass't Cynthia Carver.

Health, Seniors. Joy MacPhail 387-5394 Fax 387-3696 Ass't Deborah Nyberg

Municipal Affairs & Housing Dan Miller 387-3602. Fax 387-1334. Ass't Wendy Tworney

Small Business, Tourism & Culture. Penny Priddy. 387-1683. Fax 387-4348. Ass't Christine Coates

Social Services. Dennis Streifel. 387-3180. Fax 387-5720. Ass't Vanessa Coombes

Transportation & Highways. Lois Boone. 387-1978. Fax 356-2290. Ass't Judy McCallum

Women's Equality. Sue Hammell. 387-1223. Fax 387-4312. Ass't Christine McLaren.

For a full version of this list, including the Deputy Ministers and all the various assistants, call 387-1337 (Cabinet Policy and Communications Secretariat).


THE ECONEWS DEVELOPMENT FUND

A generous donation of $250 has launched the Development Fund. Each month, bundles of EcoNews are sent to people who put them in local stores, making it available to people who may have never seen it before. The first use of the Fund is to increase this method of distribution. Do you know a whole food store, restaurant or other suitable place where you might drop off 20 copies every month ? If you do, or if you have ideas for the Fund, or would like to make a donation, please call me at881-1304 or email guydauncey@earthfuture.com (Cheques to EcoNews Development Fund)


GERMANY MOVES TO AN ECO-CIRCULAR ECONOMY

Germany already leads the world in recycling, with its requirement that manufacturers take back their packaging, and the system which tells consumers to put all packaging with a Green Dot in a separate container, where it is picked up by a recycling consortium paid for by business. Well, under the new Recycling and Waste Management Act, which comes into effect on October 7th, the government has taken the first steps to put the whole economy onto a closed-loop, circular basis. The Act lays down a set of principles which apply to the whole of economic life. Manufacturers are now responsible for the entire life-cycle of a product, from the moment its materials leave the ground to the time it is recycled, including energy used for transportation.

The law gives priority to waste avoidance by requiring the use of low waste product designs, closed-circle approaches to waste management, and consumer behaviour oriented to the purchase of low-waste and low pollution products. The recycling of materials is given priority over incineration to recover energy, and regulations requiring the use of renewable resources (eg energy), though less stringent, lay the basis for placing the whole economy on a circular flow basis. Having laid down the new principles, the Act requires federal and local governments to follow up with specific ordinances, targeting product responsibility, the duty of waste recovery, the duty of waste disposal, and the duty to provide 'institutional transparency' - ie no secrecy.

No-one knows when these ordinances will appear or what they will look like, so industry is forced to anticipate the new rules by taking steps to realize a circular economy in their own particular fields. In 1994, for example, the German paper industry committed itself to a 60% recovery rate for paper by the year 2000, and this year, the automotive industry agreed to take back and recycle its cars. BMW has built an entire plant in Munich to recycle cars, especially the 20 or so plastic components that are tough to recycle. Co-operation to meet the new regulations and establish closed-loop materials cycles is happening within industries (eg automotive, electronics), within sectors (eg paper, glass, metals, plastics), and in regions, which combine the different flows of individual companies into an overall materials-flow cycle. Long words, and large changes - and a road that the whole world will soon be following, as we move from eco-ignorance to eco-wisdom. (Warmer Bulletin, Aug. 1996)


ECOBITS

Western Canada Wilderness Committee's petition to ban all bear-hunting starts its 90-day process on Sept 9th. If signatures are collected from 10% of the voters in every constituency, the government will hold a referendum. People are therefore urgently needed to collect signatures - if we all pull together, we can pull this one off !To find out more, call WC2, 1-800-661-9453

The deadline for nominations to stand as a Board member for Pacific Coast Savings Credit Union is September 14th. If you want to help make a difference in our community, call Kate Colwood, 380-3138. You must have banked with Pacific Coast for a year.

The National Green Party has elected Wendy Priesnitz as its new leader. Wendy is a businesswoman, publisher of 'Natural Life' magazine, and a very live wire. Plans now are for policy development, a budget, finding candidates for 50 constituencies, and choosing 10 constituencies for focussed energy - all by January, for next year's federal election. To contact Wendy, join the National Green Party or subscribe to Natural Life, call (519) 448-4001, or write to Natural Life, RR1, St George, ON N0E 1N0.


ACTION OF THE MONTH : STOLTMANN WILDERNESS

On the Lower Mainland, the government's Regional Public Advisory Committee (RPAC) has called for the creation of 24 new parks - but sacrificed many other wilderness areas to be clearcut, including the Lower Mainland's last remaining wild area, the 260,000 hectare Stoltmann Wilderness, 100km north of Squamish. The RPAC decision divides the wilderness area into two smaller parks, totaling just 50,300 hectares, scheduling the best wildlife habitat and the best hiking routes for clearcutting. WC2 is running a desperate campaign to save the whole area. Send your letters, please, to Paul Ramsey, Minister of Environment, Legislative Assembly, Victoria V8V 1X4, Fax 387-1356.


RESPONSIBLE TRADE SHOW NAFTA AND NATURE

Thanks to trade agreements and revolutions in communications and transport, international corporations now enjoy unprecedented freedom to trade and invest around the world. Yet the costs of economic globalization have also become more obvious. Consider these facts :

  • The international timber trade is now the top cause of deforestation, worldwide.
  • Since NAFTA took effect, all of the NAFTA countries have been taking apart their basic environmental protections to increase competitiveness. Mexico has abandoned environmental impact assessments for new projects, and shrunk the number of protected areas from 400 to 25. In Alberta, citizens now can't go to court to challenge the environment minister on timber or mineral sales.
  • Chile is the next country to join NAFTA, but NAFTA's side accords provide no protection for the 90% of Chile's exports that are natural resource based. Chile is expected to lose all its natural forests within 30 years.
  • A $1 trillion industry coalition has used the new World Trade Organization to launch a sneak attack on ecolabels, whether for ecocertified timber or for organic food. The industry coalition wants to deny consumers information about their environmental practices, especially overseas, where they are out of reach of US laws.
  • US Congress adopted a little-known law this spring that actually requires US agencies to adopt environmental standards set by the industry-dominated International Standards Organization, which is the vehicle being used by the timber corporation to oppose the eco-certification process of the Forest Stewardship Council, which the environmental community supports.
  • The US-Mexico border clean-up plan has yet to find a single project, while ever-more cheap labour polluting industries crowd the border zone.

Since NAFTA took effect in 1994, citizens have been little involved in trade policy debates; but the Sierra Club has determined that it's time to act. The Responsible Trade Show (Sept 17th, see Diary) is a 3 hour activists workshop designed to arm you with the latest facts on how global free trade affects the natural world, especially the forests and wildlife, and link you to the growing trade activist network, and build a citizens movement that will win the attention of Washington and Ottawa policy makers. The Sierra Club Road Show has travelled up from San Diego to Victoria - I'll see you there !


NOTICE

EcoNews provides this electronic version of the newsletter free of charge even though it costs time and money to produce. Please feel free to repost. You can help by making a donation, whether $5 or $100, to:

EcoNews, 395 Conway Road, Victoria, B.C. V8X 3X1, Canada. Thanks !


Click here for previous issues of EcoNews.


EcoNews, Guy Dauncey
395 Conway Road, Victoria V8X 3X1
Tel/Fax (250) 881-1304

Available free by mail or email

Author of 'After the Crash : The Emergence of the Rainbow Economy'
(Greenprint, London, 1988. 3rd edition 1997)

EcoNews is printed on Tree-Free paper from Ecosource