OH, THAT SUCH A PARADISE
SHOULD BE TORN AND LOST
There is no denying it : we live on an Island of
unparalleled beauty. From the starfish-filled crevices of the Broken Islands to the peaks
of Strathcona Park, from the deep remaining old growth forests to the tranquillity of Gulf
Island evenings - living here on the Island we can glimpse how beautiful the world really
is, and how beautiful it was before we started to tear down the forests and dump concrete
and asphalt everywhere.
The word from up-Island is that the Ministry of
Transportation and Highways has trashed no fewer than 23 salmon streams between
Parkesville and Mud Bay. "I understand that a project as large as this is going to
cause some damage to our environment, but I didn't dream it would be this bad,"
writes Jim Ackinclose, of the Fanny Bay Salmon Enhancement Society (250) 335-0010 (email@example.com), who has put years of work
into local creek protection and restoration. He is appealing for help.
Meanwhile, the government is rushing to log the few
remaining areas of public land in the Nanaimo Lowlands by opening them up for timber
sales. "The short term economic gain by clearcutting the mature forests on these few
remaining fragments of Crown Lands is minuscule compared to the future price-tag for
restoration of this public land for habitat conservation and for the growing number of
people demanding recreational spaces," writes Annette Tanner of the Mid-Island WCWC
(752-6585). Environment Canada and the B.C. Ministry of Environment are working on a
Sensitive EcoSystems Inventory of east Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands which will
take another 2-3 months to finish - but the B.C. Forest Service is rushing to log what is
left before the inventory has been completed.
These are just two fragments of the daily cutting, chewing
and gnawing which is happening all over the Island, as pocket by pocket, it gets eaten
"You've got your 12%," say the timber interests,
"so we'll do what we want with the rest." Can you imagine Switzerland or Austria
taking such a cavalier approach to their natural heritage ?
People will argue that we need the jobs - but that is so
incredibly short-sighted. The whalers needed the jobs - but where would we be today if we
had let them kill every last whale ?
Yes, we need the jobs - but not the jobs which destroy
paradise. Rebecca Bernson reported recently on an article in the March issue of the
National Geographic which reported that by the year 2000, forest-based recreation is
expected to pump $100 billion into the US economy, while timber sales will contribute only
$3.5 billion. The Bavarian town of Leavenworth, WA, which has 'done a Chemainus',
increased its lodging rooms from 150 in 1981 to 1,500 in 1996, with a similar increase in
revenue from other tourist activities.
The biggest roadblock which is preventing us from saving
the Island is the system of forest tenure, which grants so much of the Island to the big
forest companies to log, pulp and export as they will, while expecting so little,
The evidence from ecoforestry shows that if Crown Lands
were broken up and issued out as woodlot licenses, most of the Island's 500,000 hectares
of 2nd growth forest could be thinned and managed in a way that brought an income to the
ecoforesters, while gradually being restored to the diversity of an oldgrowth forest.
There is a growing demand in Europe for ecocertified timber - and when a forest is managed
with ecological single-tree selection methods over a long period of time it yields more
timber of higher quality than clearcutting can ever do, while leaving the forest standing.
Furthermore, the climate change crisis demands that we leave our forests standing to serve
as a carbon sink for the megatonnes of carbon dioxide we pump into the atmosphere every
year by driving, and other activities.
If the woodlot holders were assisted with community
economic development methods, they could also run profitable recreational businesses,
opening up more of the beauty of the Island to we who live here, and to the three million
tourists who visit every year - only to leave after visiting the Butchart Gardens, never
realizing they had stood on the edge of paradise.
The recent election was a eulogy to boredom, as none of
the main parties addressed their attentions to the enormous planetary crisis that is
facing us, and the host of transformative solutions that are waiting to be adopted. It is
as if they were stuck in the 1960s, ignorant of what is happening. Only the Green Party
addresses the real issues.
But the fact remains : we live in a paradise - and there
is much we can do to keep it that way.
- Guy Dauncey
EARTHJAZZ & THE TIPI CAMP
Calling all young people ! The Tipi Camps, now in their
10th year, take place every summer in the heart of the Kootenay Valley. 'A camp where
Nature flowers in us all'....'The best camp I have ever been to. It's so peaceful and
beautiful. I have made friends forever.' From July 14th - 18th there's a 5-day WISE
Leadership program for children aged 13-16, and from July 21st - 25th there's a program
for children aged 9 - 12. 'WISE' stands for Wilderness Immersion for Self-Esteem. The
camps and other activities are run by the Guiding Hands Recreation Society, Box 20,
Crawford Bay, BC V0B 1E0. (250) 227-9555. firstname.lastname@example.org
For kids who are glued to their computers, Earthjazz@aol.com is a new on-line discussion group
College is out - what's next ? And does it matter ? At
Manchester College, near Fort Wayne, Indiana, half the students this year wore green
ribbons pinned to their gowns to signify the pledge they were taking : "I pledge to
investigate and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job
opportunity I consider." The pledge has been part of their college tradition for nine
years now, following the lead of Humboldt State University, which started the pledge in
1987. Humboldt and Manchester have long traditions of social and environmental activism.
Contact : Kristi Zimmerman, Manchester College 219-982-6837. (American News Service).
WHALING ON THE COAST
And if anyone is concerned about the planned killing of
whales off the coast of BC and the presence of whale hunting companies here on the Island,
please contact Barbara Julian (250) 592-9340.
Following the EcoNews and Monday Magazine pesticide
stories, Andrew Hunter has picked up the baton and set up a local group of the Campaign
for Pesticide Reduction. "Every year, tons of toxic chemicals are placed on our
lawns, parks and playgrounds in totally cosmetic spray programmes aimed at dandelion
eradication", he says. The goal is to advance local municipal by-laws to prohibit
cosmetic pesticide programmes, and they are also interested in the idea of street
volunteers, who will go out and talk to their neighbours about alternatives to chemical
pesticide use. Contact : Andrew Hunter, 595-5460.
FALSE CREEK ECOVILLAGE
Vancouver City Council has voted unanimously to approve
the beginning of a planning process to build a model sustainable community for 4-6,000
people on an 80 acre site in southeast False Creek. The city owns 40 acres of the land,
which is currently a heavily polluted industrial area. There has been a lot of work put in
to get this far, not least by the students at 'Virtual High', the alternative student run
high school in Vancouver. The project will probably go to competition in the next month or
so. EcoNews will try to keep you posted.
THE GARDEN PATH
Organic Heritage Plant Nursery
END OF SEASON SALE 50% OFF ALL PLANTS
Saturday June 7th - Sunday June 8th 10am - 5pm 1834
Haultain St (between Richmond & Foul Bay) Carolyn Herriot 592-4472
LAND TRUST ALLIANCE of B.C.
In 'The Charlottetown meeting of the B.C. land trust
movement', the Land Trust Alliance of B.C. was founded at a meeting at Malaspina College
last month, attended by 50 people representing 32 land conservancy groups from all over
B.C. The new LTABC will provide support services to local land trusts, and establish
standards for local trusts to protect members of the public who make donations in exchange
for an interest in land. In a precedent-setting move, the Nanaimo Area Land Trust (NALT)
and the Rosewall-Bonnell Land Trust have become co-owners of a conservation covenant on a
heavily treed piece of land in Errington. The land has been designated ecologically
sensitive by the Canadian Wildlife Service, and the owners have had the property appraised
at many thousands of dollars less than similar properties (because of the limiting
covenant). As a result, NALT's treasurer has been able to write the owners a large tax
receipt which can be carried over for up to five years. This is only possible because of
recent changes to the Income Tax Act. Details, Barbara Hourston, (250) 758-5490.
The Tofino mudflats, a critical wildlife habitat for
thousands of migratory and shorebird populations, is now a protected wildlife management
area covering 1,650 hectares of intertidal habitat, thanks to a decision by the Ministry
of Environment. The area supports over 200,000 shorebird populations, as well as important
feeding and rearing habitat for salmon, crabs and clams. The Ministry can now manage the
area as one unit, instead of a patchwork of private holdings, Crown land and wildlife
reserves. A long-term management plan will be created through a partnership with the First
Nations, local governments, industry and area residents.
FOREST RENEWAL $$$
The environmental community won support for 45 projects in
Forest Renewal BC's 1996/97 budget, totaling $6 million (2% of the total budget). These
include $100,000 to the Denman Island Forestry Committee for a feasibility study of
forestry opportunities on the Island; $48,000 to WCWC for their trail-building project on
Flores Island in Clayoquot Sound; and $70,000 to the Slocan Valley Watershed Alliance to
expand their water monitoring program. Details - Paul Senez, 370-2284.
Thanks to the Ministry of Environment's E-Team, Fairfield
Family Daycare is employing Andrea Pantages, who will be working with the Early
Eco-Education Society to promote early eco-education to the community at large, starting
with the 22 daycare centres in Fairfield. There's an eco-time demonstration and a visit by
Eco-Saurus at 628 Cornwall St, at 10am, on Tue June 17th. 386-KIDS (5437).
WHAT'S THE LIBERAL'S
ENVIRONMENTAL RECORD ?
Not good. Elizabeth May of the Sierra Club in
Ottawa says that the Liberal government has the worst record on environmental issues of
any government for the past 20 years. Kevin Jardine of Greenpeace has issued this report
card on the Liberal's environmental record. The Red Book's chapter on Sustainable
Development has 15 promises which stand out as worthwhile. The government wins a passing
grade on just 5 :
1. A comprehensive study of taxes, grant
and subsidies to identify barriers and disincentives to sound environmental practices.
Grade : Fail. A task force was set up, but achieved absolutely nothing, since any changes
in taxes or subsidies had to receive approval from the interest groups who benefit from
them. 'Mission impossible' said Jim McNeill, who resigned from the task force.
2. To appoint an Environmental Auditor
General. Grade: Incomplete. Brian Emmett was appointed in June 1996, but he has yet to
release a report.
3. The Environmental Assessment Act was to be
amended to shift decision-making powers to an independent Canadian Environmental
Assessment Agency, subject to appeal to the Cabinet. Grade : D. The new agency has no
independent decision-making powers, and last-minute interventions by Natural Resources
Minister Anne McLellen exempted the oil and gas industry. The construction of two CANDU
nuclear reactors in China was also exempted.
4. The government will use economic instruments for
environmental protection. Grade : Fail. Paul Martin has resisted all calls for ecological
taxation, and Jean Chretien has publicly rejected a carbon tax to reduce greenhouse gas
5. The government will use the review of the
Canadian Environmental Protection Act to make pollution prevention an national goal. Grade
: Fail. Inadequate legislation died on the table when the election was called. The
government cut many environmental and monitoring staff.
6. The government will help finance renewed sewage
and water treatment infrastructure, conditional on municipalities encouraging water
conservation. Grade : Fail. No condition on water conservation was required. Most went
into traditional roads and sewers.
7. Improved allocation of costs for polluted sites.
Grade : B. Amendments to the Bankruptcy Act require that environmental clean-up take
precedence before all creditors, but grant an exemption to Trustees and Receivers.
8. The government will make environmental
technologies and service a major component of Canada's strategy for economic growth. Grade
: D. Some technologies such as Ballard fuel cell received federal funding, but the
Environmental Industry Strategy took a 73% cut in budget, to $15 million.
9. The government will commit 25% of all new
government funding for research and development to technologies that substantially reduce
the harmful effects of industrial activity on the environment. Grade : Incomplete. Little
or no new funding, so no progress.
10. The government will promote co-management
agreements between Aboriginal peoples and federal, provincial and territorial governments.
Grade : Fail. Little progress, which the First Nations have severely criticized.
11. The creation of 'Action 21', an independent
fund for environmental projects. Grade : C. Action 21 was set up, but Green Plan funding
was ended, bringing a net decrease for local environmental projects.
12. The government will shorten the deadlines for
phasing out ozone-depleting HCFCs and establish an early phase-out for methyl bromide.
Grade : B. Canada's position is still that phase-out should be 2020, 5 years later that
the European proposal of 2015. Methyl bromide is to be phased out by 2001.
13. The government will work with provincial and
urban governments to improve energy efficiency and increase the use of renewable energies,
with the aim of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 20% from 1988 levels by 2005. Grade:
Fail. The government has failed to introduce more than a few insignificant voluntary
programs. C02 levels are 9.5% higher than they were in 1990.
14. The government will protect at least 12% of
Canada by the year 2000. Grade: Incomplete. The government did create a few new protected
areas, but it is still far from 12%. The Endangered Species Act was very weak and died on
the table when the election was called.
15. Environmental security through sustainable
development will be a corner stone of Canadian foreign policy. Grade : Fail. Environmental
security and human rights have been abandoned to the single goal of increasing Canadian
ATTENTION GARDENERS !
NEW LEAF GARDEN TOOLS
Recycled tools, like new. We buy, sell, exchange. 2536
Forbes Street, Victoria 592-9340
New Leaf has pledged 10% of sales from the last weekend of
every month to the Campaign to Protect Ayum Creek.
OF THE MONTH : THE CASSINI PROBE
In October 1997, NASA plans to launch the Cassini probe to
Saturn, carrying 72.3 pounds of plutonium-238 fuel. The probe will sit atop a Lockheed
Martin Titan IV rocket, the same kind that has had a series of mishaps, including a 1993
explosion which sent the fragments of a $1 billion spy satellite falling into the Pacific.
Plutonium is so toxic that less than 1 millionth of a gram
is a carcinogenic dose. One pound, if evenly distributed, could hypothetically induce lung
cancer in every person on Earth. Because Cassini does not have the propulsion to get
directly to Saturn, it will also use a 'slingshot maneuver' in which the probe circles
Venus twice and then hurtles back to Earth. It will buzz Earth in August 1999 at 42,300
miles per hour, gaining velocity to reach Saturn. During that fly-by, if Cassini came too
close it could burn up in the atmosphere and disperse plutonium across the planet.
Space News. the space industry trade newspaper, reported
that "the high risk and cost of the Cassini mission to Saturn troubled NASA
Administrator Daniel Goldin so much that he would cancel the program if it were not so
important to planetary science."
NASA itself admits in an Environmental Impact Statement
that if an 'inadvertent re-entry occurred' during the fly-by, 5 billion people 'could
receive 99% or more of the radiation exposure'. ('Risking the World' by Karl Grossman,
Professor of America Studies, SUNY)
ACTION : If you think this is just one risk too
far, write to your new MP (House of Parliament, Ottawa K1A 0A6) and get him or her to
raise hell. We need the Canadian government and every other nation in the world to protest
to the US government, and get the whole mission cancelled.
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 !
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