Newsletter No. 74 - Serving
Vancouver Island's Environmental Community - July/Aug 1998
ONE EARTH, ONE
ATMOSPHERE, ONE HELLUVA MESS
Ah - the holidays ! Sun, sea, and se...sleep.
Maybe you're preparing to fly to the other side of the country - or the world ? We all do
it (if we can afford to) - presidents, parents, even environmental poo-bahs.
But what if there was a worm in the apple -
and a wormhole full of chaos, left behind after your plane has passed to play havoc with
the atmosphere ? Is our flying unwittingly contributing to the unraveling of Earth's
climatic and ecological stability ?
That's exactly what a growing number of
scientists are beginning to realize - and that they may have made a tremendous error by
not including air travel in the Kyoto agreement on Climate Change.
Here's what the data looks like. Firstly,
aviation fuel is not taxed, because no-one can agree how to tax it. Convenient, eh ?
Especially when so many bureaucrats fly so much.
A typical transatlantic jet burns 2.5 to 3
tons of fuel per hour, about 3% of the fossil fuels burnt annually worldwide. In its first
5 minutes of flight, a commercial airliner can burn as much oxygen as 49,000 acres of
forest can produce in a day.
But that's not all of the story. Aircraft
also produce nitrous oxides (N0x), which turn into ozone in the upper troposphere 9 to 13
km above the ground, where most aircraft cruise. At 30km, ozone blocks UV radiation, but
lower down in the troposphere it acts as a powerful greenhouse gas, where according to the
prestigious International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it has as much effect on global
warming as the C02.
However, one of the IPCC authors reports that
this ozone is accumulating twice as fast as expected. NASA's research flights found much
greater concentrations of the hydroxyl radical in the upper troposphere than they
expected, which oxidizes N0x to form ozone in a series of reactions driven by
light. (New Scientist, April 11th 98).
What does it mean ? It means that the
atmospheric models used by the IPCC have been under-estimating the impact from aircraft on
climate change, and that aircraft may be responsible for 10% or more of the warming caused
by greenhouse gases, not 3%, as thought previously. It's not as if we are slowing down,
either - air traffic is increasing at 5% per year, which means a tenfold increase over the
next 50 years, or sixfold, if we assume a
tripling of energy efficiency.
Woah....what does that mean ? Like - do we
have to stop flying ? What if, like so many of us, you have parents and children on the
other side of the world, or a career that depends on travel ? Are you going to say no to
invitation to perform in Vienna ? Difficult decisions. We think we are so clever, that
we're the scientific generation, but in reality, we're the ignorant generation, the ones
who opened Pandora's Box of Science without understanding the consequences. Ozone holes,
global warming, multiple chemical sensitivity - they're all illustrations of the same
fundamental problem - ecological ignorance.
So let's think positively, since the planes
aren't going to stop flying, however much we stay at home. There are four possible
solutions - and we need them all.
The first is to tax flying, which would
encourage aircraft manufacturers to increase efficiency, discourage flying, and build an
international fund that could be put towards climate change solutions. A per-passenger
carbon tax averaging $8.70 US would produce $10 billion by 2004. What if the average tax
were $50, or $100 ?
The second is to return to relaxing train
trips and slow ocean voyages, treating them as a time to unwind, or to work on long
projects. And to invest in high-speed railway network all across North America. In Europe,
for flights that take 4 hours or so, it's faster to travel by train these days, anyway.
The third is for travel agents and aircraft
companies to link up with reforestation initiatives, so that passengers are encouraged to
fund enough tree-planting to absorb the C02 released by flying. A US ecotourism company
called Tread Lightly does this by linking up with 'Trees for the Future' (Box 1786, Silver
Spring MD 20918), which plants seven trees for every airline ticket purchased.
Airlines could even use their frequent flyer
schemes to allow people to convert points into trees - 1,000 points plants 50 trees. Half
the money could go into reforestation, half into campaigns to stop deforestation.
We could take the lead here in Victoria, if
we wanted to, enrolling travel agents in just such a voluntary scheme, using the funds
perhaps to support the GAIA Project's sister project in El Salvador, where reforestation
is such a pressing need in the wake of the civil war, or to support the Sierra Club or the
Western Canada Wilderness Committee. It just needs someone to take the initiative, and set
up the program.
And fourthly ? Just don't do it. Stay home
and fly with the spirit. Enjoy the summer !
- Guy Dauncey
Published as a monthly service, nourishing
the vision of an Island blessed by the harmony of nature and community, funded by your
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Many thanks to Cherry Davies, Hilary
Cross, Ray Travers, Lois Marcoux, Sonya Kofler, Henrik de Wilde, Peter Carrilho, Sierra
Club BC Chapter, John Lammers, Ray Hill, Terence Vanginkel, Joel Harvey, Don Poole,
Horsdal, Mark Whitear & Rosalie Beach, Heather McAndrew & David Springbett, Wendy
Stimson, Mary Benesh, John Boquist, Louise Irwin, Unlimited Possibilities, Marianne
Raedler & Norm Reynolds.
* Donations can be made to EcoNews, 395 Conway Road, Victoria V8X 3X1.
* To receive EcoNews call (250) 881-1304.
* For email - email@example.com
* If you don't want to receive EcoNews please let us know, to save the postage !
THE ECO-PERSONALS !
Calling all Clayoquot Arrestees - where are
you ? On August 8th/9th there's a big re-union near Tofino, with 6 bands and much
dancing under the moonlight to celebrate successes. If you were arrested, please call
Valerie (250-725-4218). Where are you all ?????
Air & Water Purifiers The Environmental
Health Alliance requests donations of water purification systems and ozone or charcoal air
filters in good condition for the environmentally ill. Call 658-2027 (leave message)
For Sale - Sturdy wooden drafting table,
30" x 42", parallel rule, cutting mat, metal base. Housed in chemically clean
environment. $200 obo. 920-0036
Canada Millennium Partnership Program -
funding for non-profit groups on projects that support a sustainable environment, and
other themes. Next deadline Oct 31st. For details, call 1-888-774-9999 or go to www.millennium.gc.ca
The Car Share Co-operative is coming to
Fairfield, Cook St Village. Call 995-0265 if you want to join. (55 members, 3 vehicles -
it's cool !)
Are you protecting your children from the
sun ? Enjoy the sun and skip the UV, with sun protective clothing for all ages. Suit
Yourself Sunwear, 1105 Pandora (Cook) 381-2822.
For Rent : Enjoy sharing our 1/2 acre
garden in Central Saanich. Bright, new one-bedroom basement suite. Available in August.
$550 inclusive. 652-8986
For Rent : Non cigarette smoking
roommate(s) wanted to share idyllic lakeside home on Florence Lake, Langford. Working or
financially secure (m/f), enjoys life. Greenhouse, chickens, organic garden, old growth
forest, swimming, 10' from downtown. Share with owner, office for environmental group.
Rent negotiable. Bruce, 391 - 9223
Victoria Green Pages - volunteers wanted to
help gather information for the EcoNews Internet Green Pages listing of every eco-group
and eco-business in Greater Victoria. Call Guy, 881-1304.
PS Whatever you do this summer, remember
the 4th Law of Sustainability : "If it's not fun, it's not sustainable !"
OUTLAW THE TWO-STROKE !
As the summer hots up, the motorboats and
jetskis will soon be roaring across our lakes with their two-stroke engines, alas for the
water and its aquatic inhabitants. Two-strokes are amazingly inefficient. Powered by a mix
of oil and gasoline, they discharge a quarter of their fuel unburnt into the water,
contaminating it with carcinogenic benzene and toluene. In the USA, they release unburnt
oil equivalent to 15 Exxon Valdez oil spills a year. California's Lake Tahoe is banning
two-strokes from June 1999. Switzerland has banned them from Lake Constance and prohibits
their sale. Four-stroke engines are much quieter and 40 times more efficient than the
old two-strokes. They cost 15% more, but get 4 times the gas mileage. It's time we banned
them from BC waters too - is this something for the CRD Round Table on the Environment,
flush from their progress at making the
Inner Harbour a sewage-free zone ?
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
"The big corporations, our clients, are
scared shitless of the environmental movement.... The corporations are wrong about that. I
think the companies will have to give in only at insignificant levels. Because the
companies are too strong, they are the establishment. The environmentalists are going to
have to be like the mob in the square in
Romania before they prevail."
Vice Chairman, Hill & Knowlton
JOHN CAMPBELL FREEMAN 882-4404
CLARE STREET DREAMS
The residents of Clare St, Fairfield, want to
live on the City's first Garden Street - quiet, safe and beautiful. Out of 22 houses, the
residents of 16 have said yes to a scheme that goes beyond simple traffic calming,
redesigning the street so that there will be space for communal meetings, gardens and
wildlife, where children, cyclists and pedestrians will feel safe while cars weave
carefully through. (The six other six have not responded yet). The next step is to take
the designs to the Fairfield Community Association and then to the City, for approval, and
then to gather donations of time and money to offset the cost of construction and
planting. More info from Angela Evans, 1026 Clare St, Victoria V8S 4B6.
FRESH PIKS ORGANICS
Somewhere this week in Greater Victoria, 650
households are eating fresh organically certified produce delivered to their door by Fresh
Piks Organics, one of the region's remarkable growth stories. Started by Brent Hammond in
March 1997, with just 24 customers, Fresh Piks has grown rapidly to meet the region's
insatiable demand for organic fruit and vegetables, and now employs 8 people. 30
households receive their food by bicycle delivery, a service which Brent hopes to expand,
and many order direct by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
In summer, most of the food is BC grown in the Fraser Valley, but in winter, most comes up
from California. Only one grower here on the Island is able to provide produce - lettuce
from Mary Alice Johnson's organic farm in Sooke. It "frustrates the hell out of"
Brent to see the acres of empty hobby farms, where people own one or two acres which they
leave empty, instead of growing food and earning a decent income from them. If you want to
join, call Fresh Piks at 383-7969. (We apologize that the number in last month's Organic
Guide was wrong.)
GROCERIES BY BIKE !
Fresh Piks isn't the only company starting to
deliver by bicycle. Starting in July, Thrifty Foods in James Bay will be delivering its
home-groceries service by bicycle trailer, instead of by truck, thanks to Steve Balyi,
founder of the newly emerging Victoria Centre for Appropriate Transportation, who has also
persuaded Thrifty's to experiment with bicycle delivery trailers, enabling customers to
tow their shopping home, instead of driving. The BC Environment Network contributed $5,000
to launch the new program. Another first for Victoria ? For details, call Steve at (250)
TOP GREEN MAGAZINES
How do you keep in touch with key
developments in the environmental field ? There is so much powerful, important news and
information out there, very little of which filters through to the Times Colonist or
Monday Magazine. These are some of the magazines I find the most exciting and informative
World Watch Magazine, $3.50, bimonthly. Munro's, Good Nature Market $20 US a year from
Worldwatch Institute, PO Box 879, Oxon Hill, MD 20797-5003
Earth Island Journal, $4, quarterly, from Munro's, Good Nature Market. Atlantic
Monthly - most news agents
YES! Magazine, $7.00, bimonthly from Good Nature Market, or direct ($34 CAN pa) from PO
Box 10818, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110-0818.
Watershed Sentinel (the only Canadian magazine on my list) Bimonthly, $20 pa from Box 39,
Whaletown, Cortes Island, BC V0P 1Z0
The current issue of YES ! Magazine has an in-depth coverage on chemicals toxics, cancer
and how we can avoid them. The Watershed Sentinel is very much a west coast magazine - the
latest issue has stories on the Slocan
Forest struggle, and the link between the west coast coho collapse and the likelihood of
major oil explorations starting in our waters. (Sample copy coming to EcoNews readers
soon) The Earth Island Journal has articles on
climate change, the oil companies' attempt to derail the Kyoto negotiations, living with
multiple chemical sensitivity, and the links between the fluoridation of our water supply
and skeletal bone defects. (Michigan State repealed mandatory fluoridation after this data
was made public). The May/June issue of World Watch has an in-depth story on Indonesia's
Discontents, and on the Greening of University Campuses. Plus the latest on why frogs are
disappearing around the world, and collapsing global fish stocks.
Precedent Setting Environmental Event
First Victoria Straw Bale Building Permit
STRAW BALE BUILDING WORKSHOP
JULY 10th - 12th
Master straw builder Habib Gonzales will lead
a hands-on workshop at the Victoria Compost Education Centre - a chance to learn about
this innovative and simple way of building.
Info/Registration : (250) 995--0225
Building supplies funded by the CRD
GAIA Project - CIDA - Sierra Club
LOCAL LEADERSHIP FOR
That's the title of this year's 4-day
Community Development Institute, being held in Vancouver from July 26th - 29th at the
Britannia Community Services Centre. The Institute is not just another gathering - it is
an amazing feast of workshops and courses. This year there are 59 courses on offer, from
credit union investment in the community to sustainable watershed communities, media
skills and popular theatre as a community development tool. Treat yourself, and join
people like Jane Jacobs, Margaret Fulton, Bill Rees and Herb Barbolet in this
20th is the last date for registration, so call for details right away. CDI, 106 - 2182
West 12th Ave, Vancouver V6K 2N4. (604) 718-7755, Fax 736-8697 email@example.com
LET'S GET CIVILIZED - NO
MORE GRIZZLY HUNTING !
OK - so I'm not a hunter, and I've been a
vegetarian for 30 years. I still think that it's unbelievably primitive, barbaric, cruel
and stupid to hunt Grizzly Bears. Just because they're large, beautiful and non-human, do
we have to shoot it ? Back in 1996, Anthony Marr undertook a 12,000 km road tour around BC
with the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, gathering 90,000 signatures to trigger a
referendum to ban bear-hunting. It wasn't enough, but now Anthony is on the road again in
an attempt to get grizzly bear hunting banned, in spite of threats to his life. The
grizzly population has declined by nearly half since European settlers arrived. With
continuing habitat loss, hunting and poaching, the decline is continuing. Of 8 species of
bear in the world today, 5 have been pushed to the brink of extinction. The 6th is the
brown bear, of which the grizzly is a subspecies. Anthony is in Duncan on July 29th and in
Victoria on Friday July 31st (see Diary), followed by a Rally at the Legislature. If you
can help by phoning to tell supporters about the slide presentation and the rally, call
Jessica at 388-9292.
The Car and the Tree
by June Black
I think that I shall never see
A car as lovely as a tree.
But trees are cut down every day
To give the cars more right-of-way.
Since autos multiply so fast,
I don't see how the trees can last.
Destroying trees that clean our air,
While cars pollute - that's just not fair,
Especially to those of us
Who wait on corners for the bus.
Cars idle there while lights are red,
Spew poisonous fumes, but nothing's said
About the stuff going in our noses,
When we'd prefer to sniff the roses.
More deadly fumes then emanate
When green lights say, "Accelerate!"
Those in cars escape our plight,
With all their windows closed up tight.
We bussers have more tales of woe:
Gridlocking cars make buses slow.
So, while we stand and cool our feet,
We come to hate the car elite,
Resent the subsidies we pay
To help these killers on their way.
These millstones - put the lot to rest!
In better transit let's invest,
Reclaim the pavement, grow more trees,
Increase the oxygen we breathe,
Build more paths for skates and bikes.
Grow more food - take more hikes.
Walk car-less streets, hear far less noise,
Safer play for girls and boys.
No ads for cars are in the press,
Forests happy, logging less.
Car commercials off TV !
A miracle - don't you agree?
"A pipe dream," comes the rash reply:
"Too many jobs on cars rely."
But do these jobs provide a living
While life on earth they're quickly killing?
Trees give shelter, life and breath
While cars bring smog and stress & death.
We're in a fix - Catch 22;
The challenge is : what shall we do ?
In war there's no procrastination,
We simply mobilize the nation.
Instant jobs for everyone
until the victory is won.
Let's do the same to fight pollution,
Put all to work to find solution.
Resources ? Money ? We have it all,
Let's start right now - no time to stall !
Cherish trees instead of cars;
Earth must not end up like Mars !
June Black was hit and killed by a car on Jan 4th 1997 at Granville & 47th, in
Vancouver. After her only son was killed by a car 20 years earlier, she had avoided cars
and worked to support public transit. She is survived by her husband, Jim Black.
Deadline for September: Aug 26th
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Click here for
previous issues of EcoNews.
EcoNews, Guy Dauncey
395 Conway Road, Victoria V8X 3X1
Tel/Fax (250) 881-1304
Sustainable Communities Consultancy
Author of 'After the Crash : The
Emergence of the Rainbow Economy'
(Greenprint, London, 1988. 3rd edition 1997)
Forthcoming 'Journey into the
Future : 2000 - 2015'
An ecofictional novel
EcoNews is printed on Tree-Free paper from Ecosource
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