Newsletter No. 78 - Serving
Vancouver Island's Environmental Community - Dec. 1998
SUSTAINABLE, "POST-OOPS" ISLAND ECONOMY
With the collapse of the west coast salmon
coupled with the crisis in the woods, many smaller communities on Vancouver Island are
really hurting, from Ucluelet and Gold River to Port Hardy.
Both collapses follow decades of overfishing,
fish habitat destruction and unsustainable harvesting; both stem from our ignorance of
forest and ocean ecology.
When the Asian and Siberian native people
arrived in North America, after crossing the Bering Strait land-bridge 11,000 years ago,
they discovered an abundance of mammoths which had never known a human spear. When the
European people arrived on the same continent 500 years ago, they discovered an abundance
of forests, buffalo, birds and fish which had never known an axe, a gun, or (later) a
high-tech trawler. In both instances, the result was extinction, or near extinction.
It is one of our most abiding human
characteristics that we learn painfully, by trial and error. Is this our "original
sin" - the often painful truth that there is no escaping from the consequences of our
freely made choices ? Is it possible that one of the reasons why the native elders have
such a strong ethic of respect for nature is that they carry a deep ancestral memory of
the tragic results of overfishing and overharvesting ? The problem wasn't that Adam and
Eve picked the apple - it was more likely that they clearcut the entire Garden of Eden,
and had to move on. Perhaps God is our original ecological conscience. In the big
picture, this is what we are facing today : the "Oops" Factor, as in "Oops
- that didn't work." The modern age has been full of wonders - but it has been
equally full of "Oopses". Overfishing and clearcut forestry are just two. There
are many more to come.
Fossil fuels ? Oops. The overuse of
antibiotics ? Oops. Ocean-based fish-farming ? Oops. Chemically-based agriculture ? Oops.
The important question, especially for the
forestry and fisheries communities which are suffering from 'post-oops' trauma, is
"How do we recover ?". What does the "post-oops" world look like ? How
do we marry sustainability with new jobs ?
The people of Cortes Island are considering
one solution. After years of conflict with MacMillan Bloedel over clearcutting, the Island
Forest Committee is looking at the possibility of purchasing MacBlo's 1800 hectares of
forest holdings and managing them themselves, in an ecologically certified manner. The
proposal would bring secure, long-terms jobs, with a steady flow of sustainably harvested
forest products for sale to the ethical timber markets, both in Europe and to local
entrepreneurs. It would also provide an opportunity for younger people and people on lower
incomes to build their own houses, in affordable co-operative clusters.
And why not ? Maybe the best use for the
Forest Renewal Funds would be to leverage community-based buy-outs of private forest
companies and crown lands forest licenses, all over the Island.
A similar idea is already up and running in
Denmark, where 100,000 farmers in small rural co-operatives have become partners and
investors in wind farms - and where Denmark (population 5 million) has gone on to become
one of the world's leading exporters of wind power technology. It all started with one
family who saw a future in wind power, who decided not to do it the normal capitalist way.
With such an urgent need to unhook ourselves from fossil fuels (another of the "Oops
family"), on an Island blessed with west coast storms, could the people of Gold River
and Ucluelet become partners in major renewable energy operations, as the Danish farmers
have done ?
The same could apply with tidal energy (see
Blue Energy story, inside). Could communities from Campbell River to Alert Bay, where
there are fast tidal rushes, become partners in tidal turbine projects ? Tidal and wind
energy from around the Island could supply electricity, and be used to manufacture
hydrogen, to drive our vehicles. Yes, there is life in a "post-oops" economy.
One of the keys lies with tapping into local
community capital to finance new investments. All around the world, from Mondragon (Spain)
where 28,000 people work in highly successful worker financed co-operatives, to
Saskatchewan's Community Bonds, this has been a key to success (along with training).
Ecotourism operations, expanded organic farming, eco-industrial parks - these can all be
part of a community-financed economy.
We have to tap into our own resources and our
own self-reliance to dig our way out of the "Oops" era. Depending on the
largesse of government is only the mirror image of depending on the largesse of nature.
The "Post-Oops" era must have balanced financial budgets and balanced ecological
and watershed budgets. Then we can work our way back into the Garden of Eden - this
miraculous natural heritage into which we have all been born.
- 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 Marlyn Horsdal, Blaise
Salmon, Unlimited Possibilities, Dawn Loewen, Andree Scott, Ruth Masters, Hugo Sutmoller
(in memory of Sonya), echo/ecological housing, David Stott, Margaret Hutchinson, Philippa
White, Gordon Hart, Victoria Natural History Society, John Pallett, Bis Whitby, Brenda
Sawada, Phyllis Cowan, Sue McManus, Pamela Aloni, Deryck Thomson, Marilyn Thaden
Dexter, Strathcona Park Lodge, Claude Maurice, Jenny Fraser, Doug Crow, Robert
Moore-Stewart, GM Parker, Mary Lloyd, Paul Bellanger & Stefani Paine. A big thankyou
to you all !
* Donations can be made to EcoNews, 395 Conway Road, Victoria V8X 3X1.
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Happy Solstice, Christmas, everyone!
Michael Chandler died recently, of cancer,
in Nanaimo, with his friends and family around him. Michael gave his heart and soul to
peace and justice over many years, and was deeply committed to the peaceful conversion of
the Nanoose Bay military test range. Your poured your hopes and dreams into this small
sweet Earth you lived on, Michael - and we remember you.
The Green Party has opened an office in
Parkesville (220 West Island Highway, McMillan Street) where Stuart Parker is contesting
the December 14th by-election. If you are able to help out, contact Julian West at (250)
ECOACTION 2000. Brewing a project about
clean air or water, climate change or protecting Nature ? The next deadline for
EnvironmentCanada's funding program is Feb 1st. For details, call 1-800-667-7779, and
start a conversation. They're also at www.ec.gc.ca/ecoaction
The Sierra Club seeks a Development
Director, responsible for planning/executing a fundraising strategy; located in Victoria.
Minimum 3 years, professional experience desirable. Call Deirdre (250) 386-5255.
Deadline for applications Dec 6th.
Parking for 37' 'RAINFOREST' Schoolbus &
37' 'SUSTAINABLE LIVING' School Bus on monthly basis, as soon as possible, Victoria. Call
Dierdre at the Sierra Club, 386-5255
BEARS, GREAT BEARS and
While we've been busy with whatever keeps us
busy, the dedicated team of staff and volunteers at the Victoria chapter of the Western
Canada Wilderness Committee have been having an action-filled year, spending their
membership dollars on campaigns to end grizzly bear hunting in BC, to protect the Great
Bear Rainforest on the mainland coast, and to protect the Sea-to-Sea Greenbelt.
In August, they formed an alliance with 11
other organizations to work towards the completion of the Sea-to-Sea Greenbelt, stretching
from Sooke Basin to the Saanich Inlet and southern Salt Spring Island, which took a big
step forward when The Land Conservancy of BC (TLC) arranged to buy a small connector
property near Ayum Creek, allowing restoration work to begin on the banks of the creek.
At the same time, they have been working to
prevent the development of a big new quarry proposal in Metchosin on land immediately
adjacent to the new Sooke Hills Park, which would bring 56 years worth of blasting,
dust, trucking and noise to the peace of the wilderness. They have also been trying to
scale down the proposed Silver Spray housing and resort development, immediately to the
west of East Sooke Park, on land that was originally intended to be part of the park
because of its sensitive ecosystems designation and its incredible marine and migratory
You can help in these efforts by writing to
Andrew Petter and Municipal Affairs Minister Jenny Kwan (Legislative Buildings, Victoria
V8V 1X4), expressing your concern about these threats to the Greenbelt. And you can drop
by the WCWC office at #507, 620 View Street, to say hello (388-9292). If you tell them
you're an EcoNews reader, you'll get 10% off their posters, cards, calendars, books, mugs
and hats ! Can't be bad.
Ever wondered how ordinary citizens can win
back some of the overweening power the big corporations have helped themselves to ? On
Tuesday, Nov 3rd (as part of the US mid-term elections), the small city of Arcata,
CA made history. By a vote of 3193 to 2056, they approved 'The Arcata Advisory Measure on
Democracy and Corporations'. The measure calls on Arcata City Council to co-sponsor two
town hall meetings on the topic: "Can we have democracy when large corporations wield
so much power and wealth under law?", and to establish an official committee,
policies and programs to ensure that there is democratic control over corporations
conducting business in the city. They won support from many people, including the mayor,
and have inspired a group of activists in Seattle to plan a similar ballot initiative.
With a steering committee of six dedicated people, they placed yard signs across the
community, hung leaflets on thousands of doorknobs, brought in speakers, tabled,
leafleted, bannered and fundraised. Now the real work begins: launching a city-wide
democratic conversation on the proper role of corporations in our society and our
community - the first American city ever to attempt such a process. For details, send $2US
to POB 27, Arcata CA 95518. www.monitor.net/democracyunlimited
"The achievements and plans in Arcata
provide an inspiring model of what popular democracy can achieve in constructing a world
designed for human beings, not profit and power." (Noam Chomsky)
One of the worst fears of campaigners against
genetically modified crops has almost come true. In Britain, an experimental crop of
oilseed rape that was genetically altered to make it resistant to herbicides has had to be
destroyed after it pollinated nearby plants. If left unchecked, a new breed of superweeds
which normal chemicals could not destroy might have had devastating effects on Britain's
agriculture. The UK Government is now considering prosecuting Monsanto for allegedly
contaminating the environment. If convicted, Monsanto's chief executive, Bob Shapiro,
could even be jailed. The companies involved were ordered by the Agriculture Ministry to
dig up and destroy a field of oilseed rape on a 1,000 square metre Government licensed
site. All seeds harvested over the next two years within a 50-metre radius of the site, at
Rothwell in Lincolnshire, will also be ditched. The Department of the Environment
will decide soon whether to prosecute under the 1992 Genetically Modified Organisms
Regulations. A spokesman said the case was "too sensitive" to discuss. The
problem arose because Monsanto failed to prevent the genetically modified winter oilseed
rape from cross-pollinating with another field of their normal oilseed rape. A pollen
barrier, or buffer zone, of only two metres instead of the required six metres surrounded
the test site. (A-Infos)
SIERRA CLUB COMMUNITY
The Effects of Invasive Species on
Natural Ecosystems in CRD
Wednesday December 9th, 7:30 - 10pm
Fairfield Community Place 1335 Thurlow
Together, Building Community !
The Canadian Hemp Farmers Association has
contracted over 8000 acres in Western Canada, and they'll soon have the first seed
processing plant in Western Canada, located in Chilliwack, thanks to support from the
Mayor of Chilliwack and the Chilliwack Economic Partners Corp. The Canadian Hemp
Corporation has been approached by three local companies wanting to use hemp in their
products, including Uncle Paul's Whole foods, which has developed a Hemp Seed corn chip.
The phones are ringing off the hook from farmers who want an alternative crop.
Contact : Canadian Hemp Corp. 250-656-7233 firstname.lastname@example.org
ATTENTION INVESTORS !
HEMP will be a billion dollar industry.
Isolate yourself from the volatile markets.
Invest in a company with a strong
management team and the world's leading hemp experts.
Invest in a product that has over 25,000
uses. We have worldwide demand for hemp products.
Canadian Hemp Farmers Assoc Assoc. (250)
656-4490 Fax (250) 656-8860
Min investment $25,000
VICTORIA GREEN PAGES
Seen the Victoria Green Pages yet ? Once
complete, they will be a total Internet listing of every green and community group in the
CRD. So far, around 50 groups have submitted their entries, out of a possible 250. There
is a form within the pages that enables groups to enter their own listings, or you can
call the webmaster, Dave Shishkoff, of Random Web Design (598-0734), to ask for a form.
Also in the Green Pages is a complete Media List, designed to help you maximize your
publicity. Don't miss! www.greenpages.victoria.bc.ca/categories/media_list.asp
HUMAN RIGHTS DAY
50 years ago, on December 10th 1948, the
newly formed United Nations forged the very first Universal Declaration of Human Rights in
the history of humankind. To celebrate the anniversary, Amnesty International is
collecting signatures for a pledge to support the declaration. So far, they have 3 million
signatures. The simplest way to add your name is to email email@example.com. Put your name in the
SUBJECT and this text in the message: "I support the rights and freedoms in the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights for all people, everywhere." Here in Victoria,
there will be a major celebration on Dec 10th at St Ann's Academy (see Diary), where there
will also be an opportunity to sign. These are a few of the 30 clauses :
Article 1 : All human beings are born free
and equal in dignity and rights.
Article 4 : No-one shall be held in slavery or servitude.
Article 5 : No-one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment.
Article 9 : No-one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
Article 19 : Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression.
Article 29 : Everyone has duties to the community.
CALLING ALL COUNCILLORS
It's relatively short, it's sweet, and it's a
summary of all the ways you can use bylaws and Official Community Plans to protect creeks,
streams, trees, wetlands and the local environment. It's called Stewardship Bylaws - A
Guide for Local Government, and it's available for free as part of the Stewardship Series
by phoning BC Environment at 387-9853. (1-800 387-9853 outside Victoria) Every councillor,
planner and regional director should have one - a simple idea for Christmas ? You could
even order them each a copy, as your gift to your elected representatives.
SEEDS OF VICTORIA
Organically Grown, Locally Harvested
Choose from 7 Flower & Vegetable Seed Collections $8.75
Send $2 for 1999 Seed Catalogue to The Garden Path, 395 Conway Road Victoria
IT'S GETTING WARMER....
So far, every month this year has been the
warmest on record. The world's average temperature for October was 14.54 degrees Celsius,
topping the record 14.527 set in 1997, according to NASA. We have to get used to the
challenging thought that every time we fuel up the car or turn up the oil or gas fired
heating, we are inadvertently heating the entire planet, with the most enormous
BLUE ENERGY REVOLUTION
So how can we unhook ourselves from our
fixation with fossil fuels ? One of the answers, in addition to wind and solar, is tidal
energy, and one of the breakthrough tidal technologies is in Vancouver, at Blue Energy
Canada. Barry Davis is an engineer who did design work for the Avro Arrow Supersonic
Jetfighter. His Davis Turbine is like an underwater windmill that sits in a location where
there is a fast tidal current, generating clean, renewable energy. The Institute for New
Energy ranked the Davis Turbine #1 for commercial readiness out of 114 energy systems
being developed worldwide, and the Philippine National Power Corporation is in the process
of signing a $136 million deal for a demonstration turbine to generate 30 - 50 MW. If that
performs well, it will develop into a 600 MW project, part of the Philippines plan to
'pole-vault into the 21st century', right over the dirtier 20th century technologies. The
project may also double as an inter-island bridge, and be used to generate hydrogen. The
turbines sit on the ocean floor in a kind of ocean fence, turning slowly at up to 25 rpm,
which appears not to disturb the marine ecosystem. A 25 kW prototype which operated for
two seasons in the St Lawrence Seaway had a zero fish kill - at that slow a speed, the
fish swim straight through it. After many years as the Cinderella of renewable energies,
tidal energy is about to make its breakthrough, with an abundance of potential energy
waiting to be tapped around the world.
Blue Energy also offers sophisticated
investors an opportunity to get in on the ground floor, as Ballard did with its hydrogen
fuel cell technology. ($25,000, RRSP eligible). David Burger (604) 682-2538
LOOKING FOR A GREEN
CHRISTMAS PRESENT ?
Fed up with all that STUFF in the malls ?
Want to give something that has a lasting value, and a deep, abiding meaning ? Why not
give a gift of LAND and support THE LAND CONSERVANCY OF B.C. in protecting endangered
spaces ? A donation of $25 gifted in your friend's or your loved one's name will help
towards the purchase of property in the Sooke Hills, keeping it green and beautiful FOR
EVER. A gift of $50 will purchase twice as much. (And you'll get a tax receipt). Your
friend will get a map, photo and certificate of the land.
Call 361-7693, or email Bill Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org
LET'S MAKE THE VISION HAPPEN ! www.conservancy.bc.ca
Deadline for January: Dec 28th
The Green Diary has moved! Click HERE to see
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
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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