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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. 78 - Serving Vancouver Island's Environmental Community - Dec. 1998


BUILDING A 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


Please note:  the Green Diary has moved, click here to view.


ECONEWS

Published as a monthly service, nourishing the vision of an Island blessed by the harmony of nature and community, funded by your donations.AG00119_.gif (2913 bytes)

Oct Nov Dec
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Donations: $1040 $1070 ? ? ?
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Balance: $658 $994 -$7

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!


THE ECO-PERSONALS

  • 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) 245-5406.

  • 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.


WANTED:

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 WILDERNESS

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 birds importance.

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.


ARCATA TRIUMPHS

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)


MONSANTO BLUNDERS

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 NIGHT

The Effects of Invasive Species on Natural Ecosystems in CRD
Wednesday December 9th, 7:30 - 10pm
Fairfield Community Place 1335 Thurlow
Together, Building Community !


HEMP PROGRESS

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  trade@pacificcoast.net


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

www.greenpages.victoria.bc.ca

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 udhr50th@amnesty.org.au. 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
V8X 3X1


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 consequences.


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
daburger@bluenergy.com
www.bluenergy.com


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 bturner@vvv.co
LET'S  MAKE THE VISION HAPPEN ! www.conservancy.bc.ca


Deadline for January: Dec 28th


The Green Diary has moved!  Click HERE to see whats happening!

 


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 !

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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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