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Guy Dauncey, Editor
395 Conway Road, Victoria, BC
Tel (250) 881-1304

Executive director of The Solutions Project



Newsletter No. 81 - Serving Vancouver Island's Environmental Community - March 1999


Does it ever seem that it's all too much ? So many causes to adopt, so much work to be done - and every day some new story about something needing attention ? Maybe it's easier to forget it all, and just live a selfish life after all.

If that ever feels like you, here is a fable for our time, to lighten the wet days, and strengthen your spirit.

* * * *

There was once a mountain, and if you stood on top of it at dawn, you could see the most beautiful sun rising over an incredible land, full of grace, rich with peace and meaning. All human hopes were fulfilled there - and all animal hopes, too.

On the plains that stretched out before the sunrise, however, there was a huge black barrier, which acted like a thick hedge. When you looked at it more closely, you could see that it represented all the Earth's woes, from warfare to cruelty to environmental loss. It was clear that the barrier blocked every possible road to the sunrise, and this dampened the people's hope that one day the people might be able to reach that beautiful place, and share it in peace together.

Everyone who lived on the mountain loved the sunrise. People often used to set out to walk towards it, but they soon fell under the shadow cast by the barrier, and began to be influenced by its ways, until they were behaving like those in the barrier, becoming absorbed in their own needs and pleasures, forgetting all about the sunrise.

Some remained on top of the mountain forever, creating great theories about how to overcome the barrier. "If only everyone would give up sin," they said, "we could reach paradise today", or "If only we could overthrow capitalism, these problems would disappear". They wrote about their philosophies and attracted followers who sat beside them on the mountain - but the barrier remained in place.

Over time, however, small groups of people becamse impatient with these approaches, and decided to walk towards the barrier, holding onto the memory of the sunrise and the beautiful land beyond that much more firmly in their minds.

As they walked, the barrier became ever larger, until it soon blocked out all sight of the sunrise. Now they could see that the barrier was made up of a mass of smaller barriers, some with names such as 'hunger' and 'civil war, others named 'chemical farming', 'clearcut forestry', 'child labour', 'genetically manipulated food, 'global investment treaties', 'personal consumerism', 'cruelty to animals' and so on. There were thousands of them ! The people kept walking, however, for there was nowhere else to go.

Now because each person has only two feet, and because it is physically impossible to be in more than one place at a time, each person had to start to choosing a particular part of the barrier to approach, so someone ended up standing next to a section of the barrier called 'saving the wild salmon', while others ended up by sections called 'kids who know nothing about nature', 'poverty in Victoria' or 'building a green economy'.

No-one was ever alone at their chosen section of the barrier - there were always a few others, so that they could work together. And so each group worked away at its particular part of the barrier, remembering the sunrise and learning all they could, working to overcome the barrier in that particular place.

After a while, people often became so immersed in the details of the section they were working on that they became overwhelmed by its difficulties, and began to feel depressed at the scale and complexity of it all. Whenever this happened, someone from a nearby section would come over and give them a hug, which made it possible to continue some more.

At first, the barriers seemed inpenetrable, but then the groups gradually began to understand their respective parts of the barrier, and they realized that if you bent this bit this way and tied that bit back, if you cut this bit out, fixed those bits together and untangled those other bits, it was possible to remove the entire barrier bit by bit, and work a way through to the sun.

Around this time, however, pepole would remember that they were only working on one tiny piece of the barrier, six feet wide. There was so much more to be done ! How ever would it be possible to transform the whole barrier ? There was just so much work to be done.

And then they would stand back, and see to the left of them, fifty thousand people, reaching as far as the eye could see, and fifty thousand to the right, each little group working away to transform its own small section of the barrier.

And they knew that by working together in this way, it would soon be possible to transform the entire barrier, and open up the road to paradise.

-  Guy Dauncey

(Adapted from 'After the Crash : The Emergence of the Rainbow Economy', Greenprint, 3rd Edition 1996)

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


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A very big thankyou to Roger Colwill, Andy Telfer, Marya Nyland, Peter Schofield, Susanna Solecki, Alison Vida, Don Shaw, John Smith, Monica Petersen, Olive Boorman, S.T. Koerner, Marian Bratt, Miriam Thorne, Andree Scott, Unlimited Possibilities, Susan Ross, Ann Tasko & Sonya Kofler.

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EcoNews Delivery : In recent months we have been using the Garth Homer Centre's bulk mailing services. With Canada Post's new rate structure, publications are rated higher than admail, so we are reverting to the regular mail. Apologies for recent late deliveries, which were due to the bulk mailing system.


* Can you count trees ? For the last four years, the Garry Oak Meadow Preservation Society has been carrying out an inventory of Garry Oaks in the Greater Victoria Area. They have completed Victoria and Saanich, and this year are doing Oak Bay and Esquimalt - they are looking for volunteers ! The work consists of walking and recording addresses plus the number of Garry Oaks on each property. Maps are supplied, and the work can be done at whatever speed suits you, since there is no deadline. Most volunteers carry out their survey after the leaves have erupted, to make identification easier. If you are interested, call Paul Gareau at 592-9089 or email

* Can you help EcoNews for a few hours each month ? A volunteer is needed to prep the envelopes. Call Guy, 881-1304.


With all this cold rain pouring its dampness over our spirits, we need to remember than in just 7 weeks, the camas will be bursting into blossom, the earth will be full of life and colour, and it'll be EARTHWEEK 1999. It's coming ! This year's theme is "Who says you can't change the world ?", and there will be events and activities all over the Island to re-inspire us to live, work, dance and sing for a new world, where salmon swim peaceably among the trees, and 'all shall be well'. If you are organizing an event, be sure to tell Doug Koch, Earthweek organizer, by Friday March 26th (383-5765), so that he can get it into the big Earth Week Calendar of events, to be published in Monday Magazine.


If you live near Nanaimo (opposite Newcastle Island), just north of Duncan, in Brentwood Bay, or in a large area stretching from Vic West out to Goldstream Park and down to Sooke, sometime between early April and June you can expect to be sprayed from an aeroplane with a mixture of Btk (a natural biological pesticide) and other ingredients including an unknown chemical listed by Occupational Safety and Health as 'hazardous', whose contents are not allowed to be revealed since they are a trade secret. Here's ten reasons why this might NOT be such a good idea :

1. Who says there is a problem ? The increase in the number of trapped gypsy moths last year (from 279 in 1997 to 576) is just as likely to be a function of the increased number of traps that were put out by the Community Gypsy Moth Project volunteers. In 1997 there were 1915 traps; in 1998 there were 6900 traps.

2. They're going to come anyway. John Bell, from the Canadian Food Inspectorate Agency which is so keen to do the spraying, has indicated repeatedly that yearly spraying will eventually be required since the moth will be continually re-introduced from infested areas in North America.

3. The spray attacks all butterflies and moths, not just the gypsy moth. This is equivalent to wiping out the whole bird population in order to kill off the starlings. If they start spraying every year, we may lose all our butterflies.

4. The so-called 'inert' chemical ingredient of the spray is listed as hazardous on its materials data sheet - but we're not allowed to know what it is before they spray it all over us. The specs for this chemical say "Skin protection : Impervious. Eye Protection : Wear Goggles. Other Protection : Wear tyvek coveralls if contact may occur."

5. Organic growers in the affected areas have not been consulted - but this unknown chemical is hardly 'organic' - and the CFIA is going to spray it all over their crops without asking them. Can they still call themselves 'organic' if this happens ? Or will they become so angry when they understand what is about to happen that they rise up and sue the CFIA for loss of livelihood ? Will they be compensated ?

6. The spraying puts people's health at risk. The BC Lung Association has been insistent in its opposition to spraying, because of the likely adverse health impacts - and their medical advisory committee includes the Vancouver Medical Health Officer, Dr Blatherwick.

7. The BC Government's own Environmental Appeal Board has ruled against it. After reviewing thousands of pages of evidence, the Appeal Board concluded that "there is a risk to the health of children, people of all ages who have allergies, asthma, people with immuno-deficiencies, chemical hypersensititivies, and the elderly.'

8. There are alternative control methods available - as a result of last year's Appeal Board ruling, volunteers from the Community Gypsy Moth Project put in 1500 hours of on-foot inspections, seeking and destroying egg masses and placing traps. The community trapping could easily continue - especially if people were paid, and if the CFIA cooperated.

9. This is going to cost us $2.5 million - that's the allocated budget for the 1999 spraying. That could pay for years of ground-control work. The more you start to dig into this, the more it begins to smell. The CFIA were told by the Appeal Board to co-operate with community volunteers to carry out the ground control methods, but they refused to help with even a penny, saying they could not afford it - but they have no trouble in finding $2.5 million for aerial spraying. In their ruling, the Appeal Board Panel found that "the CFIA has shown a degree of arrogance and high handedness in ignoring the previous recommendation of the Board to approach community groups ....... that have volunteered their assistance as an alternative to wide scale spraying."

10. The company that makes the spray does not seem trustworthy. What else don't we know ? Foray 48B is manufactured by Abbott Laboratories, from Chicago. In 1992, they were made to pay $2.12 million to the province of Ontario and a Quebec environmental society after an inquiry into conspiracy and bid-rigging against another company in the biological pesticide industry.

There seems to be a distinct smell to this whole affair - "something rotten in the state of Btk", to borrow from Hamlet. My hunch would be that some people stood to lose so much face or so much income (or both) by the Appeal Board Ruling that they had to whip up a panic to get the forest industry alarmed enough to get the ruling overruled. It is an engineered crisis. If you want to add your voice to try to stop the spraying, call or fax Corky Evans, Minister of Agriculture, Dave Zirnhelt, Minister of Forests or Penny Priddy, Minister of Health. (numbers opposite)


Legislative Assembly, Victoria V8V 1X4


Print this out and keep it !

Premier, Youth. Glen Clark 387-1715 Fax 387-0087 Exec Secret Gurmeet Sall

Aboriginal Affairs & BC Ferries Gordon Wilson 387-0886. Fax 387-4088. MA Dave Biro

Advanced Education, Training & Technology, Intergovernmental Relations, Andrew Petter, 356-2771. Fax 356-3000. MA Jim Rutkowski

Agriculture & Food. Corky Evans. 387-1023. Fax 387-1522. MA Pratik Modha

Attorney General, Human Rights, Multiculturalism. Ujjal Dosanjh. 387-1866. Fax 387-6411. MA Joanne Moody

Children & Families, Lois Boone, 387-9699; Fax 387-9722. MAs Heather McLeod & David Gibbs.

Education. Paul Ramsay, 387-1977, Fax 387-3200. MA Dwaine Martin

Employment & Investment. Michael Farnworth. 356-7020; Fax 356-5587. MAs Rob Kelly & Kathie Currie

Energy & Mines, Northern Development. Dan Miller, Deputy Premier, 387-5896; Fax 356-2965. MA Jessie Uppal.

Environment. Cathy McGregor, 387-1187 Fax 387-1356 MA Christine Skrepetz

Finance, Corporate Relations. Joy McPhail. 387-3751. Fax 387-5594. MA David Perry.

Fisheries. Dennis Streifel, 356-2735; Fax 356-2961. MA Kenn McLaren

Forests. Dave Zirnhelt 387-6240. Fax 387-1040. MA Thelma Oliver.

Health, Seniors. Penny Priddy, 387-5394 Fax 387-3696 MA Donna Cameron

Human Resources. Jan Pullinger, 387-3180. Fax 387-5720. MA Norm Wickstrom

Labour & ICBC. Dale Lovick, 356-6348. Fax 356-6595. MA Glen MacInnes.

Municipal Affairs, Housing Jenny Kwan, 387-3602. Fax 387-1334. MA Marnie Jensen

Small Business, Tourism & Culture. Ian Waddell, 387-1683. Fax 387-4348. MA Maria Ciamiello

Transportation & Highways. Harry Lali, 387-1978. Fax 356-2290. MA Bruce Fogg

Women's Equality. Sue Hammell. 387-1223. Fax 387-4312. MA Michelle Kemper.

For a full version of this list, including the Deputy Ministers and all the various assistants, call 387-1337 (Cabinet Policy and Communications Secretariat). Now you know who to call when you need to !



In addition to bicycles, solar energy and garry oak meadows, one of the key pieces in the sustainable future "puzzle" is community banking - banks that truly represent the wishes of their members, and use their resources in a community-minded way. Pacific Coast Savings is a credit union, 100% owned by its members, and if you are a member, this month you have a chance to vote for three outstanding local people who are standing as a slate for election to the board. They are Martin Golder (GO), an Oak Bay architect; Kathryn Molloy (MO), coordinator of the Victoria Car Share Co-operative, and Bernie Jones (JO), coordinator of the Downtown Crunch Office, which addresses the concerns of the street community. As Bernie says "It's time to open the doors of the stuffy boardroom, to let in some greater democracy." As a slate, they support a much more open approach to democracy, greater member involvement, a more open election process, and a more active role for Pacific Coast Savings with non-profits in the arts, the environment and health, as well as continued financial strength and performance. They are a great trio, and I'll be voting for them. Will you ? The voting period is March 8th - 25th - YOU'LL FIND THE BALLOT PAPERS IN THE BRANCH OFFICES. The normal turnout for Pacific Coast Savings elections is tiny - around 2% - 4%. This year, let's change that !


"Oh, I don't use any pesticides", you'll often hear a farmer or gardener say. But they still use chemical fertilizers to make their plants grow. Why do organic farmers reject all chemicals ? Here's one reason, neatly explained by an organic farmer in Suffolk, England : At the micro-cellular level, nitrate fertilizers trigger an expansion of the plant cell. As the cells increase, the cell walls become thinner. leaving a plant susceptible to fungal infection, for which the crop requires treatment with a fungicidal spray - the start of a vicious circle. Organic compost and leaf mould, on the other hand, provide the nutrients, minerals and trace elements that plants have evolved with over millions of years, which boost the plant's own natural defenses. If you want to learn more about composting, call the Victoria Compost Education Centre, 386-WORM. And if you want to start growing your own food this year using organic methods, Carolyn Herriot is running an all-day workshop on 'Grow Your Own Food All Year Round' on March 13th (see Diary). Call her for details at 592-4472.

One of Your Voices

Oh Earth Mama,

you are always here.

You never leave me.

I am the one who abandons you

when I forget who I am.


My cells, tissues, muscles, skin

all come from you.

Your gifts of air, water and food

keep me alive and

one day I will return to your dark humus.


Who am I if not your child, your lover

and one of your many voices ?

- Robbie Andersen

This is from Robbie's recently self-published book of poems and reflections 'from the lovely Highland woods', entitled 'The Earth is a Mirror'. It's a journey of healing, discovery and connecting; a good book for winter; a good book for spring. "Now I feel my roots winding through moss, rocks, tall grasses and ferns bonding with the soil."

If you would like to buy a copy ($8), give Robbie a call at 391-0067.



Where would we be without the beautiful parks and wilderness spaces that surround us, here in the Capital Region ? Where would we go to breathe, to escape ? Just think of East Sooke, Thetis Lake, Matheson Lake, Francis King Park, Witty's Lagoon, Island View Beach and so many other beautiful spots, all saved from the bulldozer by someone's foresight. As often as not, they were also saved by the fact that the CRD had a Parks Endowment Fund, with the cash in it to make the sudden purchases each time a piece of potential park came up for grabs.

Today, the bank is empty, and the CRD is unable to respond with park purchase money when it needs to. For as little as $6 a year per household on our local taxes, we could endow a new Parks Fund of $1 million per year. It makes such huge sense - but our local politicians need to know that we support it. They seem to think that people don't want to spend the money. We need to show them that we do.

ACTION : Write a letter to 'The Mayor and Council' for your municipality, tell them how you feel about this proposal, and urge them to support it. You might get your friends to sign it, too. The addresses are in the Blue Pages section of the phone book. For more details, call the Wilderness Committee, 388-9292.

Deadline for April: Mar 27th

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



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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