Newsletter No. 81 - Serving
Vancouver Island's Environmental Community - March 1999
FOR OUR TIME
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
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
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
- Guy Dauncey
(Adapted from 'After the Crash : The
Emergence of the Rainbow Economy', Greenprint, 3rd Edition 1996)
Published as a monthly service, nourishing
the vision of an Island blessed by the harmony of nature and community, funded by your
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 &
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* 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 email@example.com
* Can you help EcoNews for a few hours each month ? A volunteer is
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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.
TEN GOOD REASONS NOT TO SPRAY vs THE GYPSY MOTH
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
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)
CABINET CONTACT LIST
Legislative Assembly, Victoria V8V 1X4
Print this out and keep it !
Premier, Youth. Glen Clark 387-1715 Fax 387-0087 Exec Secret Gurmeet
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
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
Finance, Corporate Relations. Joy McPhail. 387-3751. Fax 387-5594. MA
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
Labour & ICBC. Dale Lovick, 356-6348. Fax 356-6595. MA Glen
Municipal Affairs, Housing Jenny Kwan, 387-3602. Fax 387-1334. MA
Small Business, Tourism & Culture. Ian Waddell, 387-1683. Fax
387-4348. MA Maria Ciamiello
Transportation & Highways. Harry Lali, 387-1978. Fax 356-2290. MA
Women's Equality. Sue Hammell. 387-1223. Fax 387-4312. MA Michelle
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 !
WHY ORGANIC FARMING ?
"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.
ACTION OF THE MONTH :
CREATING A FUND FOR PARKS AND WILDERNESS
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
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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
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