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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. 83 - Serving Vancouver Island's Environmental Community - May 1999


SEEKING A PEACEFUL, SUSTAINABLE FUTURE FOR KOSOVO

What are we to do ? The situation in Serbia and Kosovo is horribly distressing. The Serb massacres, rapes and other war crimes are horrendous; so is the NATO bombing, whether the bombs fall on Serb targets or (by error) on columns of Kosovar refugees.

The Albanians living in Belgrade say that they feel like the Jews in pre-war Germany. The Albanians living in Kosovo are being driven out of their homeland. How would the world respond if the Canadian army and paramilitaries tried to drive French speaking Quebecers into New York State and Maine, destroying their homes behind them ?

The history of conflict in the Balkans is ancient. According to the Christian Science Monitor, the Albanians are not Slavic people, but are descendants of the original aboriginal people of the Balkans. When the Victoria writer Beth Hill visited the region with her husband Ray ten years ago, visiting museums to research the ancient neolithic people of eastern Europe, she noticed a repeated triangular design on neolithic pottery. Later, she saw the identical same design being used on the dress of a young Macedonian shepherd woman. The past has a long memory in the Balkans, which we should be amazed at.

Our traditional ways of resolving conflicts, however, must end. It is not only people whose lives are being destroyed. A CBC report in mid-April told of a town where a chemical installation had been bombed, where the whole town had to wear gas masks or improvise something equivalent, and where a plume of toxic chemicals was making its way down the Danube to the Black Sea, killing everything along the way.

Our 20th century methods of resolving conflicts are not working, neither Milosevic's age-old ethnic death solutions, nor NATO's ultra high-tech bombing solutions. Both are so wrong. Nor can we find a way out by simply demanding that one side stop its actions. We have to find a new way, to think outside the box.

These are some personal ideas to share with others, as a starting point for discussion. Please feel free to share them as widely as you like.

  • Acknowledge the history of ethnic conflicts in the region. Acknowledge the Serb people's deep spiritual attachment to Kosovo, going back to their defeat at the Battle of Kosovo against the invading Ottomans, in 1389.
  • Acknowledge that many Serb people do not support the Milosevic regime, and would be horrified if they knew what was really happening in Kosovo.
  • Using the power of the Internet, mobilize a huge movement for a different solution, beyond Milosevic and beyond the NATO bombing.
  • Create a vision of Kosovo as a 'Doorway to the New Millennium', a place where, based on forgiveness, a rebuilding could take place based on sustainable forestry and agriculture; solar and wind energy; community participation and shared democratic representation, combined with all the mine-sweeping, reconciliation and trauma counselling that will be needed. For the price of just one Stealth bomber, so much of this would be possible.
  • Offer the same package to Serbia, to repair the damage done by NATO and lead Serbia into a sustainable future. The years of poverty following the bombing will only feed more hatred and revenge. We have to reach out to post-war Serbia and Kosovo, the way we did to Germany after World War 2.
  • Offer the same package to other countries in the region, in what could become a Balkan Alliance for Peaceful, Sustainable Future. Invite individuals to sign up prior to their governments signing on, creating a new political force for a peaceful, sustainable future in each country.
  • Persuade the world's spiritual leaders (including Orthodox Serbian & Greek Christian, Muslim and healers like James Twyman) to meet together and initiate a huge process of worldwide prayer, creating a field of sensitive energy in which miracles can happen. Start prayer and healing groups all around the world, focussed on the region.
  • Gather 10,000 people from around the world who would be willing to enter Kosovo and Belgrade in a non-violent pilgrimage of peace, sustainability and forgiveness, led by Bishop Desmond Tutu, accompanied by the world's musicians and by the world's media, providing safe conduct for the Albanian refugees back into Kosovo, and inviting all the players to embrace this vision of peaceful, sustainable future.
  • Inundate Belgrade, Serbia and the Balkans with information on the new initiative, using email, radio, TV, leaflets and personal friendships from Balkan émigrés around the world.
  • Stop the NATO bombing for a 3 month period of reconciliation, to give the Serb people a chance to learn the truth about what has been happening, to consider these new approaches, and to allow the pilgrimages to enter.
  • The risk of a 3rd World War is very great, with Russia being so unstable; this is a starting point for a different way.

    - Guy Dauncey


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


ECONEWS

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A very big thankyou to Roger Colwill, Sharon Whyte, Gail Schultz, Eleanor McKinnon, J Bray, Eric Bonham & Mary Nall, Petra Durrance, Maurice Tozer, Unlimited Possibilities, Joan Waddell, Seymour Trieger, Joanna Wilkinson, Yvonne Bondarchuk, Kathleen Kyle, Lovisa Milligan, Jo Phillips & M.Harvey.

* Donations can be made to EcoNews, 395 Conway Road, Victoria V8X 3X1.
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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.


THE ECO-PERSONALS

  • House for sale - ours ! Do you know anyone who might like to buy our lovely 2-bedroom character 1947 bungalow on a quiet street in north Oak Bay, with a sweet presence and a gorgeous organic garden with garden studio ? We are moving in July to agriculturally zoned land in West Saanich where Carolyn can continue her 'Garden Path' Nursery business. The asking price is $214,900. Call me, Guy Dauncey, 881-1304.
  • A big welcome to The Rainbow Snake Café and Juice Bar, at #101, 3 Fan Tan Alley (920-4047). Nancy Prescott has been working towards this day for 2 years. Tasty veggy & vegan food, yummy desserts, fresh juices & organic coffee with a unique ambience, community noticeboard, and a big welcome. Eat Organic, and Save the Planet !
  • And welcome to 'Locally Yours', a rural Saanich eco-business which is promoting local agriculture, local economy and sustainable communities. Their first outing is a Saanich Peninsula Ramble with a double-decker bus on May 16th. Give John Smith a call at 652-5410.
  • Congratulations to Kathryn Molloy, who was elected to the Board of Pacific Coast Savings Credit Union as one of the GOMOJO group of candidates. She came in 3rd with 2913 votes, and now starts a 3-year term. 7.5% of the members voted - a big increase from last year.
  • Congratulations too to Norway, which has banned the construction of large shopping malls outside city-centre areas for five years in a bid to reduce automobile pollution and revive ailing downtowns.

  • OVERHEAD SPRAYING

    WHAT'S UP ?

    The latest news on the planned overhead spraying is that it will not happen before the first week of May, at the earliest. The intention to spray will be announced at 4pm, and will occur 36 hours later, at first light. People who are chemically sensitive or who fear a negative reaction are being advised to leave town overnight, and to stay out for a 4-hour period after the spraying. When the government tells us that BtK is a 'natural pesticide', they omit to explain that BtK is only 2.1% of the spray. According to Tim Ebata at the Ministry of Forests, the remaining spray consists of 90% water, and 7.9% a mix of dead bacterial cells (a by-product of cereal fermentation) and other trade secret chemicals used as binders. He says that the chemicals safety description of Foray 48B as "hazardous" was an error, a description which has now been removed. As well as the health risks to people who are chemically sensitive, the spray may cause two organic growers whose land is within the spray zone to lose their certification, and cause transitional organic growers in the zone to go back to scratch. If the spray is repeated yearly, none of the land in the spray zone will be able to support certified organic food. The West Coast Environmental Law Association's Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund has given the Ecological Health Alliance a grant to research injunction proceedings to challenge the Order in Council which ordered the spray program. The case will come before the Supreme Court of Canada during May, when public support will be essential. To learn how you can help, call Katy Young at 384-8892.


THE NATURAL STEP

Bill Robson writes : Sustainability in business ? Big deal. I know all about that. Got the 'Save the Earth' T-Shirt to prove it. That's what I thought about The Natural Step, a Swedish model which provides a pathway for businesses and corporations to harmonize with Nature's ecology. I've just attended a 5-day training in Portland (in the company of David Brower, Paul Hawken & Amory Lovins), and realized that it's the most far-reaching, visionary and yet practical framework for businesses to become sustainable. Corporations are the single most powerful and pervasive institution on the planet, and the most environmentally destructive - so they need it. I came away committed to establishing a study group of people who will meet, learn and strategize how to get the word out to Victoria businesses. We'll meet at the end of May - if you're interested, call me at 361-9446.


GENETICALLY MODIFIED (GM) FOOD UPDATE

Following last month's cover story on Monsanto, I was invited to speak on 'Genetic Patents and Moral Issues' to a top-level delegation visiting Victoria from the Chinese Government's State Intellectual Property Department. They learnt about Monsanto and Terminator Seeds, while I learnt that Monsanto is already in China - (get this) - training the patent law departments and the pesticide regulators. Talk about the Mafia training the police ! In Britain, the country's most prestigious restaurants are calling for a 5-year ban on growing and selling GM food, and Sainsbury's and Marks & Spencer's, two of Britain's leading food retailers, have joined Iceland stores in not using any GM ingredients in their foods. The UK government has ruled that all corn and soya products must be labelled to indicate if they include GM ingredients, and has fired 10 of the 13 members on its biotechnology advisory committee, on the basis that their connections to the biotech industry were too close. (They approved all 160 GM applications that came before them). The new committee will consist of independent members of the public. Here in Canada, we have no means of knowing if food has been GM'd or not - but we do know that the following food products contain GM ingredients - so watch how you shop :

Pillsbury food products
Crisco
Kraft salad dressings
Nestlé's chocolate
Green Giant harvest burgers
Parkay margarine
Isomil and ProSobec infant formulas
Wesson vegetable oils, Fritos, Doritos, Tostitos and Ruffles Chips
McDonald's french fries
Source - Rachel's

If you want to complain, write to Corky Evans, Minister of Agriculture & Food (Tel 387-1023, Fax 387-1522)


EARTHFEST

One place you'll be sure not to find any GM food is EarthFEST, which opened last year near Courtenay. It was so popular that it's back, August 14th - 15th, bigger, better and even more melodious. Plan on taking the family, tent, sun-tan lotion & bathing costumes, and I guarantee you a weekend both stimulating and peacefully mellow ! The organizers are actively seeking organic food vendors and qualified workshop leaders and exhibitors. EarthFEST is a unique event providing workshops, demonstrations and exhibits about organic food, alternative and renewable energy sources, shelter, transportation, self-reliance, water issues, green businesses, eco-forestry, health, waste solutions, and responsible community development. Great outdoor site, camping, swimming, children's activities, entertainment. The first EarthFEST was excellent, this year will be even better! Come help create a vision of a sustainable society. Sponsors welcome. Volunteers in Victoria and other communities needed. Virginia Mackie, (250) 334-8694 earthfest@web.net www.web.net/earthfest


BIKE TO WORK WEEK

The weather's warm, and you know it's a healthy activity - so why not leave your car at home for once, and bike to work ? Come to that, why not go one better and get your workmates to join you in a Bike to Work Week Team Challenge ? It could be a laugh - and there are prizes to be won. As well as celebrating the bike as a non-polluting means of urban transport, the week's organizers are asking for input on where additional bike parking is needed, and setting novice cyclists up with a 'Bike Mate' to help them discover the safe routes to work. So there's the thought ! If you feel inspired, call the Hotline at 413-8000.


ECO-TIMBER !

As of a year ago, in the USA, 3.5 million acres of forest had been eco-certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) as managed in a way that is environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable - half in the previous 6 months. In England, certified timber products now represent 14% of the forest products marketplace, and one of Britain's leading retailers has pledged to buy all of its forest products from certified sources by the year 2000. Things are shifting ! Here in B.C., a 1998 survey by IMPACS found that 74% of BC residents would choose a slightly more expensive forest or paper product, if it was labelled as having been harvested in an environmentally responsible way. This is the pressure, combined with on-the-ground protests, that is causing companies like MacBlo to phase out all clearcutting over the next four years. In March, the FSC hired Marty Horswell as B.C.'s coordinator, to steer the process of eco-certification in the province (250-329-2991). The FSC's standards for B.C. are expected to be released very soon, for public review. Eco-certification enables us to say, as consumers, that we do not want to be part of the destruction of the world's rare, old-growth rainforests, here or anywhere.


MARYLAND SMART GROWTH

Maryland Governor Parris N. Glendening has unveiled a Smart Growth plan to curb the ecological, economic, and social harm done by 50 years of city-to-suburbs migration. The Smart Growth plan will : (1) Shift development back to existing communities by directing state spending for roads, schools, and sewers to cities, towns, and more densely developed suburbs already served by public utilities. (2) Preserve the state's rural legacy by spending $163 million over the next five years to buy up to 90,000 acres of farmland and environmentally sensitive areas. (3) Encourage recycling of abandoned or underused brownfield industrial sites by streamlining pollution clean-up requirements. Some farmers oppose the governor's plan and changes in state funding because they fear the measures might hurt their land value. And in rapidly growing Carroll County, Commissioner Donald Dell praises the governor's overall plan, but is concerned that it will cost his county $6 million in state aid for a needed school renovation. (The Baltimore Sun, January 12, 1997). What would 'smart growth' look like on Vancouver Island ? Urban containment boundaries for every settlement; mandatory ecological assessments before every major project; transportation based on pedestrian, cycle, bus and then cars, in that order, and active planning for local economies.


THE GARDEN PATH
Organic Heritage Plant Nursery

at the Greenhouse, 1834 Haultain St
(between Richmond & Foul Bay)

Open daily until Sunday June 6th, 10am - 5pm
(Closed Mondays)
Heritage flowers, vegetables & tomatoes, culinary & medicinal herbs, fragrant English roses - sweet peas - flowering shrubs

Carolyn Herriot, 592-4472


A VICTORY FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS

In a decision that may change the way the world views environmental issues, the Supreme Court of the Philippines has ruled that the three children of Antonio Oposa, along with 41 other children, have standing to sue on behalf of their generation and subsequent generations. Oposa is an attorney with the Philippines Ecological Network and is representing the children in trying to cancel all existing timber license agreements between timber interests and the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The July 30th 1998 decision held that minors have standing to represent their own and future generations under the doctrine of intergenerational equity. The Court stated that: "This case...has a special and novel element. Petitioners' minors assert that they represent their generation as well as generations yet unborn. We find no difficulty in ruling that they can, for themselves, for others of their generation and for the succeeding generations, file a class suit. Their personality to sue on behalf of the succeeding generations can only be based on the concept of intergenerational responsibility insofar as the right to a balanced and healthful ecology is concerned. Such a right, as hereinafter expounded, considers the `rhythm and harmony of nature'. Nature means the created world in its entirety. Such rhythm and harmony include, inter alia, the judicious disposition, utilization, management, renewal and conservation of the country's forest, mineral, land, waters, fisheries, wildlife, off-shore areas and other natural resources to the end that their exploration, development and utilization be equitably accessible to the present as well as future generations. According to E-LAW U.S. Board President Michael Axline, at the University of Oregon School of Law, the opinion will have far-reaching consequences. "This opinion for the first time recognizes the interconnectedness of the present and the future in legal terms," Axline said. "Courts in the United States should study the opinion closely, not only because it is well reasoned, but also because it demonstrates a wisdom to which all judges should aspire." Courts in Canada should study it too, for there is no doubt that today's generation is stealing the ecological wealth of future generations, whether that wealth lies in the forests, the oceans, the wetlands, the prairies, or the genetic integrity of the world's species, ourselves included.

Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide
www.open.igc.apc.org/elaw


Check out the Victoria Green Pages !

www.greenpages.victoria.bc.ca


Deadline for June: May 24th


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

 


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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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