No. 86 - Serving Vancouver Island's Environmental Community - Sept. 1999
IS THE TIME TO RIDE WITH THE TIDES OF CHANGE
"There is a tide in the
affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all
the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries."
- Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
Environmentalism and pessimism
- the two words are often seen as synonymous. Isn't it true, after all, that
the ozone layer is collapsing, the ancient forests are being destroyed, and
the whole planet is heating up ?
Yes, all these things are true.
But the decision whether to embrace pessimism as an attitude of mind carries
enormous implications. Just ask any sports man or woman. As soon as you think
"defeat" (which is what pessimism means), the drive goes out of
your spirit, taking with it all the creativity, vision, imagination, determination
and joy which are the mark of optimism and victory.
And make no mistake - it is a
decision. Even if you have adopted an attitude of pessimism without knowing
when you did so, it is your decision whether to keep it, or trade it in for
So what's on offer ? First, there's
courageous optimism - people like Paul Watson and Nelson Mandela have this.
They just never give up, however bad things seem to be. Terry Fox had courageous
Then there is informed optimism,
where the mind demands solid evidence before it is willing to put on new clothing.
Finally, there is deep optimism,
where the mind adopts a deep belief that whatever the woes and sufferings
of the world, this universe is still a beautiful place, and underneath it
all, something truly wonderful is unfolding. It just takes time, and a good
sense of history.
These things do take time. It
took 350 years, but the radicals, republicans and democrats did eliminate
the kings and dictators, with their cruel tyrannies. The abolitionists did
abolish slavery, and the suffragette movement did win votes and freedom for
women, even though it took them 84 years.
So how long will it be before
the environmental movement ends humanity's assault on the Earth ? Is there
any evidence for informed optimism ? For some of the core environmental issues,
there is still no means of knowing. The world's population is still growing
(though at a slower rate), and most of our future impacts are yet to be seen.
On six of the key issues, however, there are interesting signs of progress.
(1) Renewable Energy. The
world's wind energy capacity increased by 35% in 1998. Denmark now gets 8%
of its energy from wind, and Germany gets 1%. Solarvoltaic energy is booming
too, averaging a 16% increase in sales throughout the 1990s, and 21% in 1998.
These may seem like small figures, but when capacity increases at an average
of 25% a year, it only takes 20 years to move from 1% to 100%. With MP David
Anderson's new leadership at Environment Canada, now is the time to encourage
him, and push for a national policy to support 100,000 solar roofs in Canada,
similar to Germany.
(2) In Europe, the amount of land
under organic farming has seen a stunning 30-fold increase since 1986,
and is growing at 25% a year. The advance of GM (genetically modified) foods
has been stopped in its tracks, following a massive consumer revolt this spring.
(3) Globally, the amount of the
world's forests being managed under eco-certification approved by the
Forest Stewardship Council has reached 1%. Home Depot, which sells 10% of
the world's wood has just committed to stop selling non-certified timber by
2003, following an aggressive campaign by Greenpeace and others. If ecocertification
can hit 25% a year, the entire world's forests could be eco-certified by 2020.
(4) David Anderson is unwilling
to revisit the weak Environmental Protection Act which his predecessor
approved after heavy lobbying by industry, but he is promising a tough new
Endangered Species Act which will apply to all land in Canada, not just federal
land. We need to send him support, to counter the wails of industry.
(5) There is an interest in an
ecological tax shift, both federally and here in B.C., where the new
Minister of the Environment, Joan Sawicki, has been pushing this and other
environmental initiatives for some time. With the NDP moving into new leadership,
now is the time to argue for progressive actions.
(6) Finally, the World Trade
Organization and its agenda of corporate globalization is about to hit
the biggest roadblock of its life when it meets in Seattle at the end of November
(see inside). There is nothing inevitable about the power of the global corporations
- any more than there was about the power of feudalism and aristocracy in
Europe, two hundred years ago.
The millennium is turning, and
all around the world, people are working to overthrow the old order. There
is a tide.... and now is the time to ride the wave. Jump on board !
- Guy Dauncey
note: the Green Diary has moved, click here to view.
Published as a monthly
service, nourishing the vision of an Island blessed by the harmony of nature
and community, funded by your donations.
A HUGE thankyou
to everyone who helped fill the bank in our summer appeal. I wish I could
have thanked you each personally: Larry Hannant, Kay Look, Elie Roelofsen,
Mike Isbrucher, Lauren Dake, Kathleen Gibson, Dave Mahovlic, MaryJune Pettyfer,
Kathleen Stewart, Arleta Keppler, Kay Wood, Colin Graham, Sheila Redhead,
Rose Stecher, Phyllis Cowan, Nora Layard, Centre for Studies in Religion &
Society, Sharon Hazelwood, Tom Read, Burnside Gorge Community Asociation,
District of Central Saanich, Marilyn Dexter, Bill Rees & Margaret Davidson,
Lois Marcoux, Bill Neimann, Vancouver Island Earthworks Society, Elizabeth
White, Anna Galon, Harold Knight, Judith Carder, Nina Corley-Smith, Linda
Faulkner, VIPERG, Katherine Milliken, Joe Farrell, Susan DeGryp, Linda Chan,
Trevor Murdoch, Lynne Shields, Keith & Mignon Lundmark, Alan Philip, Louis
Ray, Mel Moilliet, Peter Gardner, Cheryl Taves, Martha Orr, Seymour Treiger,
Muriel Park, Roger Colwill, Nikki Basuk, John Azar, Barb Hourston, Daphne
Taylor, Shards Glass Studio, Susan Scott, Irene McCrindle, Jean Wallace &
Steve New, Deb LeFrank, Laurence Smith, Margaret Fear, Patricia Kahr, Lynn
Husted, Jim Bohlen, Bernice Packford, Elizabeth Garrett, Jim Keeler, Hugo
Sutmoller, Unlimited Possibilities, Stefanie Paine, Karen Skowron, Heather
McAndrew, Gail Schultz, Wayne Madden, Jim Pine, Ruth Loomis, Gerhardt Lepp,
David Greer, Denise Cammiade, Margaret Yandell, David Suzuki Foundation, Richard
Atwood, Nattanya Hewitt, Jan Willson, Tony Embledon, Tom Kenyon, Margaret
Jervis, Francis McDowell, Alan & Joan Greatbatch, Janice Turner, Joan
Hurwood, Mary Pierce, Diane Mothersill, Dale Hitchcox, Margaret Schubart,
Hanni Ioannides, Gillian Smith, Andrew Glen, Bill Ashwell, Monica Oldham,
Susan & Robert Gage, Deryck Thompson, Jan Valley, Al Craighead, Claire
Lynch, Ida Roberton, Jan Zwicky, JB Sprague, Monica Petersen, Craig Harrold,
Jim & Vilma Dubé, Kildara Farms, David Rothkop, Ken Wardroper,
Susanne Theurer, Anke van Leeuwen and Gillian Reece.
* Donations can be made to EcoNews,
395 Conway Rd, Victoria V8X 3X1.For a receipt, please include a stamped addressed
* To receive EcoNews call (250)
881-1304. To receive EcoNews by email, fill out the form at the top of the
* The Northwest
Earth Institute is starting a new round of Study Circles in Voluntary Simplicity,
Deep Ecology and Bioregionalism in September and October. Almost 50 groups
have started in the south island. If you are interested in joining a group,
call Jackie Robson, 361-9446.
* Anyone doing native plant restoration in Sidney ? Call Rose Stecher, 655-6606
* Gentle, quiet, simple lifestyle artist seeks land partner for 13 acre home
on Denman Island. Large garden, full sun. Flexible arrangement half market
value ($180,000) to share house or build home. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
or write to 6500 Reginald Road, Denman.
* Help still wanted with the Garry oak inventory - counting the oaks in your
area. Call Paul Gareau, 592-9089.
* The Land Conservancy of Canada is holding a big Garage Sale on Sept 18th
to raise funds for threatened habitat. They'd like donations of books, records,
kitchenware, gardening items, etc, plus baked goodies and volunteers. Call
Katie Stewart, 386-4792.
* Two organic farmers looking for 5 - 10 acres of good arable land on Saanich
Peninsula, with available water, lease for five years minimum. Shannon 361-3414
* Co-operative farming opportunity : I am looking for partners who would like
to invest in, live on and farm a beautiful 16 acre piece of land in the Cowichan
Valley. Contact Josh, (250) 715-7696
* Thinking ahead to Earthday 2000, April 21st - 30th, and all the possibilities.
Volunteers wanted with various skills, call Doug Koch, 383-5865
* Eco-Paper : Reach for Unbleached! and Paper Choice are preparing their 6th
Bulk-Buy of chlorine free, recycled paper at 20% below retail. Works well
in photocopiers, laser and inkjet printers. $56 per case of 8.5 x 11, plus
other sizes. Min 5000 sheets. (250) 935-6992 or 598-5526 email@example.com
Deadline October 1st.
WELCOME TO VICTORIA
There are some new faces at the
Western Canada Wilderness Committee's offices at 620 View St (Suite 507).
A big welcome to Ken Wu (Ancient Forests Campaigner) and Kristen Lindell (Sea-to-Sea
Campaigner). Selena 'Trail' Blais is office manager, and Diona Davies is canvas
manager. To volunteer or become a canvasser, call 388-9292.
The BC Chapter of the Sierra Club
has moved to larger offices on the 2nd floor at 576 Johnson St, where they
are busy campaigning on fisheries, forestry, and saving The Great Bear Rainforest.
If you want to help, call 386-5255.
Talking of change, the LifeCycles
Project, of urban farming fame, have also moved to new offices. They're now
in James Bay at 527 Michigan Street, brewing up a host of organic endeavours,
and starting a community garden right across the street. Drop in for a visit
! They love meeting new volunteers - call Matt, Sandor or Linda, 383-5800.
The Internet revolution
rolls on ! If you want to know about late-breaking environmental actions and
events, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
with 'SUBSCRIBE VICTORIA-ACTION <first name> <last name>' in the
body. You can also use the list to post messages about events that you are
organizing. This is not a discussion list, so you will not be inundated with
messages debating the cosmic significance of deep ecology.
GREEN HOME VISITS
It's all go in Victoria
! Here's another new arrival, starting as a pilot project in Fairfield in
mid-September. For $40, trained assessors will conduct a Green Home Visit,
providing you with customized advice based on accepted air quality, building
science and health principles. The assessment takes 2 hours and includes a
written report covering ventilation, air quality, heating, household toxins
reduction, composting and transportation alternatives. Tied in with the visits
is the new Green Home Handbook, written for Victoria and packed with tips
and $500 in coupons for local environmentally friendly businesses. ($10 in
local bookshops or free with a Green Home Visit.) The Green Home Visits are
organized by City Green Victoria, supported by CEDCO (the Community Economic
Development Corporation of Greater Victoria), at 1133 Fort Street, 381-9995
can also now recycle plastics, beginning Sept 18th, then every 3rd Saturday.
Take all hard plastics from yogurt containers to shampoo bottles & buckets
to St Mathias Church; Olive Street Common; Red Cross Building; Sir James Douglas
School or Chapman Park. Call Neil, 382-7627.
SEE YOU IN SEATTLE
Put the dates November
29th - Dec 3rd in your diary - for they will surely be marked as a watershed
in the struggle to halt the corporate dominance of the global economy. Those
are the dates when the World Trade Organization (WTO) is opening a new round
of negotiations with its 135 member countries to further reduce tariffs and
restrictions on trade in various sectors of the world economy.
I like to think of
globalization as the process of becoming one planet, as we learn to love and
care for the Earth as a whole, and overcome the racial and ethnic differences
that have caused such suffering and grief. Maybe that's "Deep Globalization",
embracing the deeper spiritual unity that unites us all, humans and nature,
on this incredible planet, sharing our deeper unity while celebrating our
differences and standing up for human rights and environmental protection.
The agenda of the
WTO, backed by the world's most powerful corporations, is completely different.
Their version of globalization is closer to global piracy, where concerns
about environmental, worker or consumer protection are seen as impediments
to the ultimate goal, which is the freedom of the world's corporations to
treat the world as a backyard where they can poison, clearcut, dump and abuse
Sure - let's have
global trade. But fair trade between nations must surely be governed by a
set of international agreements that honours the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, the various global treaties, and the Earth Charter. The WTO
wants a revisited Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) which would enable
a corporation to take a nation to court for environmental or human rights
legislation which restricted its trade or investment. What we really need
is a Multilateral Agreement on Trade, the Environment and Human Rights, not
another version of the MAI.
On November 30th
there will be a massive gathering in Seattle to oppose all this. Here in Victoria,
actions are being organized by the Council of Canadians, starting with a Teach-in
on October 2nd. (Details - Carol Brown, 381-1182)
The WTO meeting
is being sponsored by 40 companies including Microsoft, General Motors, Proctor
& Gamble, Hewlett Packard, Boeing and Ford, which will have different
levels of access to the proceedings, according to the amount of money they
give. They are buying the right to influence the proceedings.
Some 700 organizations
from 73 countries are launching a campaign to fight the extension of the WTO's
powers. You'll find details at www.tradewatch.org,
www.seattlewto.org and at www.peopleforfairtrade.org
Weekly, UK Independent)
WINTER FOOD GARDENS
Over 40 varieties!! Salad greens,
rootcrops, oriental vegetables, grains. Garden cleanup & soil enhancement
Gatherer's Garden 598-0797
Do you live in the Comox Valley
? In conjunction with Taylor Munro Energy Systems of Delta, the Earth Festival
Society is offering solar water heaters to 100 qualified Comox Valley residents
over the next 2 years, in one of Canada's largest residential solar water
heater projects. Funding from Natural Resources Canada will give homeowners
a $400 discount on the cost of $1,700 solar water heater, which can be purchased
on a Homeworks financing plan for $40 per month. The average payback ranges
from 7.6 years for propane-users to 14 years for natural gas users. The Sunwell
SW200 solar water heater is a made-in-BC product which combines collector
and storage in one roof-top unit, and can provide as much as 50% of a household's
annual hot water needs. It consists of a roof-mounted stainless steel tank
and parabolic concentrating reflector contained in an insulated, double-glazed
housing. The system runs on regular water pressure and is disconnected and
drained during the winter. For details, call Andrew Pape (250) 334-8514 email@example.com
A Texas developer is offering
future residents of the Sharyland Plantation the option to power their homes
with fuel cells rather than electricity from traditional utilities. By combining
hydrogen and oxygen to form water and electric current, fuel cells produce
electricity which is less polluting than fossil-fueled sources. They plan
to build 500 units a year from 1999 to 2013. With a $6,000 fuel-cell generator
and a natural gas or propane supply, homeowners will be able to produce their
own electricity cheaper than the local utility while creating almost no pollution.
(Wall Street Journal, via Greenclips).
Dr Barry Curran
2571 Penrhyn St
University / Gyro Park Area
Are you a Councillor,
or a City Manager ? Smart Investments for City and County Managers: Energy,
Environment, and Community Development was published by the US EPA in April
1998. The $mart Investments guide provides examples of local governments that
have revamped operations, increased resource use efficiency and promoted smart
growth for the future. Chapters include Smart Energy Efficiency Investments,
Smart Investments for Water Resources Conservation, Smart Waste Reduction
And Recycling Investments, Smart Transportation Investments, & Smart Development
Investments: Building Codes and Zoning. Available in PDF format from the Smart
Growth Network www.smartgrowth.org/resources/smartbuildings_res.html
CALL FOR PROPOSALS
Next year's big Community Development
Institute on Local Leadership for Sustainable Communities is being held in
the Comox Valley, sponsored by the Comox Valley Social Planning Council (July
30th - Aug 4th, 2000). It's a big event, attended by hundreds of BC social
and environmental activists. Right now, they are looking for Workshop Proposals
covering social justice, community economic development, environmental stewardship,
community democracy, etc. Proposals must be in by October 15th, so get your
hats on ! For details, contact the CDI in Vancouver : firstname.lastname@example.org,
fax (604) 736-8697, tel (604) 718-7755.
ACTION OF THE
Paul Martin is thinking about
including an ecological tax shift in this Fall's Throne Speech and Budget.
An ecological tax shift would tax the "bads" such as pollution,
wastes, carbon emissions, urban sprawl and resource consumption, while reducing
taxation on incomes and jobs. It makes a lot of sense, and many European countries
are embracing such a shift. The oil companies hate the idea, so they are lobbying
hard against the idea, making it is critically important that Paul Martin
hears from those who support such a move.
Action : Write to encourage him,
and emphasize how valuable such a shift would be. Hon. Paul Martin, Minister
of Finance, Esplanade Laurier, East Tower, 21st floor 140 O'Connor St, Ottawa,
K1A 0G5 email email@example.com
Coming up, October 14th - 15th
Conference on tax-shifting, here in Victoria. Mike Mascall, 595-2393