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Guy Dauncey, Editor
395 Conway Road, Victoria, BC
Tel (250) 881-1304
Executive director of The Solutions Project
No. 88 - Serving the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island - Nov. 1999
SIT AND MOPE - GO OUT AND VOTE !
It's not an easy job. Every week,
there are meetings to attend - library meetings, neighbourhood meetings, bus-route
meetings, committee meetings, sub-committee meetings, distressed citizen meetings,
police board meetings, and of course, regular council meetings, with piles
of minutes and agendas to digest.
And that's if you're not trying
to change the world.
If you are trying to change the
world, there are cyclists to be formed into task forces, neighbourhood groups
to be drawn into design charrettes, proposals to be developed, city budgets
to be understood and adjusted, fellow-councillors to be persuaded, city staff
to be brought round.
All this, for a part-time wage
and very little thanks.
And yet, this November, thousands
of people are out with their supporters knocking on doors, attending meetings,
distributing brochures, raising funds, trying to drum up the support they
need to engage in three years of hard work, late nights, and often stressed
marriages - as municipal councillors. You've got to give them credit.
At the municipal level, they say
that if you've got three things, you can change the world : (1) a willing
and vocal citizenry; (2) a progressive, informed staff, and (3) a majority
on council. So what's to be changed ? What might our new councillors be doing.
to mark the first three years of the new millennium, that might REALLY make
a difference ?
Firstly - traffic calming. We
drive too much (releasing pollutants and greenhouse gases), and our streets
are no longer safe for children and pets. Yet every so often, we pay good
money to repave residential streets to make them smoother. Let's give the
responsibility for residential street maintenance to the community development
division or the parks and recreation department, instead of the traffic engineers.
Every time a street is due to be repaved, let's turn it into a chance for
its residents to redesign it. Let's make our residential streets work first
for their residents, then for their cars.
Next - let's organize ourselves
so that ever municipality encourages neighbourhood groups to become established
in a recognized way, as Victoria does, and be involved in local decision-making.
Let's encourage neighbours to form community circles on the streets where
they live, building resilience and support, recreating the links that used
to exist 50 years ago.
Then there's the Internet. Let's
use it not just for press releases and committee minutes, but to involve people
in contributing suggestions, to conduct straw polls, to publish ecological
and zoning maps, to track the voting record of councillors, to describe how
the budget works, to receive taxes and fees, to seek input on rezoning proposals
long before they go to a public hearing.
Plus - we need an integrated
Transportation Authority so that we can plan together for a complete cycling
infrastructure, an LRT system, and a revitalized transit service with electronic
timetables in the bus shelters, as they're doing in Europe - and Portland.
Let's lower the voting age to
16. Let's establish urban farms and community gardens in every neighbourhood.
Let's invite people to take care of their own boulevards, planting them with
fruit trees or herb patches if they want to.
Let's establish urban containment
boundaries and make absolutely sure we protect our farmland and greenspace
before it is eaten away. Let's protect every Garry Oak tree and meadow and
every "special place", before it's too late.
Let's create new urban villages,
and strengthen our existing ones by allowing higher density and being more
creative with pedestrian spaces, outdoor cafés and artwork.
Let's bring in direct elections
for the Regional District, and debate regional issues properly, instead of
shuffling them off to obscure committees of appointed councillors.
Let's turn Government Street into
a festival of pedestrians and musicians every summer's night. Let's do the
same for Chinatown, and Broad Street.
Let's call a moratorium on all
major road repairs until a complete system of bicycling lanes is in place.
Let's create community economic
development trusts, and give them full control of the local welfare and UI
Let's make it easy for many more
small, affordable units to be built so that people on minimal incomes can
buy their own places, co-operatively. The solution to homelessness is a home,
not a handout.
Many of these things can happen,
but you and your friends must first get out there and vote. Don't sit and
home and mope, complaining about the world - get out there and vote, to change
- 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.
Many thanks to Michael &
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Branch), Peter Spurr, Robert Pettigrew, Denise Savoie, Miriam Thorn, Life
Works, Sylvan Foreman, UVic Environmental Students Association, Joel Harvey,
Maurice Tozer, Debra Barr, Sandra Beagley, Lois Marcoux & Erin McGregor.
And thanks to Ian Barclay who preps the address labels, Kim Weaver who preps
the envelopes, and everyone who helps stuff and fold at the mail-out parties.
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I support the
CRD Parks Plan
Please vote YES
on Nov 20th.
Saanich Councillor & CRD Director
On November 20th, we get to vote
for our municipal councillors and school board reps for the next 3 years.
It may seem boring, but a progressive council can make a big difference towards
creating a sustainable city and a healthy community. EcoNews has been asking
around, and we've compiled a list of candidates who stand for socially and
environmentally responsible policies. It is not an easy task, and for Victoria,
we had to leave out some good candidates. If you only feel comfortable voting
for 2 or 3 people, don't waste your votes on people you know nothing about.
Oak Bay. Nils Jensen and
Victoria. For Mayor - Bob Friedland. For council - Lenora Burke, Chris
Coleman, Dean Fortin, John Luton, Pam Madoff, Walter Meyer zu Erpen, Denise
Savoie and Art Vanden Berg.
Saanich. For Mayor, Frank Leonard, plus Judy Brownoff, Gordon Christie,
David Cubberley, Vic Derman, Jack Etkin, Sheila Orr and Carol Pickup.
Central Saanich. Christopher Graham, Allison Haddon and Robert Thompson.
North Saanich. Dee Bailin, Wally du Temple and Anny Scoones.
Sidney, View Royal, Esquimalt - sorry - no time to do the research.
The Highlands. For Mayor - Karel Roessingh. For council, Ken Faris,
Marcie McLean, Dave McLellan, Sandy McPherson, Jane Mendum and Bill Vogel.
This is a critical watershed election for the Highlands, following Bob McMinn's
resignation over his heroic efforts to preserve the Gowlland Range as parkland.
These candidates will work to preserve the Highlands as our region's greenbelt.
Colwood. For Mayor - Beth Gibson. For council - Jason Nault.
Langford. For council - Heather Ashton and Gordon Maxwell.
Metchosin. For Mayor - Bob Mitchell. For council - Chris Moehr, Lorne
Rosenblood and Heidi Tonn.
Sooke. For Mayor - Edwin MacGregor. For council - Judith Burke (www.geocities.com/RainForest/Vines/4301/council.html),
William Dixon and Patricia Zogar.
Juan de Fuca Electoral Area. Diane Bernard. This is another highly
important election, since Diane's opponent, Brian Henson, is backed by big
developer money and resources, and will try to get the Silver Spray Ranch
and other big development projects approved by the CRD if he gets elected.
Greater Victoria School District. Steven Bentheim, Charlotte Beresford,
Bev Horsman, Carol James, Sandra Letts, Vic Lindal, Mark Walsh. Rosamund McLean,
The Parks vote - please vote YES to the question about a $6 or $10
tax contribution for the CRD Parks Plan. Don't vote against $6 because you
think it's not enough - it'll count as a "no" vote.
Whatever you think about the
NDP government, we should be happy that we have finally got a Minister of
the Environment (Joan Sawicki) who has her heart in the job, and wants to
make a difference. These are her top priorities : (1) Restoring the cuts that
were made to the Ministry under Glen Clark. An extra $5 million has been released
for conservation officers, pollution prevention, habitat protection, fish
and wildlife management and parks stewardship. It's not as much as was cut,
but it's a start. (2) Completing the Protected Areas Strategy and land-use
planning, surpassing the 12% protection target, and ensuring long-term stewardship
of the provincial parks, with new protected areas legislation and a five-year
parks business plan. (3) Pressing the federal government to bring in strong
legislation to prohibit the export of bulk water. (4) The protection and recovery
of endangered and threatened species and their habitats, by finding common
ground at the federal/provincial level, and working with environmentalists
and industry to identify the next steps. (5) Moving forward with the Green
Economy Initiative, encouraging innovative environmental businesses and exploring
tax-shifting, so that we tax pollution and waste instead of jobs. Joan is
also interested in 'The Natural Step', the Swedish process which enables an
organization or corporation to re-orient its processes to follow the laws
of ecology and nature, instead of the bottom line thinking that has led us
into such a mess. At the recent Premier's Economic Summit for the Island/Coast
Region in Campbell River, one of the workshops decided that getting the BC
government to embrace The Natural Step was the most important thing we should
be doing. For details, call Joan's office, 387-1187.
So you think we should be doing
more ? Just imagine - a Green Party governing in coalition with the NDP, with
Adrienne Carr as new Green Party leader and Minister of the Environment. Don't
dismiss the idea - it's precisely what happened in France, where the Green
Party leader Dominique Voisnet is Minister of Environment. The reason why
Europe leads the world with progressive environmental legislation is not because
they are more green than we are, but that they have a system of proportional
voting which allows minority parties such as the Greens to be included in
meaningful voting, where 6% of the votes turns into 6% of the seats. At the
recent Premier's Summit, I discovered that Gordon Wilson, Andrew Petter and
Corky Evans all supported proportional representation (PR). Maybe we should
have a drive to persuade the NDP to embrace PR before we are doomed to 15
years of eco-abusive, human-abusive Liberal rule. In this way, a vote for
the Greens in the next provincial election would not be a wasted vote. In
the municipal elections, of course, a vote for the Greens is never a wasted
Your Green Party Candidates
for Victoria City Councillors
on 20th November, 1999
Walter Meyer zu Erpen
Art Vanden Berg
For information, or to help our
campaign, please phone
The Technology Project of the
Rockerfeller Family Fund offers a database package designed for non-profits
to track donors, members and supporters, as a free download from www.ebase.org.
"I've tested all the major donor databases, and even for $10,000 you
couldn't match the features and quality of ebase." Tim Greyhavens, Wilburforce
Foundation. Ebase features individually customized email, an email merge to
any set of records, automated response tracking and analysis. Can be accessed
on a LAN by up to 50 simultaneous users. In a pilot project using ebase, with
2 days staff time and no direct cost, a 20% response was achieved on an appeal
for public comment on a proposed national forest road building moratorium.
Full-spectrum, Glare-Free, UV Blocked
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Island Enviro Lighting
THE GREAT BEACH
Cheryl M. Borris writes : From
Sept 17th - 25th, the Great BC Beach Clean Up inspired over 2,000 volunteers
to pitch in and clean up our beaches throughout British Columbia. Here in
the CRD, 1,200 volunteers collected 41,542 pieces of garbage from 105 kms
of shoreline. 28,393 items were plastics, with foamed plastic-styrofoam packing
and fast food containers leading the pack. The usual nasties were in the tally
- condoms, tampon applicators, broken glass, fishing line & 6-pack holders.
Volunteers also found a car seat, a plucked and stuffed turkey, several pairs
of underwear, and five coconuts. (Now there's an idea - include them all in
one short story ! - ed). Special thanks to Sierra Club, Veins of Life Watershed
Society and Fisheries & Oceans Canada for making the clean up a success.
Next year, we aim to sign-up more than 2,000 people. Call me at 356-6921 email@example.com
A WINTER GIFT
Sea-lions, swallows and banana
slugs ! Rock crabs and raptors ! If you've enjoyed Briony Penn's weekly biological
ramblings in Monday Magazine, you'll be delighted to know Horsdal & Schubart
have just published her writings in a book called 'A Year on the Wild Side',
which will probably be on many Christmas gift lists. Full of her original
illustrations (see below) and humour, it will educate you in the most delightful
way about the myriad other creatures who were here long before we were. Great
for family fire-side reading. PS Briony is giving a talk/slide show at St
Ann's Academy on Wed 10th. She's a very gifted (and amusing) speaker !
The butterflies and seed-gatherers
can celebrate ! On the eve of the great Seattle show-down with the WTO, arch
corporate villain Monsanto has been persuaded to climb down over its intention
to develop the "terminator" gene, which would have used genetic
engineering to render plants sterile, obliging farmers to buy new Monsanto
GM seeds every year instead of saving their own. The change of heart came
after Monsanto's Directors were addressed in private by Gordon Conway, President
of the Rockerfeller Foundation, who tore a strip off them for their arrogance
and secrecy, for alienating millions of Europeans, and for causing a meltdown
of confidence in science and big business, and a backlash against US agriculture.
Conway went straight for Monsanto's guts. For more than a hour, he lectured
the board: change tack, or bring the wrath of the scientific, political, and
global community down on you. "Admit that you do not have all the answers,"
he said. "Commit yourselves to prompt, full, and honest sharing of data."
Later, an ashen-faced CEO Robert Shapiro appeared in public and agreed to
cease work on the "terminator" technology. The other big GM companies,
Zeneca, Novartis and Ciba Geigy have already patented their own terminator
technologies, and it is to be hoped that they will follow suit. (Guardian
SEE YOU IN SEATTLE
Will the World Trade Organization
(WTO) survive "The Protest of the Century", as its organizers are
calling it ? The WTO was established in 1995, and in the last four years,
it has written 700 pages of enforceable commercial code governing global markets
and trade - "a powerful system of global governance". It is radically
undemocratic, and acts as the voice of the world's largest corporations. On
November 6th, the Victoria chapter of the Council of Canadians is showcasing
"a different economy" based on the values of sustainability and
community (see Diary). If you are planning to go to Seattle, call 1-877-STOP
WTO, or visit www.seattle99.org
which has details about accommodation. Once in Seattle, you will be able to
join direct action and street theatre training workshops, attend teach-ins,
join the People's Assembly and March/Rally, join the March on the WTO (Tuesday
30th) and a host of other activities. In Victoria, activities are being coordinated
by Council of Canadians, c/o Carol Brown, 381-1182.
OF THE MONTH
It is really important that we
get progressive, green candidates elected on the Island, from Victoria to
Cape Scott. The millennium is turning, and there's urgent work to be done
! So please, use the recommended voting list to talk to your friends and neighbours,
and encourage them to vote green (and to vote YES to the CRD Parks Plan.)
A technique I learnt about recently is called "Take 5 to Tell 5"
- take 25 minutes out of your time to talk to 5 people for 5' each, encouraging
them to vote for the candidates that you believe will be the best. And PS,
your favorite candidates will all need help over the next two weeks, in a
host of ways. Good luck !
out the Victoria Green Pages !
for December: November 24th
Green Diary has moved! Click HERE
to see whats happening!
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Road, Victoria V8X 3X1, Canada. Thanks !
for previous issues of EcoNews.
395 Conway Road, Victoria V8X 3X1
Tel/Fax (250) 881-1304
Sustainable Communities Consultancy
of 'After the Crash : The Emergence of the Rainbow Economy'
(Greenprint, London, 1988. 3rd edition 1997)
'Earthfuture : Stories from a Sustainable World'
(New Society Publishers,
An ecofictional novel
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