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AG00119_.gif (2913 bytes)EcoNews reaches thousands of people each month, including every MLA in BC and every CRD municipal politician. It’s 95% funded by donations from readers like you. If you value the information it provides, will you support it with a donation?

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

Executive director of The Solutions Project


Newsletter No. 89 - Serving the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island - Dec. 1999


"Mend your ways ! The End of the World is Nigh !" When I was growing up in England, there was always someone on a street corner proclaiming the end of the world. Today, it's the pentecostalists who tell us that the end-time is close, and that God's chosen can expect to be taken up in rapture any day.

Ever since the Jews were defeated by the Babylonians in 586 BC, and taken into captivity in Babylon, there have been prophets proclaiming the end of the world, when the good would be saved and the wicked would suffer terrible woes. The Book of Revelation took its images of beasts and monsters from the colourful murals of Babylon, which have remained as a comfort to the oppressed, including the reggae traditions of Jamaica. If you can't defeat your enemies, at least they will suffer terrible abomnities when the world ends, following a cosmic battle between good and evil. In this reading, the Book of Revelation becomes a kind of spiritual Advil for people who feel trapped. It is a gospel of political powerlessness.

It may be tempting fate to say so, but has some of the Y2K paranoia been a small expression of the same powerlessness ? For those who have long since fallen out of love with the way the world is run, a "collapsing world" Y2K scenario was the perfect come-uppance for an over-civilized world, when the machines would start blathering and the world as we knew it would come to an end. A year ago, I was warning of possible collapses.

Today, however, just five weeks away from January 1st, much of the necessary repair work appears to have been done, and all seems calm. There will without doubt be disruptions, which will continue into 2000, and we should all still have a week to a month's supply of food and water set by, since we also live in an earthquake zone; but I do not feel that anything terrible is going to happen.

Nor will the pentecostalists have much to celebrate : on the night of Saturday, January 1st, the stars will still be in the heavens, the kitchen floor will still need sweeping, and Interfor will still be clearcutting the Great Bear Rainforest.

Underneath all this, however, I do believe that something is happening.

The 20th century has been an age of amazing technical prowess - bigger bombs, faster cars, smarter drugs. We were excited by science, and all that it could deliver - until things started to go sour. It started with the nuclear bomb, and went on to include DDT, the hole in the ozone layer, and Chernobyl.

Today, apart from WTO-loving corporations whose CEOs will swear that toxic sludge is good for you if it increases their earnings, most people are increasingly ambivalent about technological progress. Right across the political spectrum, we see global warming, genetically modified food and the destruction of the rainforests, and we know that this is not what we want for our children.

For most of the 20th century, the modern world was divided into "left" and "right", socialists and capitalists. When communism collapsed in 1989, the free market capitalists thought they had won. They organized globally, took charge of the world trade negotiations, and for ten years, they enjoyed political dominance. Bereft of a strong alternative vision and disenchanted with the old ideologies of the left, the remnants of the left were left to wander in the liberal middle.

So what is it that is stirring ? Firstly, there is a new excitement that the Internet allows us to organize globally, to defeat the MAI, and to present the first serious challenge to the WTO. If the corporations can think globally, so can our 20,000 non-government organizations which are active at a global level - and this is just the beginning.

There is also an exciting new practicality to the whole debate about sustainability, whether it is concerns ecological taxation or 'smart zoning' for urban communities. We are out of the rhetoric and into the hands-on stage, where it becomes totally feasible to reconfigure a city's transportation system to shift 50% of the traffic onto buses and bicycles, while increasing the livability and economic vitality of the region.

These are exciting times to be alive, when the new book of revelation is about our ability to take charge of our lives, and our planet's future, and no longer feel disempowered by "the system", "the matrix", or whatever you want to call it. This will be the century when the Greens become a responsible, mainstream political party, when fossil fuels go the way of the horse-drawn carriage, when women assume the majority of the world's political leadership positions.

The biggest obstacle is cynicism, which elevates powerlessness to a state of personal "cool" - but this is about to be blown away by the youth and the fresh air of the 21st century. It is time to celebrate the new beginning : the best is yet to come.

- Guy Dauncey

Please 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.AG00119_.gif (2913 bytes)

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* My partner Sandy and I would like to explore the possibility of buying a large home collectively, with suites in it to share with other people with possible common areas. Call Don Ollsin, 592-7523 email

* Wanted, owner for certified organic Salt Spring Farm, 4+ hectares. Sturdy buildings, 4000 sq ft, 5 BR, workshop, 2 cabins, southern aspect, 2 acre market garden, irrigation, walking trails, ocean view Mt. Baker. Zoned for 2 living buildings. Serious folks only $385,000. Linda, (250) 537-5238

* Vancouver Island Vegetarian Association (VIVA). The final 1999 newsletter has just been sent to members. It's time to renew ! 1680 Kisber St, Victoria, V8P 2W6 (386-2100 Discount cards for 2000 and newsletters will not be sent until memberships are renewed.

* Community Venture Capital - 30% tax-breaks. Ministry of Community Dev't, Coops and Volunteers. Community Capacity Building grants up to $50,000; Community Cooperative Business Development matching funds up to $100,000. Details Wendy Klyne, 746-9388


Gwen Mallard, often called the mother of environmentalism in Canada, died of cancer at our East Sooke home on November 13th. She was 82. She was a gentle quiet woman, resolute in all she did, with a wonderful smile that endeared her to everyone - a beautiful lady in every respect. This exceptional woman, with my willing help, started the Canadian environmental movement from her Coquitlam sitting room in December 1968, leading to the creation of S.P.E.C. (Society for Promoting Environmental Conservation). In 1972 we returned to Victoria and established CASE - Citizens Action to Save the Environment.

Gwen fought against Kaiser Resources' strip mining site in the East Kootenays Elk Valley, where the elk had their critical winter feeding ranges. She hitch-hiked across Canada to present a 60,000 signature petition to Ottawa to stop the oil tanker traffic from Alaska moving down our B.C. coast. She campaigned against the deadly herbicide 245D for roadside and BC Hydro brush clearance, which was eventually eliminated. She worked against Kimberley Mines' deadly mining wastes, which were killing life in 20 miles of St. Mary's river. She started a 5 year effort to protect Tod Inlet from development - it is now part of the Tod/Gowlland Park. Ten years ago she initiated a biodiversity butterfly program, which is still an annual program.

For 24 years Gwen operated her vegetarian restaurant on the Saanich Peninsula, happily serving home made food, practising what she believed in. Her vegetable soups were legendary, and her mixed berry pies topped with a generous helping of velvet smooth soya soft ice cream were an absolute treat. Many people looked upon "Gwen's" as not just a wonderful place to eat but an environmental institution - she taught generations of people what it means to be environmentally concerned. In the 1990s, she devoted most of her attention to campaigning against approval of the Bovine Growth Hormone in Canada, and the genetic engineering of our foods.

Gwen received seven awards, including the Environmental Lifetime Achievement Award, in Ottawa. As we stood arm in arm the next day and gazed at the dramatically powerful war memorial close to the hotel, silent tears coursed down her beautiful face. It was but one of many wonderful moments I have been honoured to share with this remarkable, compassionate and loving human being. May she be well remembered.

Derrick Mallard


If you have just been elected, this may be the first time you have seen EcoNews. You may not see yourself as being "green", but EcoNews will hopefully provide you with useful environmental stories. If you would like more copies to distribute to your staff, please let me know. Many EcoNews endorsed candidates were elected, but in the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area (covering rural Sooke), however, Diane Bernard was defeated by Brian Henson's big-money pro-development campaign, so we can expect ongoing difficulties down there as we strive to protect valuable ecosystems. A big welcome to Beth Gibson in Colwood, to the new council in the Highlands, and to Rob Fleming, Denise Savoie and Art Vanden Berg in Victoria. On Bowen Island, the Green Party's Lisa Barrett is now the Mayor. EcoNews is here to serve you, as a way to reach out and seek input.

Andrew Gage
Barrister & Solicitor


Specializing in Environmental, Administrative & Civil Sector Law

Good rates for NGOs


#5-481 Head St., Victoria, B.C. V9A 5S1

Tel. (250)920-4243


The holidays are a great time for games with the family and friends - but have you ever wished for something slightly less greedy than Monopoly, less trivial than Trivial Pursuit ? Back in the early '70s, Ruth and Jim Deacove, high school teachers in Saskatchewan, went to live in a rural community in Perth, Ontario, and started dreaming up alternative board games for their daughters. Starting with 'Harvest Time', Jim went on to create over 50 games, some for 4 - 8 year olds, some for 7 - 12s, some for the whole family, including such sophisticated games as 'Community', the 'Earth Game', and 'Let's Go Sailing!'. Every Christmas, Daphne Taylor sells the games as a fundraiser for the St George's Community Resources Centre - if you are interested, call 477-6437, and she'll send a catalogue.

Esther J. Muirhead, M.Ed, BSW

Personal and Social Change Strategies:

Harnessing the power of community, creativity and spirituality for the benefit of all being.



How big is your ecological footprint? In October, South Park Elementary's grade 6 and 7 students asked this question in chalk on the sidewalk, to celebrate National Walk A Child To School Day. The senior students wanted their schoolmates to reduce their impact on the local environment by choosing active ways to get to school, and the next day, more than 85% walked or biked, while those who lived too far took transit, ride-shared or convinced their parents to park away from the school and walk with them. Across Canada, more than 500 elementary schools took part. Some, like Willows Elementary, continue to hold Walkin' Wheelin' Wednesdays every week. At Sidney Elementary, most children walk every day. Across BC, however, almost half the children are driven to urban and suburban schools, up from less than 1 in 3 ten years ago. Most trips are less than 1km in length, and contribute to air pollution, dangerous roads and auto-dependent children. 'Way to Go!' offers parents and teachers a tool to enable more children to safely walk, bike, carpool or use public transit. After conducting a survey, students and parents map their school site, conduct traffic and pedestrian counts, and identify the best routes for pedestrians and bicyclists. They also start "walking school buses", and set up walking buddies. For free resource kit, call Suzanne Kort at 388-0781 or 1-877-325-3636.

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Yes, it's that time of year. How about a West Coast Gift Basket of naturally grown, locally produced gourmet food, delivered free in Victoria by bicycle ? Call Share Organics, 595-6729. Or music - "Running from the Mountains" is music to protect our watersheds to, by Holly Arntzen and the Watershed Choir - children from Durrance, Beaver Lake, Strawberry Vale and Spectrum schools. Price $20 - call Holly at 544-4006.

Then there is the gift of LAND - a home for eagles, bats, wildflowers and wilderness that will be there in a hundred, a thousand years. The Land Conservancy (TLC) of British Columbia invites you to give a gift of land on South Winchelsea Island (a pristine Garry oak ecosystem and sea-lion haul-out), Reynolds Ranch (1,000 acres of grassland west of Clinton that contains nearly 1/3rd of B.C.'s endangered species), Black Creek Ranch (800 acres of vital fish-spawning habitat, home to black bears, moose and grey wolves, east of Williams Lake), the Nanaimo River Flood Plain (last remaining intact riparian area) and the Sooke Hills. You can also give a Nature Cruise Gift Certificate for one of TLC's gorgeous summer cruises. For all these, call the TLC at (250) 479-8053.

On Sat Dec 11th, there's also a "Justice for Christmas Fair Trade Fair" with a choice of fair and sustainable gifts (see Diary).


A big announcement from your editor - New Society has just published my first new book in ten years, 'Earthfuture : Stories from a Sustainable World'. It's a book of enjoyable short stories, set between the years 2005 and 2015, which describe how it is possible to built a peaceful, sustainable world. The stories are set all over the world - including Port Renfrew, Salt Spring, Victoria and Gold River. I had fun writing it, and its home-page at has a rich set of web-connected notes which show you how the stories are happening in the real world. It's available in all bookshops, and I can mail a signed copy if you call me at (250) 881-1304. Price $17.95.

Sierra Club, Victoria Group

Public Forum

How Greater Victoria deals

with its Sewage

Thursday Dec. 2nd, 7:30pm

Garry Oak Room, 1335 Thurlow


Here's a smart new website which enables you to send an instant email or a free fax to any politician, at There's a similar service at If you want to write to Canada's papers, the Results Canada page ( has a full list of Canadian media email addresses - so bookmark the pages, and make your voice heard.

Seeds of Victoria

Organic Heritage Seeds

Year 2000 Seed Catalogue $2

from The Garden Path

395 Conway Rd, Victoria V8X 3X1

A gift of seeds sows thoughts of you


Don't forget to stock up with enough food and water to last you for three days (or longer), just in case there are unforeseen glitches with the Y2K computer bug. And advise your neighbours too, as well. Thrifty Foods have a "Just in Case" feature sale on, to help you stock up. There is lots of local Y2K advice available at



Fifty years ago, we all knew our neighbours - but today, that's becoming an endangered tradition. So how about launching the new millennium by inviting your neighbours round to an Open House during the early days of January, to start building a stronger community on your street ? For ideas, see the Street Volunteers home page



Vandana Shiva writes from India : All around the world, the WTO's rules are promoting commerce at the cost of the environment. In conflicts between trade and environment, the WTO dispute settlement panels have ruled in favour of commercial interests, and against the protection of the environment. The environmental movement of the South is appealing for a GREEN SCREEN campaign to screen and evaluate the WTO's rules and agreements in the context of their environmental impact, and then recommend changes to ensure that the environment and natural resources that the poor in the Third World need for their livelihood are protected. Nothing less than such an overhaul will guarantee environmental protection. Keeping the environmentally destructive rules of the WTO intact and merely adding an environmental clause will not protect the environment. It will merely protect Northern trading interests. We invite the environmental community of the North and the South to join the GREEN SCREEN campaign.

ACTION : Write to Pierre Pettigrew, Minister of Trade, Houses of Parliament, Ottawa K1A 0A6, and share your thoughts.

Check out the Victoria Green Pages !

Deadline for January 2000: December 28th

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 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)

Now Available!
'Earthfuture : Stories from a Sustainable World'
(New Society Publishers, November 1999)
An ecofictional novel

EcoNews is printed on Tree-Free paper from Ecosource

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