Earthfuture: Stories from a Sustainable World
EARTHFUTURE - THE NOTES ...and who knows what else !
In case you have just come across this page, these are the notes to the book Earthfuture : Stories from a Sustainable World by Guy Dauncey. If you enjoy the notes, you may enjoy the book !
So you want to join a brown box scheme, and have fresh organic vegetables delivered to your home ? First, check the home page for The Soil Association, in Britain (www.soilassociation.org) - the Granddaddy (grandma ?) of them all, campaigning for organic food and farming and sustainable forestry. You'll also find details of the Parliamentary Bill that would see Britain's farms become 30% organic by 2010, and stories which describe how Britain is on the way to becoming a GM free nation.
For the food itself, in Britain, try Organics Direct (www.organicsdirect.com) click on-line, and you'll have the food within a week ! For the USA and Canada, when I did an AltaVista search on "community supported agriculture", I came up with over 3,000 sites. In Victoria, BC, try SPUD organics (www.spud.ca).
So what about those carbon rebates Jolene received every year ? The Rodale Institute has done a 15 year study which has proved that organic farming is kinder to the environment, and produces comparable yields to chemical farming, and also that it counteracts the global greenhouse effect by building more carbon into the soil. As soon as someone develops a method to officially quantify the carbon gains by a soil test, organic farms should be able to apply for carbon credits under the emerging carbon trading permits system.
Some other excellent Organic Agriculture websites :
The City Farmer (Vancouver) www.cityfarmer.org. Urban Agriculture Notes. In 1998, they transmitted a staggering 1,139,382 file around the world. Truly the world's premium site on urban agriculture.
Don't Panic, Eat Organic - www.rain.org/~sals/my.html
International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements www.ecoweb.dk/ifoam/ This is where you'll find out that in Switzerland, organic farming has reached 7% of the farming total; Austria 10% (20,000 farms), and Italy has grown from 18,000 organic farms in 1996 to 40,000 in 1998. Wow ! Uganda has 7,000 organic farms. The largest organic trader in the UK expects the 1999 global organic market of $11 billion to increase nine-fold to $100 billion by 2009, with most of the growth happening in Japan and the USA.
A Future in the Forest
Let the forests live ! For the background into what ecoforestry is all about, The EcoForestry Institute will give you the works. (www.ecoforestry.ca).
To visit the West Coast Trail, go to www.tourcanada.com/wctrail.htm
The Forest Stewardship Council (www.fscus.org) is the body which certifies the certifiers, for ecologically-base forestry. Eco-certification is going to change the whole we do forestry - make no mistake about it. The Eco-Research Chair at the University of Victoria has been working hard to spread understanding about ecosystem-based community forestry. They have also pioneered the changes to the forest tenure system which allowed a place like Port Renfrew to claim control and responsibility over its own forests.
Other great sites :
The Silva Forest Foundation (www.silvafor.org)
Cortes Island EcoForestry Society (www.cortesecoforestry.org) shows what one small island can achieve, when its people really work together towards a vision of sustainable forestry.
The Denman Community Forest Cooperative (www.denmanis.bc.ca/forestry.htm), shows how a community really has to struggle to achieve its vision.
International Network of Forests and Communities www.forestsandcommunities.org
Forestworld (www.forestworld.com) - the Internet's premier site for wood and forest products, with over 6,000 links.
By November 1999, more than 2,900 groups in 163 countries around the world had joined the Earth Day 2000 campaign (www.earthday.org). Contact them at email@example.com to get on board, and link your own local celebrations to those happening worldwide.
Maybe you already know the wonderful songs of Jacques Brel, the Belgian chanteur who became known outside Europe through the show Jacques Brel is Alive and Living in Paris. The words to his song The Quest start "Rêver un impossible rêve" - "to dream an impossible dream" - and I won't spoil the rest for you. If you go to www.Amazon.com, go to 'music', do a search on 'Jacques Brel', click on 'The Master Series' and then on 'La Quête', you can listen to it right now.
The Song of Syntropy
The concept of syntropy lies at the core of all my work, since it is so very fundamental. Before writing Earthfuture, I spent before years writing a major novel called Journey into the Future (unpublished), which contained a chapter on syntropy, written in the form of a magazine article, set in the future. If you click on Syntropy Article, you can read the whole thing.
The concept of syntropy was coined by the eminent Hungarian scientist Albert Szent-Gyorgi, who shared the Nobel Prize in 1937 for his discovery of Vitamin C. There is a useful description of syntropy written by Jerry Bergman at a Christian creationist site (www.icr.org/article/136/). The creationists are interested in his ideas because they indicate evidence for the presence of a spirit within evolution. Personally, I think Darwin is fantastic, and that the Darwinian theory of evolution provides us with a glorious celebration of the unity of all creation. My only problem with it is that it leaves out consciousness, and the spiritual dimensions of reality. The reason why creationists dismiss Darwinian evolutionary ideas is that current neo-Darwinian theory does in fact say that life is a purely material, random process which is both directionless and meaningless, except for a "here we are" joy of living for its own sake. Rather than seek to develop Darwinian theory further to embrace consciousness, the creationists use the materialism of neo-Darwinian theory to reject it altogether, and go back to the Biblical description of creation.
One place where research into the nature of consciousness is being pursued today is the Institute of Noetic Sciences (www.noetic.org). For more information on Sri Aurobindo, see www.miraura.org. For background on Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the French Jesuit priest and scientists who did very parallel work to that of Sri Aurobindo, see www.gaiamind.com/Teilhard.html (and check out its source, www.gaiamind.com.
Some other interesting and relevant sites
Rupert Sheldrake on-line : www.sheldrake.org
Peter Russell on-line : www.peterussell.com
The Findhorn Foundation, in Scotland : www.findhorn.org
Great Thinkers and Visionaries on the net : www.immortality.org/~sasha/thinkers.html
An AltaVista search on "traffic calming" brings up 24,000 references. You should check David Engwicht's Australian site (www.lesstraffic.com).
For an example of local bicycle activism, see the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition at www.gvcc.bc.ca
For information on solar shingles, see below , 'The Dawning of the Solar Age'.
The Natural Step
In the USA, you can find The Natural Step at www.naturalstep.org. There's a good overview at http://home.mira.net/~mpitcher/natstep.html.
To buy the book The Natural Step for Business by Brian Nattrass and Mary Altomare, go straight to New Society Publishers at www.newsociety.com, click on 'authors', click on Brian Nattrass and there it is !
To learn more about Collins Pine, the Oregon-based timber company which is a member of The Natural Step, see www.collinswood.com.
For IKEA, see www.ikea.com.
To find out about the Dutch software ECO-it , which I'm suggesting can be used as the basis for ecotaxation, check out PRé Consultants at www.pre.nl.
To contact The Natural Step :
In Canada : Brian Nattrass, firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Portland : Kate Wells, email@example.com.
In San Francisco : Catherine Gray, firstname.lastname@example.org
In Britain : David Cook, email@example.com
OK - tree-free paper ! Check out EcoSource Paper Inc at www.islandnet.com/~ecodette/ecosource.htm.
There are two great books on Straw Bale Building. The first is The Straw Bale House, and the second is Straw Bale Building.
E-paper is a natural derivative of e-books. Xerox and 3M are teaming up to develop a thin, flexible electronic screen; newspapers are already available on-line, and I already get all my best news over the Internet, from a variety of different sources. It's only a matter of time.
Farewell to Toxics
My best source of information on the whole issue of toxics is Rachel's Environment and Health Weekly, which you can find at www.rachel.org/en/newsletters/rachels_news/. You'll find many articles on toxics, ranging from 'PVC and the Breasts of Mothers' (#658) to 'Pesticides and Aggression' (#648). Peter Montague, who produces Rachel's, is extremely well researched, and a wonderful resource to millions of people. You can subscribe electronically for a donation, or by mail for $25 a year. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The other great resource is the Center for Health, Environment and Justice (also known as the Citizens Clearinghouse for Hazardous Wastes) (www.essential.org/cchw), founded and run by grassroots activists.
The Community De-Tox campaign which Sophie helped organize is modelled on one created by the Georgia Strait Alliance (www.georgiastrait.org) - click on 'current projects', then 'household toxics'.
The Tides of Bold Bluff
For information about tidal turbines, check out the Vancouver-based company, Blue Energy (www.bluenergy.com), which you'll find complete with photographs and explanations.
To learn more about ecovillages, check out the Global EcoVillages Network (www.gaia.org), take a tour, and visit one of their member ecovillages on-line. For cohousing, visit the Canadian Cohousing Network at www.cohousing.ca, or the USA Cohousing Network at www.cohousing.org. And then there are Intentional Communities, whose website you can see at www.ic.org. I'll leave it to you to sort out where an ecovillage begins and ends. And why not visit the Ithaca EcoVillage ? (www.ecovillage.ithaca.ny.us/)
Then there's Smart Growth - which is helping turn mainstream settlements into more sociable, bike-friendly and child-friendly places, in place of the disease of cold suburban sprawl that is eating up everything from heron's nests to cactus groves. Check out the Smart Growth Clearinghouse at www.sprawlwatch.org and the Sierra Club's campaign at www.sierraclub.org/sprawl. There's also a wealth of great material at the Urban Ecology site, www.urbanecology.org.
The Dawning of the Solar Age
Judging by the number of sites on the Internet devoted to solar, wind and other renewable energies, it's well past dawn already!
Since the book was published, there has been a major breakthrough in solar cell development, pushing the efficiency of a solarvoltaic cell from 17% to 40%. When the development comes to production, hopefully by 2001, this will cut the price of solar cells in half, since you'll only need to install half as many cells.
In the story I say that Denmark will achieve 10% of its electricity use from renewable energy by 2002. I was behind the times - they have already achieved that in 1999 ! For details on the Danish wind co-operatives which are behind the miracle, see www.windpower.org/en/core.htm
For solar shingles, try Sunslates (www.geniusloci.com/page1.html), which includes performance specs. The EcoMall is selling solar products at www.ecomall.com/greenshopping/sdsolar.htm, so you can click and order your own solar shingles right now !
Some other good Solar Age sites :
Global Change : A Review of Climate Change and Ozone Depletion www.globalchange.org
Union of Concerned Scientists www.ucsusa.org
The Alliance to Save Energy - www.ase.org
And don't miss Climate Solutions : Practical Solutions to Global Warming, my personal buddies in Olympia, Washington State. www.climatesolutions.org
I hope the Glasgow Infirmary did not take it personally, that I wrote this story 3 years before they had an actual outbreak. For some background, here are various sites :
Australian warning, August 1999 : www.abc.net.au/news/features/antibiotics.htm
Britain's House of Lords Science & Technology Report on Resistance to Antibiotics
The Pangs of Gaia's Wounds
My research into the way in which the coal and chemical companies are destroying Orissa comes from the Institute for Policy Studies, which has a project called the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network which produced the paper Destroying Orissa.
For the background on hormone-mimicking chemicals and genetic abnormalities, see Rachel's Environment and Health Weekly (www.rachel.org/en/newsletters/archive/rachels_news), especially issues #594 (Missing Boys), #576 (Something is Terribly Wrong), #486 (Our Stolen Future) and #432 (Two More Studies Show Human Sperm Loss). And there's lots more where this came from.
The West Antarctic Ice Sheet is already breaking up, as global temperatures rise. For some background, and for actual maps that show what parts of the world will look like if the west or the east Antarctic Ice Sheets were to melt, see NOVA (www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/warnings/waterworld). For a Washington Post story on the threat from melting, see www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/inatl/longterm/climate/stories/clim022199.htm
In 1995, the prestigious Climate Institute published an interview with Professor Terence Hughes, of the Institute for Quaternary Studies at the University of Marine, Orono, Maine, titled "Greenhouse Warming Could Pop the Cork on a Bottled-Up East Antarctic Ice Sheet".
For a related story on how climate change may trigger the worlds ocean currents to "switch off" and plunge Northern Europe into an ice age, see 'The Great Climate Flip-Flop' by William Calvin in The Atlantic Monthly, at (http://WilliamCalvin.com/1990s/1998AtlanticClimate.htm)
If you visit the Grameen Foundation in the USA (www.grameenfoundation.org), you will see photos of villagers like Nurjahan in Bangladesh, order Muhammad Junus' new autobiography, Banker to the Poor, anddiscover a complete listing of microcredit peer-lending programs in North America and around the world. There is more about microcredit lending at the
Microcredit Summit site (www.microcreditsummit.org), including a true life story about a young woman called Nurjahan (www.microcreditsummit.org/stories/nurjahan.htm). It's remarkably similar to my story, but I will state, in all honesty, that I hadn't seen this web-site and I didn't know about this Nurjahan when I wrote my story. I hope that it continues to work out well for Nurjahan, as successfully as my story suggests.
The Groups of Five
To learn about RESULTS in the USA, see www.results.org. In Canada see http://results-resultats.ca. For 20/20 Vision ("Making the world a healthier place on your coffee-break"), see www.2020vision.org. For Amnesty International, the third group which inspires the 'Groups of Five', see www.amnesty.org
"Spurred by poverty and lack of widespread prevention efforts, the AIDS virus continues to rake across sub-Saharan Africa - where 7 of ten global HIV infections and 9 of 10 global AIDS deaths occur. In a dozen African nations, at least 10 percent of the adult population carries the virus." (Vital Signs 1999, Worldwatch Institute, New York)