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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

 

Newsletter No. 97 - Serving the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island - September 2000


THE SUSTAINABLE CITY

It has only been 157 years since the morning of March 14th 1843, when the Hudson Bay Companyís Chief Factor, James Douglas, stepped ashore at Clover Point to begin the permanent presence of white settlers on Vancouver Island, pushing aside the Islandís native inhabitants onto patchy reserves.

In this short period of time, as well as cutting down most of the old growth forest, we have created quite a mess of urban and suburban sprawl, from Victoria to Campbell River Ė and the buildings keep on coming.

In spite of that, we still live in a relative paradise. By the wisdom of some early planning and the protests of some vociferous residents, Victoria has preserved its Inner Harbour, its Dallas Road and its downtown neighbourhoods. Compared to most North American cities, it is a jewel.

The world will experience many changes, but there is nothing to indicate that humans will not be living here in a thousand years, or ten thousand years time. In geological time, the Egyptians and Sumerians were just yesterday. The future will arrive, even if we find it almost impossible to conceive. New people will continue to arrive on Vancouver Island.

Itís not as if thereís a shortage of space. The Islandís 750,000 people live on 32,000 square kilometres. Walesí 3 million people live on 20,000 sq km. The problem is not one of population: it is one of values, lifestyle, and planning. We can generate our own energy renewably from the sun, winds and tides; we can grow far more of our own food in our 12-month growing season; we can learn how to recycle our water and sewage; we can become a zero-waste society, producing the goods we need without trashing the ecosystems they come from.

But can we live here in beauty and grace? What do we need to do today, to ensure that Victoria, Duncan and Nanaimo will be beautiful, civilized, graceful places in a hundred years time, surrounded by nature? This is the question which our locally elected politicians will be gathering to consider on September 8th and 9th (see Diary), when they pause to address the need for a regional plan.

The basic principles should be cast in stone. 1. Create a firm green belt around every settlement, and only review it every 25 years. Allow for higher density inside the settled area, and downzone the land outside it, creating a clear dividing line between urban and rural. This is the principle that most European countries follow, which makes their cities so attractive and their landscapes so pleasing to the eye.

2. Plan a comprehensive network of greenways for cyclists and pedestrians, connecting every community. In Britain, the ĎSustransí initiative aims to create a greenway within a ten minute cycle ride of 80% of the population; the first 5,000 miles is already in place. www.sustrans.co.uk (For a slideshow, come to the GVCC event on September 20th).

3. Plan for a major expansion of transit, with small connector buses and rapid busways on all major roads, as the Brazilian city of Curitiba does. (See www.busways.com and www.curitiba.pr.gov.br) The German city of Freiburg (popín 300,000), as well as laying 250 miles of bicycle paths, has introduced a single transit pass covering 90 different train, bus and tram routes, and slashed the price by 30%. Yes, we need a single unified Transportation Authority, as Greater Vancouver has.

4. Strengthen urban villages, creating greater density, more greenery and more pedestrian areas, as Victoria is doing along Yates Street. The downtown core and the urban villages create the heart of a city, where poets mix with realtors.

5. Turn residential streets into pedestrian priority areas, where cars must be on best behaviour. Invite local residents to get together to make local traffic reduction plans, and prohibit commuters and cars-in-a-hurry from cutting through residential areas. Give residents the authority to redesign their streets, narrowing the roadway and introducing parks and ponds, if that is their wish.

If we donít do these things, the volume of traffic will cause people to flee to the suburbs, creating more traffic as they drive in each day. To our city legislators: nowís your chance to lay the foundations that people will speak proudly of in 100 years time. Please, donít miss the opportunity.

Guy Dauncey

 


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


ECONEWS

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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Many thanks to Cecilie Davidson, Claire Lynch, Hal Knight, Andrea Tischhauser, Cheryl Davies, Bill Metcalfe, Richard Bocking, Janice Turner, Anke Bergner, Laura Porcher, Peter Gardner, Catherine Bennett Bourns, Deryck Thompson, Leslie Campbell, Marilyn Thaden Dexter, Barbara Benoit, Susan Grout, Martin Weideman, Judith Fetter, Troubador Records, Wayne Madden, Stuart Wulff, Ruth Masters, Thelma Macmurchie, Sherri Hohert, Tom Kenyon, Margaret Fear, Island Energy, Roger Colwill, Katey Bloomfield, Dave Secco, Andrew Glen, George Wood & Amelita Kucher.

Donations can be made to EcoNews, 395 Conway Rd, Victoria V9E 2B9. For receipt, include a stamped addressed envelope.

To receive EcoNews by email fill in the form at top.


Winter vegetables bedding plant sale
40+ varieties.

Garden Path Nursery, only until Sept 4th. www.earthfuture.com/gardenpath See Green Diary for details.


THE ECO-PERSONALS

$5 line (free to non-profits, low-income). Box ads: 1" ad $30, $2" ad $55.

* Laundry dilemma. Someone with private laundry facilities wanted to do laundry for environmentally ill woman. Machines must never have been used with Tide, fabric softener or laundry of unknown history (2nd hand clothes). Transport, payment negotiable. 920-0036.

* Ethical investors wanted to help with purchase of land for Nanaimo CoHousing group. Murray Rogers mrogers@island.net

* Handmade House? UK green architect and author David Pearson is writing a new book on beautiful, curious & unusual homes, huts, treehouses & playhouses where people let their creativity run wild, and heís looking for examples. Have you built one? d.pearson@gaiabooks.com

* The Sierra Club, Victoria Group, is inviting applications for new Board Members, deadline Sept 15th. For details, call Kevin Prokopenko, 382-6666.

* VIPERG is planning a conference on global militarization and peace to coincide with NATOís Parliamentary Assembly thatís being held in Victoria, Oct 5-9, 2001. To help, call Bruce Wallace, 721-8629.

* Trent Arterberry, professional mime, is creating a children's show on energy and climate change. If you have stories, music or intriguing ideas, please help us write this educational script for the elementary level. Contact Bev Sawatzky, 642-6281.

* Spacious, bright basement suite in heritage house, 1BR, pvte garden on quiet street, Gorge-Burnside. To non-smoking, eco-responsible person. $625/month obo. Utilities, laundry & cable incl. 381-5196

* Ascent Bookkeeping. Conscientious, personal service. Debra Meeks 478-7880

* EcoNews urgently needs thousands of clean envelopes. If you have envelopes with an "old" address, call Guy 881-1304

* Do you Draw? EcoNews is always looking for small black and white illustrations. No pay, but lots of exposure.


ALEXANDRA MORTON SPEAKS

This summer has seen disastrous decisions by the BC government and by the DFO in Ottawa to support ocean fish-farming; the federal government has even seen fit to give the industry a $70 million hand-out, as if they have written the wild salmon off. Alexandra Morton is a whale researcher who lives on the water at the Broughton Archipelago, and sees first hand what is happening. This an extract from a letter she has recently sent to Herb Dhaliwal.

Dear Minister of Fisheries,

You have no idea how uninformed you sound in the letter you sent to me, dated August 16, 2000. You are simply wrong on all three points. No one who witnessed the Atlantic salmon caught with open sores last fall in Scott Cove Creek agreed with the Provincial line that those sores could have been made by sticks. This suggestion by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food was so preposterous I sent samples off for independent analysis. The results came back with two types of Serratia bacteria resistant to 11 out of 18 antibiotics used in human medicine. When I put this out on the Internet I got the response that exactly this bacteria has been found in farmed Atlantic salmon in Scotland - associated with leaking septic tanks on those farms - and manifests large open sores of the type found on the Atlantics in Scott Cove. As far as I am concerned you are trying, unsuccessfully, to perpetuate a smoke and mirrors story concocted by MAFF, which no one on the grounds believes.

I am very familiar with the "non-lethal methods to deter marine mammals from netpen areas". In complete violation of the Fisheries Act, your department has allowed acoustic harassment devices into one of the richest and most enjoyed marine mammal areas of the world. The fisheries act clearly prohibits displacement of cetaceans, even posting a $500,000 fine for each such act. Research by Peter Olesiuk of the DFO Pacific Biological Station reports a "precipitous" decline of harbour porpoise when exposed to acoustic harassment and my own research confirms this in killer whales and dolphins as well. Despite this, your department prefers to violate the Fishery Act in favour of salmon farming than protect marine mammals.

The term "Honorable" before your name rings hollow, Mr Dhaliwal, in light of your feverish promotion of Atlantic salmon - the only salmon which can survive the sale of British Columbiaís watershed resources and oil rights. It has not been lost on coastal residents that the largest salmon farmer here, Stolt, is an enormous oil tanker corporation and that this type of large corporation makes a good political ally.

I will be posting my findings on survivorship and distribution of escaped Atlantic salmon as they invade this coast when the flood of reports slows down. Over ten thousand have been caught in my area in the past three weeks. In ten days after escaping from Sargeaunt Pass fish farm the Atlantic salmon were found to contain wild food, including a salmon smolt. Atlantic salmon are entering B.C. rivers as I write and mature, free-swimming Atlantic salmon have been recently found feeding near salmon pens. If you question my numbers you can take that up with the skippers of each and every reporting vessel - the people who you work for.

Letters such as the one you sent makes the Minister of Fisheries appear ignorant and erodes confidence in you and your department. As the truths about the impact of farming Atlantic salmon on the migration routes of wild Pacific salmon float to the surface, you will find yourself in an increasingly untenable and dishonorable position. Atlantic salmon will bring the virus Infectious Salmon Anemia to this coast, and will cause cataclysmic ecosystem collapse. In addition, the concept that large corporate factory fish farms benefit the small coastal communities is a myth which is wearing thin. You are threatening life on the Pacific Coast. I hope you will find a way to re-examine your blind support of salmon farming.

Sincerely, Alexandra Morton.


Patricia Lane

* Lawyer/Mediator

Preferred area of practice:

Alternate dispute resolution

plane@patricialane.bc.ca 250-598-3992

Finding common ground for 20+ years

*denotes law corp


THE GREEN PARTY IS ON A ROLL

With 1,900 members (the highest ever), with National Green Party leader Joan Russow taking on Stockwell Day in the Okanagan-Coquihalla by-election on Sept 11th (www.voterussow.org), and with the leadership convention coming up in Vancouver on Sept 23rd, the Green Party is on a roll. The three provincial leadership contenders Ė Andy Shadrack, Adriane Carr and Wally Du Temple - are carpooling around the province to the leadership rallies, discussing strategy as they go, building a commitment to work together whoever wins. Soon afterwards, a new draft policy manual will be published. I (Guy) joined the party last year, sensing that there was a positive change in the air, and Iím excited by the people who are getting involved. The Green Party website (www.greenparty.bc.ca) is still the dullest thing going, but thatís due to change soon. We urgently need a party that will champion the vision of a sustainable BC where all the forests are eco-certified and all the farms are organic, where strong greenbelts protect the agricultural lands, where energy is generated renewably instead of by gas and oil, where offshore gas and oil exploration remains under a moratorium, where endangered species are given proper habitat protection, where communities are empowered to run their own welfare systems and regenerate their own local economies, where fish farming is banned from the oceans, where cycling, transit and walkable communities are given priority over cars and sprawl, where work is shared, where urban and rural ecovillages thrive and developers have to build a percentage of affordable housing, where young people feel hopeful for the future instead of being scared, and where we are part of the global movement to create a sustainable future for planet, instead of being part of the problem. The NDP is failing us on almost all of this vision; the Liberals seem not even to understand it. Globally, Green Parties are sharing power in Germany, France and Mexico. BC is a strange place, where old parties can vanish overnight, and new ones appear from nowhere. With sincere respect to those who are still trying to turn the NDP around, and who have often put in years of heartfelt commitment, I invite you to join the Green Party of BC. To learn more, call 1-888-473-3686. In Victoria, call Jack Etkin 721-1682, or Al Craighead 381-1284.


MINNEAPOLIS SHOWS THE WAY

This summer, two research projects confirmed that when Monarch butterfly caterpillars feed on milkweed contaminated by the pollen from genetically modified Bt corn, they die. The GE food corporations and the governments that support them said "donít worry" - theyíd done research which showed GE food was safe. Well, they were wrong. In an Iowa State University study, Monarch caterpillars were fed milkweed leaves from Bt cornfields. After two days, 20% died. After five days, 70% died. Now Minneapolis City Council has jumped into the fray, voting by 11-1 that Minneapolis should give preference to organic food vendors for all of its contracts, urging Minneapolis schools to offer certified organic school lunches, and calling on the state and national government to require labeling and safety testing for all GE food, and to have liability assigned to the commercial developers of GE foods. See www.mtn.org/iasa. If you are interested to take a similar motion to your council in the Victoria region, call Harald Wolf, 479-9489.


PLEASE, DONíT GIVE YOURSELF PARKINSINSONíS DISEASE

A recent study of people diagnosed with Parkinsonís disease has shown that those who had been exposed to home pesticides were 70% more likely to develop the disease than those who had not, and those who had been exposed to garden pesticides were 50% more likely to develop it. For herbicides, the risk increased with the days of exposure. Fungicides did not show a similar pattern. The study was done by Lorene Nelson, a neuroepidemiologist at Stanford Universityís School of Medicine. If youíd like a home visit to show you (or your parents) how to manage without these chemicals, call City Green at (250) 381-9995; their staff are trained and waiting to come out and help. Is it really worth it Ė an old age suffering Parkinsonís disease, for the satisfaction of spraying a few bugs?

Monsanto must have shares in the companies that make drugs for Parkinsonís disease, because they have just announced that they are developing a herbicide tolerant strain of genetically altered lawn seed that can withstand intensive spraying with Monsanto's weedkiller Roundup. Now all they need is a suburb called Parkinsonís Meadows, where they can try it out.


CUT THE PERFUME PLEASE

If you are asthmatic, you probably know this already. A new study by the Tulane University Medical Center has demonstrated that some perfumes cause a decline in lung function among adult asthmatics. Of 77 adult asthmatics who completed a questionnaire, 77% said they were allergic to fragrances, especially Red, White Diamonds, Giorgio, Charlie, Opium and Poison. When asthma strikes, the bronchial tubes swell up and go into spasm, blocking the passage of air in and out of the lungs. Ladies Ė these are not gentle herbs that you are spritzing on your bodies: they are noxious chemicals. You may not know it, but there are some among us who hold our noses when we smell you passing by. And no, thatís not a sign of sexual attraction.


MEXICO VERDE?

Mexicoís President elect, Vincente Fox, has pledged to end Mexico's problems with air and water pollution. Fox is advocating a substantial increase in funding and police powers for the agency that enforces pollution laws, a sharp reduction in the logging of old-growth forests, an increase in commercial reforestation, the inclusion of pollution as a negative cost when calculating economic growth, and tax breaks for industry to install environmental controls. His minority partner in power is the Green Ecologist Party, that joined with Fox's National Action Party to form the Alliance for Change that swept him to victory.


ACTION OF THE MONTH

AN ENVIRONMENTAL AUDITOR

David Boyd writes: During his successful bid to become leader of the New Democratic Party, Ujjal Dosanjh made a public commitment to create an Environmental Auditor to evaluate and assess the governmentís performance on sustainability, in the same way that the Auditor General assesses the provinceís finances. Such an office would produce objective, independent reports on the governmentís environmental track record, and create an office that could push government along the path to sustainability, or act as a brake on future governmentsí efforts to turn back the clock. For example, the State of Environment reports show a 15% increase in greenhouse gas emissions. The Environmental Auditor would examine steps taken by government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, explain why they have failed, and indicate how they could be improved.

Action: Write to the Premier, and urge him to act on this very sensible proposal. Legislative Assembly, Victoria V8V 1Z4.


Check out the Victoria Green Pages !

www.greenpages.victoria.bc.ca


Deadline for October 2000: August 24th


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

 


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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:

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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)

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

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