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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. 116 - Serving the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island - May 2002


HEALING THE WORLD'S FORESTS

As planetary citizens, we are making a terrible mess of our forests. We have cut, burned, or cleared our way through four-fifths of the Earth's original forests, and we're still at it.

8,000 years ago, the world had around 43 billion acres of forests. In 2000, a UN forest assessment showed that we were down to 9.5 billion acres. The World Resources Institute estimates that we are losing natural forest in the tropics at the rate of 40 million acres a year. That's 110,000 acres per day, or 76 acres a minute. If an acre has 200 trees, the loss is an astonishing 22 million trees a day, every day of the year.

Europe, India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka have already lost their rainforests; the Ivory Coast's forests are nearly gone; in Central Africa, logging concessions cover over half the world's second largest tropical rainforest, and most lack any management plan. The Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia have lost almost half their forests in the past 25 years. In Indonesia, 70% of the timber is being logged illegally. Most of this destruction is taking place in the Earth's rainforests, home to two-thirds of the world's plant and animal species, and thousands of indigenous tribes who have lived among them for tens of thousands of years.

Canada contains 1/10th of the world's global forest cover (1/3rd of the boreal, 1/5th of the temperate), but less than 8% of Canada's forests are fully protected, and 80-90% of the logging is in ancient oldgrowth forests or by clearcutting. In April, Canada won the "Stump of the Day" at the Biological Diversity conference in The Hague for "absolute abdication of responsibility as a forested nation to prioritize protection of primary forests."

Forests are a store for billions of tonnes of carbon. As a result of our activities, we release eight billion tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere each year. 17% comes from deforestation, so if we stop this, we solve a key part of the problem. By 2050, if temperatures continue to rise, the Amazon forest could begin to die as rainfall patterns change and its soil dries out. Canada is looking at a 50% increase in forest fire losses over the coming 50 years.

So what is to be done? Many environmentalists think that trying to negotiate a global forest treaty would take forever, and that the final result would be very weak. There are other ways, however, that show promise.

The World Resources Institute has established Global Forest Watch (www.globalforestwatch.org) to provide the world with up-to-date digital information. By 2005, it will span 21 countries and cover 80% of the world's remaining frontier forests, allowing NGOs to see what is happening in the forests, and helping them shine a spotlight on abuses, develop campaigns, and negotiate forest-saving initiatives.

Then there's 'debt for nature' swaps: the US Tropical Forest Conservation Act allows developing countries to reduce their debts in exchange for setting up a trust fund to pay for forest protection. In 2000, the US allocated a very modest $13 million to the fund, and Bangladesh received a write-off that frees up $8.5 million for forest protection over 18 years. Every northern nation should enact similar legislation.

The best long-term solution for forests that don't need permanent park protection is eco-certification by the Forest Stewardship Council (www.fscoax.org/principal.htm). The World Wildlife Fund is encouraging forest certification in Bolivia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Britain has certified 100% of its state forests. In Bolivia, 20% of the forests under concession have been certified. WWF's goal is 100 million hectares by 2005; so far, 27 million hectares have been certified in 56 countries. In Canada, 973,856 hectares have been eco-certified, out of a total productive forestland of 205 million hectares. We need federal and provincial legislation that would require phased-in eco-certification for all working forests, by a certain date.

There's a lot we can do ourselves by reducing our consumption of oldgrowth timber and paper products, and demanding eco-certified timber. The Friends of Clayoquot Sound, Greenpeace and the Sierra Club have used this tactic quite successfully, causing hundreds of companies in Europe and North America to go ancient forest free. Now they are talking to Japanese wood importers. IKEA has stated that it will get all its wood from certified forests, and Home Depot has pledged not use timber from endangered forest areas starting in 2003. According to WWF, if the ten companies that dominate the world timber industry were to adopt eco-certification, the world's growing demand could be met by as little as 600 million hectares of forest - about twice the size of India, or a fifth of the world's forests. This revolution is just beginning - and only just in time. It's all good natural capitalism.

- Guy Dauncey


ECONEWS

AG00119_.gif (2913 bytes)A monthly newsletter, funded by your donations, that dreams of a Vancouver Island and a world blessed by the harmony of nature, the pleasures of community & the joys of deep fulfillment.

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Many thanks to: Louise Irwin, Anke van Leeuwen, Dianne Lade, Rosie Kaplan (in New Zealand), Robbie Anderson, Brian Burchill, Donna Webb, Robert Newton, Margaret Hutchinson, Katey Bloomfield, Tim & Dianna O’Brien, Terry Esch, Nadine Cruikshanks, Michael Clague, Kate Stevens, Hal Knight, Mel McDonald, Victoria World Federalists, Hannelore Ioannides, Viginia Neale, Joyce Hale, Muriel Kenyon, Joan Hurwood, Krista Kaptein, Lynn Husted, Chris Bullock, Janice Stewart, Monica Ashwell, Bert & Liz Elliott, Monika Hall-Kowalewski, Peter Schofield, Janice Turner, Anne Wilson, Ken Wardroper, Fred Knelman, Roger Edwards, Susan Gage, Stefan Ochman, Jan Meadows, Bob McKechnie, Philippa White, Keith Lundmark, Rob & Hilda Matsuo, Cheryl Lumley, Dorothy Eastwood, Marlene Rice, Marilyn Thaden Dexter, Ruth Masters, Barbara Scott, Erik & Miriam Thorn, Cheryl Taves & Keith Baker, Lind Miller, Silvan Foreman, Margaret Schubart, Lawrence Smith, Jocelyn Braithwaite, Sydney Langhelt, Margaret Fear, Donald Thiers, Noelle Wass, Alan Philip, FM Smythe, John Azar.

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


THE ECO-CORNER

* Eco-Pioneers - Partners with capital wanted to develop a clean air, ecological community somewhere on Vancouver Island. Call Jan, 250-746-7368

* Organic Gardening program for people on social assistance or low income. 2 days/week, mid-May – Sept, gardens in Colwood & Sooke. Call Jackie Robson or David Stott, 478-1122

* Life Celebration Productions: Highest quality photo/slide montages on video for anniversaries, family albums, memorials etc. Wedding reception video shows the couple's life from birth to engagement,$390. For brochure/demo video, call Sylvie at 250-743-8886, sspugies@hotmail.com .

* Summer sublet Furnished, colourful 2-BR, heart Fernwood. June 1-Aug 31. Shared organic garden, fruit trees, fireplace, skylight, deck, fenced yard, pet OK, NS. $750/mo incl. Andee Pelan (250) 389-0206 audiface@hotmail.com

* Roommate (female) to share cottage on organic farm in Saanich. ns. cat ok. $400+util. Possible work trade 652-1177

* The Nanaimo Area Land Trust is looking for new members in the Nanaimo area who care about the land. We protect with covenants, stewardship campaigns, purchase of properties, etc. Admin@nalt.bc.ca or 250-714-1990

* Congratulations to Vicky Husband, long time Sierra Club activist, awarded the Order of Canada. Thanks to her personal dedication, future generations will enjoy a greater wilderness legacy.

* Congratulations to Al Craighead, long-time Victoria resident, and ex-city councillor, now elected Deputy Leader of the BC Green Party.

* Environmentally ill Fairfield woman needs home support 1 afternoon/week. Mostly homework, errands, computer work possible. Mandatory: applicant can lift 30 lbs; leads low-chemical lifestyle; never uses fabric softener; never shares laundry facilities with other users; never uses items of unknown laundry history (2nd hand clothes). Desirable: car in good repair, chemically free. Please call only if all 5 mandatory qualifications are met. 250-920-0036


SOLAR PAINT

Chemists at the University of California, Berkeley, have found a way to make cheap plastic solar cells that are flexible enough to paint onto any surface. The cell is made from tiny nanorods dispersed in an organic polymer or plastic. A layer 200 nanometers thick is sandwiched between electrodes, and produces 0.7 volts. This is 1/10th the efficiency of regular solar cells, but it’s a beginning. Coming next – nano-solar painted walls?


ANCIENT HYDROGEN

From the "Science Fiction Becomes Fact" department: NASA scientists have found that the Earth's crust holds a vast natural reservoir of hydrogen trapped in ancient rocks, where bacteria with no access to sunlight have evolved to rely on hydrogen as their source of energy. The scientists think the hydrogen is produced when water molecules trapped inside molten rock break down. Studies of granite and olivine rocks have revealed extraordinarily high levels of trapped hydrogen, but it’s so deep down that unless there are large pools of hydrogen, as there are pools of gas, it will be prohibitively expensive to get at. How do you mine rock that is 15 miles underground? Hmm…


WHILE CANADA DITHERS,
CALIFORNIA ACTS

Canada’s government is having such a hard time ratifying the Kyoto Protocol; maybe they should take a leaf out of California’s book. California lawmakers are looking at limiting greenhouse gas emissions by requiring the state's Air Resources Board to adopt regulations that would achieve "the maximum feasible reduction" in emissions. The bill has passed the state Assembly and will be heard by the Senate's appropriations committee on April 29th. If it becomes law, the regulations would not take effect until at least 2006. Automakers called it a veiled effort to increase fuel efficiency and discriminate against SUVs. "I don't think a lot of soccer moms in Marin County would appreciate that," said Eron Shosteck, for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. Watch for a new auto- financed astroturf NGO: "Soccer Mums United for Global Sanity" (SMUGS).


GRADUATE PLEDGES

"I pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job I consider and will try to improve these aspects of any organizations for which I work." That’s the pledge that graduates at Manchester College, Indiana, will be taking this May, when about half the graduates will be wearing a green ribbon pinned to their gowns as a way to promote social and environmental awareness. The idea started at California’s Humboldt State Univ in 1987, and is being used by 65 US colleges; a further 200 have expressed an interest. So - which Canadian college will be first to adopt the pledge? Details - njwollman@manchester.edu www.manchester.edu/academic/programs/departments/peace_studies/files/gpa.htm


WATERLESS URINALS

Just think - very year, every men’s urinal in Victoria (and all around the world) flushes some 30,000 gallons of water down the drain. Every restaurant and workplace in the CRD, maybe 5,000 urinals? That’s 150 million gallons a year. Enter the waterless urinal, which uses a lighter-than-water fluid to trap the urine and let it flow down the drain with no odours. Furthermore, the waterless urinals are actually cheaper than the old ones. See www.waterless.com and www.falconwaterfree.com


PRO-REP PROGRESS

May 13th is kick-off day for the Proportional Representation initiative, designed to show that BC’s people want a more fair, democratic and representative way of voting. Between May 13th and August 12th, we need to gather 255,522 signatures (10% in each riding) - you can help is by collecting signatures. By the end of April, 1,949 people had registered as canvassers (myself included). If we have 4,000, we’ll need to gather an average of 60 signatures each. You can download the form at www.freeyourvote.bc.ca


SOUTHERN STOMP

To keep us focussed, and remind us who’s the boss around here, the Bush government has formed a Global Stomp Department. Here’s April’s STOMP Report to the White House:

Item #1: Following advice from Exxon, we campaigned successfully to get climate scientist Robert Watson removed as chair of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; the guy believes (with 99.9% of scientists, alas) that fossil fuel emissions cause climate change. Last year, our White House Council on Environmental Quality received a memo from our friends at Exxon Mobil asking, "Can Watson be replaced, at the request of the US?" They also recommended that we "restructure our attendance at upcoming IPCC meetings to assure none of the Clinton/Gore proponents are involved in decisional activities." In April 2002, we got Watson voted off. Chalk it up!

Item #2: Until late April, a Brazilian diplomat called José Bustani was director-general of the UN Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which enforces the chemical weapons convention, inspects labs, factories and arsenals and oversees weapons destruction. He’s been a popular leader, but he’s been trying to negotiate Iraqi disarmament, instead of going to war. So in March, we accused him of financial mismanagement, demoralization of his staff, bias, and ill-considered initiatives, and advised him to resign. He refused. Next, we proposed a vote of no confidence, but we lost. So then we threatened to withdraw our OPCW funding, threatening its collapse, and called a special session. Bingo! Under the heavy pressure, he was voted out by 48 nations, with 43 abstentions. The guy stormed out of the conference hall and said the vote lacked a legal basis – but hey – we won! Chalk it up.

Item #3: In Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez has been meeting with Castro, and working with OPEC to keep the price of oil up. We worked with business and church groups which dislike his approach, and achieved a big demonstration and a successful coup ..er.. "change of government". The media were great, supporting our line, and ignoring the fact that the guy’d been democratically elected. Things went a bit wrong after that, and now he’s back in power, so we’ll have to refine our tactics.

Item #4: In Florida, while 2,000 people were attending Al "global warming" Gore’s big return to politics, 7,000 were attending a huge rally by maverick social critic Mike Moore, author of the #1 best seller "Stupid White Men" (www.michaelmoore.com) Hey – how did this get in here? Urgent message to White House – can’t we get Michael Moore voted off something? Revoke his passport? Send him to Lithubania?


"THE OTHER NEWS"

So where do we get all this stuff? Not from the regular Canadian media, that’s for sure. So here’s the hot tips:

1. Caspar Davis (here in Victoria) runs a global quality "NS" list, which reaches many parts the regular media can’t reach. To join his list, send him a message at prana4@shaw.ca

2. For the other US news, we read "The Daily Grist" from Earthday, in Seattle, which provides five nicely packed stories, each with a humorous edge. For details, see www.earthday.net

3. For global environmental news, we read Planet Ark, about 15 headline stories daily, at www.planetark.org

4. There’s more daily environmental news at www.enn.com . These services are all free - so why miss out?


THE GARDEN PATH
ORGANIC PLANT NURSERY

Organic Plants at Great Prices

Heirloom tomatoes. Vegetables. Herbs.

Perennials. Roses. Bamboos. Shrubs.

Open Daily 10-5:30pm

395 Conway Road

(250) 881-1555

www.earthfuture.com/gardenpath


LEAVE NO ECO-FOOTPRINTS

Hmm – we all have a pretty heavy eco-footprint, up here in Canada. If you want to check out your own lifestyle, and see how many planets you’d need if we all lived this way, the folks at Seattle EarthDay have teamed up with the folks at "Redefining Progress" (who brought us the "Genuine Progress Indicators", to balance GDP) to produce a d-i-y footprint analysis. You’ll find it at…….

www.earthday.net/footprint.stm


Haggis Farm Bakery

Using freshly milled, organic flour, HAGGIS FARM BAKERY has been supporting local families for over 15 years on Saturna Island.

Available fresh, Monday and Thursday, in Victoria, from Seed of Life, Peninsula Co-op, Lifestyle Market and Island View Freezer.

250-539-2591


ECO-SNIPPETS

* In the wake of Enron’s moral melt-down, the UK oil company BP (which now stands for ‘Beyond Petroleum") has announced that it will cease giving any political contributions from corporate funds anywhere in the world.

* In the run-up to the Kananaskis G-8 Summit in June, the Canadian government cancelled all $83.6 million of the debts Tanzania owes Canada. In the big picture, Tanzania’s external debt grew from $6.3 billion in 2000 to $7.9 billion in 2001.

* Staples has started selling tree-free paper called "Vanguard Recycled Plus" (90% post-consumer recycled, 10% hemp/flax, acid-free & process chlorine-free) in over 1,000 stores. Let them know you approve! While you’re at it, ask them to stop selling regular paper cut from BC’s old-growth forests.

* If you’re thinking of holidaying in the Kananaskis area in late June, you’ll find all the details you’ll need at www.g8.activist.ca. More next month.

* If you are interested in Garry oak ecosystems preservation and restoration, you can join the Garry Oak Ecosystems Recovery Team listserve – send a message to majordomo@onenw.org


Celebrate the UVic Environmental Law Centre’s 5th Anniversary

  • Semi-Formal Gala Benefit
  • May 22nd, 5-9 pm
  • Historic Gibson House in Oak Bay
  • Fine wine, food and music

Your support will ensure we can continue to provide high quality, pro bono environmental legal services in our community.

Ticket info: sleland@uvic.ca


IF CICERO LIVED TODAY

"The welfare of the planet is the highest law"

"Salus mundi suprema est lex"           


NOTICE

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 V9E 2B9, Canada. Thanks !

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EcoNews, Guy Dauncey
395 Conway Road, Victoria V8X 3X1
Tel/Fax (250) 881-1304

Author of "Stormy Weather: 101 Solutions to Global Climate Change"
(New Society Publishers)
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