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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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Contact Econews

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. 120 - Serving the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island - Oct 2002


WALKING IN THE CITY

Copenhagen is leading the way. Bogota, Columbiaís capital, is following. Austin, Texas, and Portland, Oregon, are right in there. All across Europe, cities are working to make themselves more pedestrian friendly.

Walking: itís a seven million year old tradition. Can you imagine the romance of Paris without walking? The wonders of Prague? The history of Florence?

Oh, itís easy to imagine London without walking, or any city where the car still rules, making walking a noisy, often dangerous activity. You donít pause to look up at the skyline or the rooflines in such cities; you keep your eye firmly on the traffic, to ensure your safety.

But once a space is made for walking, how quickly the joy returns. To stroll; to linger over shop windows; to savour the aroma of the bakers, the coffee shop. To feel. No-one writes poems about traffic.

We have been designed by Nature to walk. When we walk, we can stop and say hello; we can talk to strangers. Itís an old, old, old tradition Ė we donít forget seven million years in a hurry, however much the traffic engineers want us to.

In Europe, wherever a city has reclaimed its pedestrian spaces, its population has grown. People want to live in pedestrian friendly cities. Itís instinctive. Itís ancient. Itís fun.

So with the municipal elections coming up, and new people standing to become mayors and councillors, it is a good time to be asking : "What will you do to make your community more pedestrian-friendly?" Not just in Victoria, but also in Saanich, Oak Bay, Esquimalt, Colwood, Langford, the Highlands, Sooke.

Copenhagen has embraced a Ten-Step Program to become more pedestrian-friendly (thanks to Jan Gehl, Danish architect, for this list):

1. Convert streets into pedestrian thoroughfares. Copenhagen turned its traditional main street into a pedestrian thoroughfare in 1962. Since then, it has gradually added more pedestrian-only streets, linked to pedestrian-priority streets where walkers and cyclists have the right-of-way but cars are allowed at low speeds.

2. Reduce traffic and parking gradually. To keep traffic volume stable, the city reduced the number of cars in the city centre by eliminating parking spaces at a rate of 2-3% per year. Between 1986 and 1996 they eliminated about 600 spaces.

3. Turn parking lots into public squares. The act of creating pedestrian streets freed up parking lots, enabling the city to transform them into public squares.

4. Keep scale dense and low. Low-slung, densely spaced buildings allow breezes to pass over them, making the city centre milder and less windy than the rest of Copenhagen.

5. Honor the human scale. The city's modest scale and street grid make walking a pleasant experience; its historic buildings, with their stoops, awnings, and doorways, provide people with impromptu places to stand and sit.

6. Populate the core. More than 6,800 residents now live in the city centre. They've eliminated their dependence on cars, and at night their lighted windows give visiting pedestrians a feeling of safety.

7. Encourage student living. Students who commute to school on bicycles don't add to traffic congestion; on the contrary, their active presence, day and night, animates the city.

8. Adapt the cityscape to changing seasons. Outdoor cafés, public squares, and street performers attract thousands in the summer; skating rinks, heated benches, and gaslit heaters on street corners make winters in the city centre enjoyable.

9. Promote cycling as a major mode of transportation. The city established new bike lanes and extended existing ones. They placed bike crossings (using space freed up by the elimination of parking) near intersections. Currently 34% of Copenhageners who work in the city bicycle to their jobs.

10. Make bicycles available. People can borrow city bikes for about $2.50; when finished, they leave them at any one of the 110 bike stands and their money is refunded.

To this, for Victoria, we must add:

11. Expand public transit, bringing it into the 21st century, and

12. Develop a Light Rapid Transit system, to ferry people in and out of the city centre.

By making our public spaces more pedestrian friendly, we will increase their safety; build a stronger sense of community; encourage more public art and performance; encourage more urban shopping; improve life for seniors and children; attract more bright young people who like to live this way; improve the air quality; and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

Thatís a pretty good list, for a city!

Guy Dauncey


FALL APPEAL

Dear Readers,

The leaves will soon be turning, as Nature begins to tuck herself in, and the EcoNews bank account would love to feel that same cosy feeling, since it’s very (very) empty. Could you help fill it up?

EcoNews has been financed by donations from its readers ever since it started in 1991, 120 issues ago. It costs $1,100 a month to produce, and for this, we reach over 6,000 people, including every B.C. MLA and local politician. In an average month, donations bring in around $550, so twice a year we need to reach out and ask for your help.

If you enjoy reading EcoNews and value the information that it provides, would you consider making a donation? (Cheques payable to EcoNews).

EcoNews, 395 Conway Road, Victoria, B.C. V9E 2B9

EcoNews is not charity tax-deductible, but if you would like a receipt, please enclose a stamped self-addressed envelope.

If you have a friend who might like to receive EcoNews, include their name, and we'll send them a copy.


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 fulfillment.

July/Aug Sept Oct
Circulation: 2100 2100 2100
By Email: 1237 1265 1265
Print & Post: $840 $776 $800
Editorial: $250 $250 $250
Donations: $400 $440 You?
Advertising: $20 $100
Balance: $311 -$175

Many thanks to Nina Corley-Smith, Gillian Elcock, Valerie & Michael Torontow, Paul Gareau, Muriel Park, Kathleen Carson, Harvey Maser, David Findlay, Religious Society of Friends, James Whiteaker, Ruth Masters & Martin Golder.

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

EcoNews by email: fill out the form at the top of the page!


THE ECO-CORNER

$5/line (non-profits & low-income free) 1" box ad $35, $2" box ad $65

* Rafting Deep Inner Rivers: Inner work and coma communication, an inner communication series with Stan Tomandl and Ann Jacob. Sensory grounded communication for working with ourselves and people with advanced Alzheimerís/dementia, stroke, brain injury, and near death processes. The greatest fear of people in very remote states is not necessarily of death, but of being isolated and unable to communicate. 7 Tuesdays 7-9pm, Oct 29th - Dec 10th, Cost $210, Volunteers $145. For information, call Stan or Ann 250-383-5677.


PRO-REP PROGRESS

Things are moving! The Liberal government has appointed Gordon Gibson to recommend how a Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform should be set up to assess possible models for electing MLAs, including preferential ballots, proportional representation, and the current system. The Assembly will consist of citizens chosen at random, and there will be hearings throughout the province. If there is a call for change, the goal is to hold a referendum at the May 2005 election. Gordon Gibson led the BC Liberal party from 1975 - 79, and is a senior fellow in Canadian studies at the Fraser Institute. www.freeyourvote.com


GERMAN GREENS SUCCESS

In the recent German elections, using the mixed member proportional voting system, the Green Party won 8.6% of the vote, giving them 55 seats in the 598 seat Bundestag. Under "first past the post", they would only have won 1 seat. They will now continue to govern in coalition with Gerhard Schroederís Social Democrats. Companies with an environmental edge saw stocks rise with the Greens' success - the wind company Plambeck shot up by 15%. During their term in government, the Greens were responsible for bringing in a tax on fossil fuels; for phasing out nuclear energy by 2025; for a huge increase in German wind energy; for a reduction in CO2 emissions; for a planned expansion of organic farming; for the legalization of gay marriages; and for the refusal to go to war on Iraq. The recent dramatic flooding in Germany probably helped, since voters made the connection with climate change. Their unofficial election slogan: "Itís the environment, stupid".


IFOAM ZERO WASTE

During a late August weekend, 10,000 people attended the World Organic Exhibition at St Annís Academy (now managed organically), which IFOAM wanted to be a zero-waste event. Chris Wells, a local organic farmer, took on the challenge, and worked with a host of volunteers to pull it off. Styrofoam was banned, and there were no visible garbage cans. There were separate CRD recycling bins for paper and food wastes, hard plastics, and beverage containers, and lots of big clear signs. At the end of the event, these were the results: 41 kg of hard plastics taken to Syntal for recycling; 406 kg of food and paper waste taken by reFUSE Holdings for commercial composting in Cobble Hill (less than 1% contamination); 2000 beverage containers given to homeless street people to claim the deposits (50kg); 40 kg of cardboard collected by Alpine Recycling; and 33 kg of actual garbage. Out of a total of 570 kg waste, the recycling rate works out at 94%. Great work, you guys! Youíve set a model for all future public events & concerts. (Chris Wells quinoagreens@yahoo.ca )


The Ecoforestry Institute
is looking for a volunteer editor
to continue production of its quarterly journal,
"Ecoforestry." Retiring editor Don Vipond
would ease you into this rewarding work.
Call him to talk about it at 652-5491.


Patricia Lane *
Lawyer/Mediator
250-598-3992

Finding common ground for 20 years.
Mediated agreements are cheaper,
faster and much easier on relationships.
*denotes law corp.


EcoNews Correction: In last monthís story on Pender Environmentally Conscious Kids (PECK), I stated that Pender school had been sprayed against carpenter ants. In fact, because of the communityís concern, diatomaceous earth was successfully applied. My apologies. PECK - 250-629-6087


BIG TREE DERBY

The Western Canada Wilderness Committee has launched a Derby to locate Canadaís largest undiscovered trees in the endangered Upper Walbran Valley, next to the West Coast Trail north of Port Renfrew. Participants who find the largest specimens will win a cash prize: Doug Fir $400; Yellow Cedar $350; White Pine $300; Pacific Yew $250; Western Hemlock $200. In the protected Carmanah Valley next door, Canadaís tallest tree is 311 foot tall. Ken Wu, of WCWC, says heís confident theyíll find similar record-sized trees in the Upper Walbran, unless they are cut down first by Weyerhaeuser and TimberWest. The derby runs until Oct 31st. For details, call Lucy or Heidi at (250) 388-9292.


ECO-ACTIVIST TIPS

Elizabeth May (of the Sierra Club in Ottawa) was in town recently to honour Vicky Husband, who has been awarded the Order of Canada for her committed work over the past two centuries (oops Ė I mean decades). While here, Elizabeth ran an Activists Workshop, from which Caspar Davis gleaned the following wisdom:

A: No matter who you're dealing with, government, media, or whoever, the most important thing is PEOPLE; and not just the "important ones." Learn and remember the names of receptionists, gatekeepers, and others, and use them whenever appropriate.

B. Communications to politicians rank roughly as follows, in order of impact:

1. Opinions expressed at chance encounters in the street or elsewhere.

2. Follow-up second letters, after receiving an unresponsive answer.

3. Handwritten letters.

4. Phone calls to constituency office.

5. Typed letters.

6. Petitions, cards & sign-on letters.

7. Emails. (HmmĖbetter get that pen!)


SOLAR TOWERS

Thereís an interesting project being proposed for Nedís Corner, just west of Mildura (Victoria State), in Australiaís outback. It consists of an enormous tower, a kilometre high, surrounded by 30 square kilometres of glass. As the sun beats down on the glass, the super-heated air will rise up the tower and drive 32 turbines, producing 200 MW of power Ė enough for 200,000 homes. (The tallest World Trade Center tower was 417 metres). The tower follows a successful prototype that operated in Spain for several years. The energy will cost 4.5 cents/kwh US, just 20% more than coal-fired energy. If all goes well, they hope to start building in 2003. Who knows? Maybe weíll see similar towers being proposed for Canadaís prairies, surrounded by rings of wind turbines. We urgently need some adventurous solar dreaming to rescue us from the dull mental sludge of Canadaís coal and oil barons. For details see www.enviromission.com.au


COMPRESSED AIR CARS

William Ford Ė are you listening? Thereís a revolutionary new urban car heading our way from a French racing car test driver called Guy Negre, in the little town of Carros, France. The engine weights just 32 kg, but it can do 90 kph. It seats 5, and can accelerate from 0-90 in 7 seconds. Itís super-efficient, and since it uses no combustion, it produces no air pollution; just an oil change every two years. Its secret is isotherm dynamics - the car works by heating and expanding super-cooled compressed air. It can be refueled in 3 minutes at a garage air-pump. It will sell for $20,000 CAN, and production starts in France this fall. The company has signed for 50 factories in Europe, America and Asia. Instead of creating giant factories, they plan to build 100s of small facilities near the cities where they anticipate sales for taxis, delivery vans and pick-up trucks. For local air quality, itís zero-pollution. For global warming, since it needs electricity to generate the compressed air, it will produce around 1.2 tonnes of CO2 per year, assuming coal-fired electricity. (Regular cars produce 5 Ė 13 tonnes; a Honda Insight produces 3 tonnes.) For details, see www.globalstewards.org/aircar .htm and www.zeropollution.com . "If we start with taxis, then move to buses and vans, " Negre believes, "it will take very little time to improve the pollution problem in our cities."


Urban Cedar Works Ltd.
Hand split fencing & rails
We design & build garden structures

Creating Artifacts for the Home & Garden
Wayne 380-7022 Colin 477-9451

HYDROGEN FROM SUGAR

Hydrogen is the fuel of the future Ė most people agree on that (along with compressed air). Now scientists at the University of Wisconsin have discovered a way to obtain clean hydrogen from a glucose solution by heating the sugar to 392 F and passing it over a platinum-based catalyst. They hope to be able to get 3 units of hydrogen out for each one they use as fuel, but theyíve a way to go yet. Sugar comes from plants which have already absorbed CO2, so the process does not create any additional CO2.


BRAZILíS FREE TRADE

Brazil has just held an informal plebiscite on whether Brazil should sign the Free Trade Areas of the Americas treaty (FTAA). Over 10 million people voted, of whom 98.3% said "NO". Only 1.67% supported joining the FTAA. 96% voted against continued negotiations.


Share Organics

More than just an Organic Produce Box
Join us, nurturing local food production
* Supporting local organic farmers
* Farmers in Transition to organics
* Fair Trade Products

www.shareorganics.bc.ca

595-6729


CHILEíS FORESTS

Chileís temperate rainforests are under siege, just as BCís are. Similar climate, similar coastal situation, similar forest companies grabbing what they can. Up to 70% has been logged, and large plantations of non-native species (Monterey pine and eucalyptus) are being planted. Chileís forestry is not regulated by law, in spite of a bill that was introduced to Chileís parliament ten years ago; lobbying by the timber industry has kept Congress from approving the law. A 1995 report by Chileís Central Bank said that Chileís native forests would disappear by 2015 at the current rate of deforestation; the loss is proceeding even faster today. Now a coalition of five Chilean groups and notable citizens, including the author Isabel Allende (niece and goddaughter of Salvadore Allende, Chile's president until a coup took his life in 1973) are organizing a campaign to demand that all forest products from Chile be certified by the international Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), based in Mexico. The FSC has widespread credibility among ecologists, and provides a credible guarantee that a forest is well-managed. Part of the goal is to stop the replacement of native forest with artificial plantations. In September, a major ad campaign in the New York Times called on US purchasers to stop buying Chilean wood products unless they are certified. For details, see www.forestethics.org


ACTION OF THE MONTH
The Proposed Cull of Wolves and Cougars

Nitya Harris writes:

Biologists from the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection are recommending a cull of wolves and cougars on Vancouver Island, starting this winter, citing pressure on the Blacktailed deer population. If the cull goes ahead, 40 wolves will be killed in each of the next three years, and the cougar hunting season will be extended to over 9 months. Doug Janz, the Ministry biologist (and private hunter) who is recommending the cull, says he is concerned with deer recovery on the Island. The number of deer has fallen from 200,000 in 1980 to 55,000 in 2001. As the prey decreases, so do its predators: cougars have fallen from around 750 in 1995 to around 350 in 2001; wolves from around 400 in 1986 to around 200 in 2001. (Rough estimates; the Ministry does not do an inventory). The pressure for the cull is being driven by the hunting lobby. Last year, hunters killed over 11,000 deer on the Island. In 2000, they killed 151 cougars, and an unknown number of wolves. A major factor behind the decline of the deer is the loss of old growth forest, which is critical winter habitat for the Blacktail deer. The common sense solution would be to restrict deer hunting and protect oldgrowth forest. Since the Ministry does not even have reliable data on wolves and cougars, the proposal to cull them is very short sighted.

Action: Write to Joyce Murray, and insist that alternative solutions to the wolf and cougar cull be pursued.

Joyce Murray, Minister of Water, Land & Air. joyce.murray.mla@leg.bc.ca
Fax: 250-387-1356. Leg Ass, PO Box 9047 Stn Prov Gov Victoria V8W 9E2

Thanks!


THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF WEB

Links and connections that have passed my way, which I thought I'd pass on:

MARMOTS AND CLEARCUTS Ingmar Lee writes:

25 years or more of scientific study of the Vancouver Island marmot has failed to correlate massive, ongoing industrial clearcut logging with the imminent extinction, in 2002 or 2003, of wild V.I. marmots. While TimberWest and Weyerhaeuser continue to exterminate the primeval forest surrounding the last marmot colony at the top of Green Mountain, they throw a few bucks at the captive breeding program, and nothing is done to protect the connectivity corridors that are essential for the survival of this animal. Without protection and restoration of connectivity, no amount of corporate money to the breeding program will solve this tragic problem. See http://victoria.indymedia.org/news/2002/08/7760.php

UVIC DRAFT CAMPUS PLAN

The UVic Draft Campus Plan may be approved as early as January 2003 Ė and there are many fundamental issues in this plan that need to be addressed. See www.demandsmartgrowth.org for a discussion of issues and alternatives. NOW is the time to act. Justine, 472-4637. Our campus, our community!

WOODY HARRELSONís thoughts on the planet, as youíve never seen him. Fascinating poem - needs Flash. www.voiceyourself.com/thoughts/thoughts.html

A SATIRICAL LOK AT GORDON CAMPBELLíS LIBERALS:

WHISTLER: ITíS OUR NATURE

Developed as part of Whistlerís sustainability initiative, the site features multimedia graphics explaining the The Natural Step framework, and links to toolkits developed for the community; for households, for schools, and for small businesses. If Whistler wins the Winter Olympics bid for 2010, will the whole Olympics be run on the basis of The Natural Step? www.whistleritsournature.ca

WILD CANADA

Wildcanada.net is launching new Action Centres to help Canadians and people from around the world protect Ontario's and BC's provincial parks, Manitoba's Boreal Forests, Canada's grizzly bears, BC's wild salmon population and Ontario's old growth forests. We're also relaunching our Endangered Species Action Centre to help shepherd the Species at Risk Act through Canada's Senate. Encourage your friends, family, colleagues, pets, and neighbours to go to www.wildcanada.net and click on Participate. It's free, fun and easy!

NANAIMO COMMUNITY NEWS

If you live in the Nanaimo area, make sure you check the Interactive Community News, at http://cip.nanaimo-online.net/0902. Full of global and local importance.

GREEN PURCHASING

Interested in developing a green purchasing policy for your business, school, or government department? Check out the Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center, at www.pprc.org

GARY GALLON

Gary has been a Canadian environmental hero for many years, often compared to David Suzuki or Paul Watson. Now you can learn more about his life and work: see www.hazmatmag.com/issues/ISarticle.asp?id=69526&story_id=HM130266&issue=06012002&PC=


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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Click here for previous issues of EcoNews.


EcoNews, Guy Dauncey
395 Conway Road, Victoria
V9E 2B9
Tel/Fax (250) 881-1304

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