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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. 125 - Serving the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island - Mar 2003


PROTECTING OUR INLAND SEA

Laurene Stefanyk knew the sound she heard was not a shotgun. But the blast of air rang out loudly enough to waken the Galiano Islander as she slept in her home overlooking Active Pass.

Although she couldn’t see their sleek dorsal fins cutting through the water, she was instantly aware of a group of killer whales swimming through the narrow passage linking the Strait of Georgia to Swanson Channel.

While Orcas have become the emblem of these biologically rich waters, their survival remains in question. Only 83 southern resident Orcas exist in the wild, down 20 percent since the mid 1990s.

Designated "endangered" by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, researchers predict their extirpation as early as the middle of the next century if nothing is done to halt the decline.

The Georgia Basin and Puget Sound trough, home to the Orcas, is an archipelago of islands and inlets bounded by the mountains of Vancouver Island and the mainland of BC and Washington. The huge volume of freshwater injected by the Fraser River as it empties into the Strait of Georgia, mixes with Pacific waters, to create a massive estuary with the relatively low salinity preferred by larval forms of many species.

It is an inland sea without equal in the Americas, remarkable for its varieties and concentrations of life: the world’s largest octopus, rockfish that live for more than 100 years, crab and clam, sea star and nudibranch, cod and halibut, porpoise and sea lion, oyster and anemone, seabirds and salmon.

Shallow narrows force nutrient rich water into upwelling currents, feeding a diversity of life, from urchin, prawn and shrimp to herring, smelt, and on up the food chain to the Orca.

There is also a human dimension to the region. More than six million people live around Puget Sound-Georgia Strait, and that number is expected to reach ten million by 2010. Millions of ferry passengers transit these passages every year, and the beauty attracts many thousands of recreational boaters. Legions of sports fishermen use the area, while wildlife watchers compete for glimpses of cormorant, eagle, dolphin and whale.

Urban development, habitat loss, sewage discharge, air and water pollution from industry, homes, cars and boats, and the ever-present risk of oil spills present serious risks to the area’s natural values.

Parks Canada has declared this to be "the most at risk natural ecosystem in Canada." To address this, the agency has established a new national park, the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, comprising 2600 hectares of land spread over 14 islands and an even greater amount of submerged lands.

But citizens on both sides of the border have an even larger, more comprehensive plan in the works. An unprecedented international coalition of some sixty organizations, has been working together for four years to advance an initiative they call the Orca Pass International Stewardship Area.

The cross-border effort envisions a network of marine protected areas (MPAs) to protect species that are threatened by over fishing and human disturbance, along with a commitment to stewardship throughout the area by all levels of government, business, industry, citizen and recreational groups and individuals.

The Orca Pass plan incorporates best practices, best science and best technology as a path to environmental protection and economic sustainability. Supported by local knowledge, the initiative is applying geographic information system tools and leading-edge marine reserve design to identify an effective conservation strategy.

MPAs hold the promise of recovery for habitat and long-lived species of fish that are currently threatened and endangered, such as rockfish and lingcod. At the few existing reserves on the US side of Orca Pass, dramatic increases in fish abundance and size have been seen both inside and outside the reserves. MPAs are a tool that works!

MPAs can be created under a variety of regulatory acts. The National Marine Conservation Area Act and Species at Risk Act, both passed in 2002 will further enable conservation efforts of this kind to proceed. The federal government has signaled its intention to establish the Southern Strait of Georgia Marine Conservation Area within five years. This will help achieve many of the goals of the Orca Pass project on the Canadian side.

The role of citizens is crucial. Boaters, fishermen, whale watchers, kayakers, scuba divers, ferry operators: We must all practice good stewardship. All of us need to be conscious that our land-based lifestyles have an impact. The toxins we use on our lawns and gardens, spew from our cars, and flush down our toilets, all end up in the sea.

Orca Pass proponents, like Laurene Stefanyk, are vibrantly optimistic. “It is a bold vision of what our place is to be for the future of this magnificent place.”

Peter Ronald,
Georgia Strait Alliance
www.georgiastrait.org


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.

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Many thanks to Peter Ronald, Philip & Jose Lake, Louise Taylor, Hermann Hicks, Kathryn Harcourt, Jocelyn Abrams, Kim Feltham, Joanne Roach, Coro Strandberg, Kathleen Kyle, Emile Lacroix, Ray Grigg & Joyce Baker, Marcel Sarrasin, Colin Graham, Kay Look, Jan Zwicky, & Elisabeth Bosher. Also to our noble bike and foot distributors: Heather McAndrew (South Oak Bay); Neil Topham (Fairfield); Hugo Sutmoller (N .James Bay), Bill Wilson (S..James Bay), and John & Susan Smith (Duncan), and to the noble labelling crew, Ian Barclay and Laura Anderson.

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

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* EarthLight Magazine readers – eco-spirituality (www.earthlight.org). Do you want to form a study circle? Kay 656-8135

* Old glasses you don't need any more? Operation Vision in Peru seeks donations of gently used frames to fit as many as 500 people per weekend. Call Constance Exley 250-385-1965.

* All natural house cleaning Natural products, aromatherapy energetic clearing. $10-15/hr Crystee 592-4518

* Urgent call for volunteers for the UVic Cunningham Woods Tree Sit, willing to sleep for a night in the trees. Please contact 382-2606 bisitt@uvic.ca

* Do you bank with VanCity Savings? They’re holding their elections March 7th – 15th, and three very progressive people are running for the board - Elain Duvall, Cheeying Ho and Shauna Sylvester - see www.voteaction.ca If you’ve not received your mail-in ballot, call VanCity at 604-877-7664.


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PROJECT PARADISE

If we assume that one of our many purposes for being here on planet Earth is to become engaged with "Project Paradise", i.e. to turn the state of human affairs from sad to magical, from careless to eco-sustainable, one of our rational responses might be to list what is needed to turn any particular corner of Earth into paradise, and strategize how we are going to get there. The exercise is interesting, for there is a LOT happening here in Victoria, but it also reveals some areas in the environmental field where almost nothing is happening as an organized community initiative:

  • The greening of babyhood, daycare centres, and schools
  • A reduction in the chemical toxins that cause cancer and learning disorders
  • Sustainable urban development, and green subdivisions
  • Green architecture and building
  • Socially responsible business
  • Socially responsible investment
  • Implementation of the Kyoto Treaty’s call for every household to reduce its greenhouse gases by 20% by 2012
  • A Kyoto initiative to persuade each municipality to sign onto the FCM's Partners for Climate Protection campaign, joining Victoria and Saanich
  • Adult environmental education in our colleges
  • Clean air, free of toxins
  • Public transit advocacy
  • Earth-friendly funerals.

If we approached this rationally, we might have a central visionary body that looked out for the big picture and took the responsibility for starting new initiatives, to ensure that we were on track to realize Project Paradise’s goals. We might provide regular "How Can I Contribute?" workshops, to help people find their role and purpose in the larger picture, marrying their skills, enthusiasms, and desire to be of service, providing a regular flow of new energy into our various undertakings. I can visualize this happening, which tells me it is possible. If we all look around, with the thought that somewhere out there, there’s the perfect person to take this on, maybe we can manifest it.


THE GREENING OF BRITAIN

Some snippets of good news from the UK:

(1) Tony Blair has committed Britain to a 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, making the UK the first country to come near to a rational response to the perils of global climate change.

(2) Britain is planning to promote the drive towards sustainable production and consumption by attaching ethical, social and environmental criteria to the government’s £13 billion annual purchasing budget.

(3) Britain is considering using DNA "barcoding" to force biotech companies to identify genetically modified organisms, to make it easier for regulators to spot contaminated food or crops. The technique involves adding a harmless DNA sequence to GM organisms that can be spotted in a simple test.

(4) London has begun using electronic road-pricing to reduce congestion, with an £5 charge ($12 CAN) each time you cross the city line. The income is being used to expand public transport services.


FUEL EFFICIENT VEHICLES

Thinking of buying a new car? Don’t worry – it happens to many of us. But before you do, be sure to ask about its Energuide fuel efficiency rating. Here are Canada’s 2003 Energuide winners (first figure is mpg in city, 2nd on highway):

2 –seater: Honda Insight 72 – 88

(3.9 & 3.2 litres per 100 km)

Subcompacts: VW New Beetle 50 – 64

Mini Cooper 34 – 48 mpg

Toyota Celica 34 – 47 mpg

Compact: Toyota Prius 63 – 60 mpg

Mid-size: Pontiac Vibe 37 – 47 mpg

Toyota Corolla 37 – 47 mpg

Full-size: Chevrolet Impala 26 – 42

Station Wagon: VW Jetta 50 – 66 mpg

Ford Focus Wagon 33 – 47 mpg

Pick-up: Ford Ranger 29 – 37 mpg

Mazda B2300 29 – 37 mpg

Van: Chevrolet Venture, Oldsmobile Silhouette & Pontiac Montana 23 – 35

Dodge Caravan 24 – 34 mpg

SUV: Ford Escape 27 – 36 mpg

Mazda Tribute – 27 – 36 mpg

Bicycle: All makes – No gas required.

0 litres per 100km. Peanut butter recommended instead.

See http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/vehicles

If you want tips, ideas or advice on ways to live a fuel-efficient life, including your home, your travel, and more, then come to the Eco Home and Transportation Show on Sat March 15th, in Victoria, 12-4pm. Make it a double – Peace March and EcoShow, same day!

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the things you did do. So throw off your bow lines. Sail away from the harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain


THAT LOVELY FRAGRANCE

(Cough, pain, sperms recoil)

Ahem! Calling all you beautiful people who like to wear conventional perfumes and aftershave. This is a plea from the thousands of people who are chemically sensitive, who suffer allergic reactions when they pass you in the street, or if they share a room (or a home) with you. Their reactions include dizziness, headaches, nausea, generalized pain, and breathing difficulties. One spray of perfume may contain as many as 600 individual chemical ingredients. The fragrance industry uses 5,000 chemicals, 800 of which have been identified as being toxic, capable of causing cancer and birth defects. It is also a plea from your future children. Your future children? Yes. There is evidence that the sons of women who absorbed phthalates during their pregnancy have a greater risk of getting testicular cancer. Almost all cosmetics contain phthalates, chemicals that are widely used as plasticizers. A recent study from Harvard University found evidence that men who had to a normal level of exposure to diethyl phthalates through the use of cosmetics and plastics showed increased damage to the DNA in their sperm. And calling all teenagers! Perhaps the most worrying trend is that more and more children and teens are using deodorants, hair gels, hair sprays on a regular basis (often every day), as well as nail varnish, perfume and glitter occasionally. Puberty is a time of heightened vulnerability, and the phthalates that these products contain are known to damage your reproductive system. They are "gender benders", which can effect the reproductive ability of the children you may have later in your life. The deodorant you use today may prevent you from having grandchildren in 40 years time. The imperative need is for these chemicals to be banned and phased out entirely. In the meantime, do yourself and everyone else a favour – don’t use them. There are lots of totally natural alternatives available. Call me a grinchy green, but its your health that you’re risking. For more on this, see www.nottoopretty.org


Activists - never be sick again. Stay healthy and working for Mother Earth
Health Retreat
with Fasting, Raw Foods,
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April 21st – 30th (5 day min)
Led by RAY KENT
Master Iridologist

Qualicum Bay Resort, Vanc. Island

$55 per day + Room/camping ($10-50 per day) 50% deposit by April 7th

Susan Holvenstot, 250-334-2375 cvec17@hotmail.com


"TO CONTEMPLATE WAR"

Speech by US Senator Robert Byrd

Senate Floor, Feb 12th, 2003

"To contemplate war is to think about the most horrible of human experiences. On this February day, as this nation stands at the brink of battle, every American on some level must be contemplating the horrors of war. Yet, this Chamber is, for the most part, silent -- ominously, dreadfully silent. There is no debate, no discussion, no attempt to lay out for the nation the pros and cons of this particular war. There is nothing. We stand passively mute, paralyzed by our own uncertainty, seemingly stunned by the sheer turmoil of events.

This coming battle, if it materializes, represents a turning point in U.S. foreign policy and possibly a turning point in the recent history of the world. This nation is about to embark upon the first test of a revolutionary doctrine applied in an extraordinary way at an unfortunate time.

The doctrine of preemption -- the idea that the United States or any other nation can legitimately attack a nation that is not imminently threatening but may be threatening in the future -- is a radical new twist on the traditional idea of self defense. It appears to be in contravention of international law and the UN Charter.

And it is being tested at a time of world-wide terrorism, making many countries around the globe wonder if they will soon be on our -- or some other nation's -- hit list. [Big cut]

One can understand the anger and shock of any President after the savage attacks of September 11. But to turn one's frustration and anger into the kind of extremely destabilizing and dangerous foreign policy debacle that the world is currently witnessing is inexcusable.

On what is possibly the eve of horrific infliction of death and destruction on the population of the nation of Iraq -- a population, I might add, of which over 50% is under age 15 -- this chamber is silent. We are truly "sleepwalking through history." In my heart of hearts I pray that this great nation and its good and trusting citizens are not in for a rudest of awakenings. To engage in war is always to pick a wild card. And war must always be a last resort, not a first choice.

I truly must question the judgment of any President who can say that a massive unprovoked military attack on a nation which is over 50% children is "in the highest moral traditions of our country".

This war is not necessary at this time. Pressure appears to be having a good result in Iraq. Our mistake was to put ourselves in a corner so quickly. Our challenge is to now find a graceful way out of a box of our own making. Perhaps there is still a way, if we allow more time."

SHALOM – SALAAM PACE – PAX – PEACE


"I have, despite all disillusionment, never, never allowed myself to feel like giving up. This is my message today: It is not worthy of a human being to give up."

- Alva Myrdal, on winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992.


101 WAYS

TO STOP THE WAR ON IRAQ

Given the urgency of the situation in Iraq, I have written an action guide called "101 Ways to Stop the War on Iraq", which is at www.earthfuture.com. It contains all of the email and letter-writing addresses, peace movement contacts, and everything that anyone could need to stop the US attempt to force the world into a war that no-one wants. Please send this out to all your friends, far and wide. The whole world has to stand up, now. We are millions. It's gone beyond a struggle for oil, weapons of mass destruction, or supposed terrorist links. It's now about just one thing: shall we determine the fate of our world by dominance, or by cooperation? This is the evolutionary choice that our planet faces in the next few days. Do we continue to live by dominance and oppression, or do we chart a path of cooperation that can lead us towards a peaceful, just, sustainable, ecologically prosperous future? If every one of us stands up, in one way or another, we can tip the balance. All around the world, people are writing, leafletting, marching, praying, phoning, emailing, striking, taking off their clothes (www.barewitness.org), and generally finding 101 ways to say NO to this war. The mood in the USA is quite scary. Here in Victoria, there’s a student Walk-out for Peace on March 5th, and another Peace March on March 15th (www.vcaswi.org). Nothing is inevitable. Nothing says that this war is written in the sands of history. If you have never written a protest letter before, write five today.


ACTION OF THE MONTH

THE WAR ON IRAQ

Please write to:

(1) Jean Chretien Prime Minister of Canada, Langevin Block, 80 Wellington St., Ottawa ON K1A 0A2

(2) Saddam Hussein, Iraqi Mission to the UN, 14 East 79th Street, New York, N.Y. 10021

(3) George and Laura Bush, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500

(4) Rt. Hon Tony Blair, Prime Minister, 10, Downing St, London SW1A 2AA, UK

(5) Colin Powell, Sec of State, 2201 C St NW, Washington, DC 20520


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EcoNews, Guy Dauncey
395 Conway Road, Victoria
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Author of "Stormy Weather: 101 Solutions to Global Climate Change"
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