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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. 133 - Serving the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island - December 2003


THE TALE OF TANGIER ISLAND

There once was a community of around six hundred people who lived on Tangier Island in Chesapeake Bay, Virginia, in the land called America. They were an old people, descended from Cornish fisherfolks, who still carried their Elizabethan origins in their accent. Four fifths of the islanders thought of themselves as Christian, but all was not well among them.

Their island's economy depended on oysters and blue crab fisheries, but over the years, the oyster reefs had been so badly damaged by over-harvesting and disease that the people depended entirely on the crabs. In time, these too became overexploited, and their fate was made worse by pollution from the farmers and townspeople who lived along the bay.

Month by month, the watermen's incomes dropped, and their anxiety increased – but when local environmentalists argued that there should be stricter controls over the crab fishery, the watermen became very angry, and there was bitter conflict.

It so happened that there was a woman living among the people at that time, called Susan Drake Emmerich, from the Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies, in Wisconsin, which worked for the integration of knowledge of the Creation with biblical principles, and to bring the Christian community and the general public to a better understanding of the stewardship of God's Creation.

The woman Susan spent three years living among the islanders, and after much talking, she realized that deep down, most did in fact believe there was a scriptural requirement to steward the environment and its creatures, which included the crabs and oysters. For some reason, the belief had become lost, and the watermen had taken to treating the ocean as an object, which they could use or abuse as they wanted.

Slowly, the woman Susan started to work with the people, and together, they wrote a Stewardship Covenant, which would govern their relationship with the sea. Eventually, there came a day, a Sunday, when Susan was invited to speak at a joint service of both churches on the island. She spoke of biblical environmental stewardship, and of the importance of loving one's neighbour. She spoke of the fish, and the sea, and how they too were a part of God’s creation.

And it came to pass at the end of the service, that Susan invited the watermen to come up before their God, and to ask forgiveness for breaking the fishery laws, both those of the nation and those of God. There were fifty six who came forward, and there were many who shed tears as they asked for forgiveness, and committed themselves to the Stewardship Covenant.

The Covenant spoke of the need for caretaking, and the Godly stewarding of creation. It spoke of the importance of maintaining the fruitfulness of the crabs and oysters, and of practicing contentment, instead of greed. It spoke of the need for the ocean and all of creation also to have a Sabbath time of rest, and of the need to love one's neighbour, and not pollute the bay. It spoke of the need to obey the law of God, as well as the fishery laws.

From that time forward, these watermen began to bring back their garbage, rather than dumping it at sea, as had been their wont, and some spoke emotionally in church of feeling that they had sinned after throwing their metal cans overboard, or taking undersized crabs. Truly, the fisheries scientists, environmentalists, and government officials were amazed.

This is a true story, even though I’ve dressed it up in Biblical terms. For the source, see www.calvin.edu/scs/ 125conf/emmeric.htm. There is still opposition to the covenant among some of the watermen, but it gives us a glimpse of how things might be.

I am not a Christian – I am more of a transcendental cosmic pantheist - but the story shows what is lacking in our culture: the sense of place amid Nature; the sense that there is still right and wrong, beyond the supremacy of corporate shares and personal income; the sense that repentance is still a meaningful experience, as we acknowledge fault in an open, public way.

What will it take for an ethic of this kind to be restored? Right now, on the planet as a whole, we are behaving like a gang of children raiding a sweet store while the adults are away, laughing as they share the joke that the adults will never know who did it. Ancient forests, million-year old stocks of fish – we just grab it all, and laugh as we spend the money gained on new bathrooms, and expensive pieces of art.

When our elected legislators, the leaders of the business community, the law itself, and our whole TV and media culture say this is ok, and when our religious leaders are almost totally silent, how are we to judge when we are doing wrong, as a culture?

Many of Earth’s aboriginal people have a deep remembered knowledge of what is "wrong", when we sin against Nature, and God’s Creation; but our culture has gone wholly adrift. Even the scientists, who have written the story we believe in and who are in effect the high priests of our culture, are almost totally silent.

We need a new Christmas, to bring the birth of hope at the darkest time in our history. We need a new sense of the sacred, and a new sense of what is "holy". So let’s create it! We are the ones with the power to make the future – or break it.

Guy Dauncey


ECONEWS

AG00119_.gif (2913 bytes)A monthly newsletter, funded by your donations, that dreams of a world blessed by the harmony of nature, the pleasures of community, & the joys of personal fulfillment, protected and guided by active citizenship.

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


THE ECO-CORNER
$5/line (non-profits, low-income free)
1" box $40, $2" box $70. Insert $180

* The Ecoforestry Institute needs a volunteer web master for www.ecoforestry.ca , and for our Journal committee. We make a difference in how our forests are used. Call Peter Jungwirth 250-334-4559 newdimen@mars.ark.com

* Sweatlodge: Is there one locally that we can join? Call Scott 380-0428 scottd@victoria.tc.ca

* Garden designs with nature in mind by Stewardship Natural Landscape Design. Christina Nikolic, 382-4450 stewardshipnld@yahoo.ca

* Sherri Hohert, M.S.W., R.S.W. Counselling for individuals, couples, and families. Call 250-598-0544.

* Wanted: Small inexpensive Fairfield or Oak Bay bachelorette (long term) for quiet, considerate female with small footprint, excellent references. Elizabeth 383-4787 7-8pm larkspur477@yahoo.ca

* Vegan House! Need 1 more vegan to share Victoria 4bdrm house in Fairfield for Jan 1st. veganhouse@shaw.ca or 592-8937.


FREECYCLING!

Why didn’t someone think of this before? Looking to recycle that old chair, TV, fax machine, or door? Every town has people who'd like to see their old stuff go to good use rather than end up in the trash. A recycling group in Tucson called "Downtown Don't Waste It" has created the Tucson Freecycle Network, harnessing the power of email to connect people who want to give away unwanted possessions to people who can use them. Using a simple Yahoo! Groups email list, you post a note about something you’d like to give away, or seek. The only rule is that everything must be free. 1700 people have joined since they started in March, and Freecycling has now arrived on Vancouver Island, with 95 members so far. Everything is on the website, or you can receive a daily email. So tell your friends, dust off that unwanted Yak wool sweater, and join Canada’s first Freecycle group! Sign up at www.groups.yahoo.com/group/vifreecycle .


INGMAR’S GREEN HOPES

Vancouver Island’s loggers may be on strike, but Ingmar Lee is not. Ingmar, a life-long professional forestry worker, left Victoria in November for a hectic tour of Germany, Holland and Sweden, where he is showing his new film "Beyond the Cutting Edge: A Trip to the Primaeval Forests of East Creek", and hopefully getting the Europeans riled up against the destruction of our priceless wild heritage, which the forest corporations would rather sell for 2 x 4s than preserve for future generations to wonder at. And no, folks, Cathedral Grove does not cut it! Meanwhile, the Friends of Clayoquot Sound are in Japan with members of the Tlaoquiaht First Nation, asking Interfor’s corporate customers to cancel their contracts for timber from Clayoquot Sound’s ancient forests. Interfor’s permits to cut on Tlaoquiaht territory were approved by the provincial government despite being rejected by the Central Region Board, the co-management body that involves First Nations in land-use decisions. We wish you all great good fortune! Give them all a copy of Harry Potter! All 900,000 copies of the Raincoast Books Canadian edition of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix were printed on Ancient Forest Friendly paper that is 100% post consumer recycled, processed chlorine free (the same as the paper you’re holding). If you want to thank Raincoast, they’re info@raincoast.com


SOROS TO THE RESCUE

When Harry Potter leaves Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, maybe he’ll bring his skills to bear on the real world, and help us evict Voldemort and his corporate cousins from World Trade Organization and the White House. Until then, it’s George Soros to the rescue! Aged 74, Soros is an arch capitalist who has given almost $5 billion to promote democracy in the former Soviet Union. Soros has been waking up at 3am, his thoughts shaking him "like an alarm clock". "America, under Bush, is a danger to the world. When I hear Bush say ‘You’re either with us or against us’ it conjures up memories of Nazi slogans on the walls. He’s leading the US and the world toward a vicious circle of escalating violence." Soros is alarmed at the growing influence of the neo-conservatives - "a bunch of extremists guided by a crude form of social Darwinism." To back his words, he and a partner have given $5 million to MoveOn.org, a liberal activist group, bringing his donations to oust Bush to $15.5 million. Harry would be proud.


Renovations

Residential – Commercial
Indoor – Outdoor
Carpentry – Painting - Flooring Composters - Creative storage
& much more

Harald Wolf – 250-882-9653
hwolf@wolfweb.ca


GREEN MBAs

But what if Harry thought it best to first enroll in a business school, to learn some useful skills? He’d find that most were under the control of Voldemort, teaching the supremacy of the market, and laughing as ancient forests fell while share values rose. Lucky for Harry, we can point him to Beyond Grey Pinstripes 2003: Preparing MBAs for Social and Environmental Stewardship(www.beyondgreypinstripes.org), an annual survey that identifies MBA schools and that pay attention to social impact and environmental management, and the triple bottom line of sustainability. York University’s Schulich School of Business in Toronto is among the top achievers. If Harry lived in Victoria, he’d find that UVic’s Faculty of Business (alas) was still teaching Voldemort’s "Grab It While You Can" approach to entrepreneurship, but that just across the water, the Bainbridge Graduate Institute MBA in Sustainable Business Practice was right on the nail. Working with class cohorts of no more than 25 students, the Bainbridge school offers an MBA program for students who want their work to reflect their environmental, social and spiritual values. Students meet for 11 intensives a year in a grass-roofed cob house at Channel Rock, on Cortes Island, and the rest of the work is done from home. See www.bgiedu.org


I’M DREAMING

OF A GREEN CHRISTMAS

(to the tune of Jingle Bells…)

Dashing through the malls, driving everywhere, through the sprawl we go, credit all the way. Bills from catalogues fall, making spirits pall, oh what gall it is to sing a shopping song tonight.

Jingle bells, landfill swells, garbage all the way. Oh what waste it is to drive a great big SUV. Jingle bells, workhouse toils, sweatshops all the way. Oh how sad it is to wear a child-sewn pair of jeans.

Want to make a difference? The Land Conservancy has gifts that will help protect BC’s special places. If you wander down to the Abkhazi Garden Gift Shop at 1964 Fairfield Rd (nr Foul Bay, 10-5pm), you’ll find books, cards, prints, jewellery, clothing, birdhouses, a Victoria Gardens Calendar, solar flashlights, solar education kits, and who knows what else. You can sponsor the protection of land in someone’s name, or adopt habitat on their behalf for a bear, bat, butterfly badger, frog, salmon or owl. Don’t be shy – it’s worth a try. You can shop on-line too at www.conservancy.ca

Christmas is also singing a green tune at the Western Canada Wilderness Committee store at 651 Johnson St, where you can find beautiful Wildlife and Wilderness calendars, posters, books and cards, First Nations mushrooms, wild smoked salmon, huckleberry jellies and cedar soap, hemp T-shirts and tote-bags, videos, and kids books. The Raincoast Gallery at 2240 Harbour Road, Sidney, serving the dreams of the Great Bear Rainforest, has beautiful (top end) limited edition colour prints. See www.raincoast.org/gallery

And then there’s books! The entire range of titles from New Society Publishers on Gabriola Island has 20% off until December 31st – all printed on ancient forest free, 100% recycled paper. For friends and family in the suburbs, there’s Superbia! - 31 Ways to Create Sustainable Neighborhoods. For a parent, there’s Above All Be Kind – Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times. For the eco-gourmet, there’s Hollyhock Cooks, and for a restless teenager, there’s The Better World Handbook. And for a gift of hopeful short stories, there’s Earthfuture: Stories from a Sustainable World (for a signed copy, call me at 881-1304. The same applies to my book Stormy Weather: 101 Solutions to Global Climate Change). For a good magazine subscription as a "change the world" gift, I recommend YES! Magazine, The Ecologist, The Watershed Sentinel, the New Internationalist, & Worldwatch (all in Munro’s Books). Finally, Victoria author John Crouch has produced Walk Victoria – Your Guide to 50 Urban and Suburban Walks, a great gift for anyone who is new to the city, or wants to explore it further. You’ll find it in Munro’s, Bolen’s, Ivy’s and Tanners Books, or signed from 592-5107.

Hiking through the hills, forests green and still, dreaming of a world, safe for everyone. Kindness rules the land, making spirits bright, oh what joy it is to send a grateful prayer tonight.

Jingle bells, sweetgrass smells, angels all the way. Oh what joy it is to live on a planet oh so green. Oh, jingle bells, Bush is gone, America’s given up war. Oh what joy it is to work for a world that works for all.


SEEDS OF VICTORIA
A Gift of Seeds Sows Thoughts of You

Choose from Nine Different Themes

Organic Seed Collections

$12.45

www.earthfuture.com/gardenpath

Call Carolyn Herriot, 250-881-1555


THE FRENCH CHARTER OF THE ENVIRONMENT

As EcoNews reported in October, the French cabinet has approved a plan to add an Environmental Charter to the country’s constitution. If the bill passes, the pre-amble of France’s national constitution will be amended to refer to the charter, placing it on an equal footing with France’s landmark 1789 human rights document, "The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen." The legal implications are truly profound. Thanks to Christine Nikiloc, we now have a translation:

The first paragraph of the preamble of the French constitution is amended as follows:

"The French nation solemnly declares its belief in human rights and in the principles of national sovereignty as defined in the Declaration of 1789, confirmed and amended by the Preamble of the Constitution of 1946; as well as in the rights and obligations defined in the Charter of the Environment of 2003."

The Charter of the Environment of 2003 reads as follows:

"The French nation, recognizing:

  • that the rise of humanity was made possible through the existence of natural resources and the balance of nature;
  • that the future and the very existence of humanity are inseparable from our natural surroundings;
  • that the environment is the common heritage of all human beings;
  • that humanity exerts an increasing influence on the conditions of life, and on our very evolution;
  • that biodiversity, personal fulfilment, and the progress of human societies are affected by certain forms of consumption and production, and by the excessive exploitation of natural resources;
  • that safeguarding the environment must be required alongside other fundamental national interests;
  • that, in order to ensure sustainable development, choices that are intended to meet the needs of the present should not compromise the ability of future generations and other nations to meet their needs;

declares that:

Art. 1 - Every person has the right to live in a balanced environment that is conducive to his or her health.

Art. 2 - Every person has the duty to participate in the conservation and improvement of the environment.

Art. 3 - Every person must, under the conditions defined by law, prevent or at least limit the impact they are likely to have on the environment.

Art. 4 - Every person must contribute to the repair of damage that they cause to the environment, under the conditions defined by law.

Art. 5 - If the occurrence of damage has the potential to affect the environment in a serious and irreversible manner, even though there may be scientific uncertainty, the public authorities should apply the precautionary principle, and adopt provisional measures that are sufficient to prevent harm, while doing what is needed to evaluate the risks incurred.

Art. 6 - Public policies must promote sustainable development. To this end, they must take into account the protection and development of the environment, while reconciling this with economic and social development.

Art. 7 – Everyone has the right, under the conditions and limitations defined by law, to have access to information concerning the environment that is held by the public authorities, and to participate in public decision making processes that have an impact on the environment.

Art. 8 - Environmental education must contribute to the exercise of the rights and duties defined in this Charter.

Art. 9 - Research and innovation must contribute to the protection and development of the environment.

Art. 10 - This Charter of the Environment will guide France’s actions in Europe and internationally.

And here’s an excerpt from a televised Interview given by Mr. Jacques Chirac, President of the French Republic, on France's National Day, Paris, 14 July 2003:

"But there's another problem we don't talk enough about in the world: the environment. Since the industrial revolution, not just in France, but of course all over the world, we have taken a path which wasn't sufficiently responsible and is leading to our planet's eventual destruction. I don't want to go into detail, but it's extraordinarily dangerous and wholly irresponsible. So today it's high time to make the necessary effort to modify our development model, which can no longer be the same as that of the industrial revolution. We have to modify it to take the environmental considerations on board.

It's with this in mind that we, France wanted to set the example. We have just been warmly congratulated … for presenting the Environment Charter which was approved by the Council of Ministers and will, I hope, be definitive before the end of the year. The goals are to preserve our environment, but perhaps to an even greater extent than this, we are seeking changes in our own culture to instil in it greater respect for our environment, i.e. nature in the broadest sense of the term. This is an absolutely essential reform."


EXPLORE, AND BEHOLD!

www.goveg.com/feat/meatrix.html

www.sierraclubmedia.net (watch movie)

http://wires.news.com.au/special/mm/030811-hubble.htm

http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/java/scienceopticsu/powersof10/index.html

www.canadianwolves.net

www.womeninthewoods.org

www.nomorepanic.co.uk/frogs.htm

www.centreforearthandspirit.org

www.greenmuseum.org


ACTION OF THE MONTH:

(1) PAUL MARTIN

Let’s welcome our new Prime Minister with some planetary realities, in case he thinks his business friends and shipping magnates have the best ideas. Let’s send him some creative Christmas cards, asking him to do any of the following (take your pick, add your own!):

* Persist with Canada’s commitment to Kyoto and the change-over to a green economy, to halt global climate change.

* Get the hell out of America’s Star Wars Missile Defence program, which Martin seems to think is a good idea.

* Give the cities the money they need to fund proper public transport.

* Use our taxpayer dollars to eliminate all homelessness in Canada, for ever.

* Persist with Canada’s efforts to fight AIDS, and help Africa.

* Persist with Canada’s leadership in reducing the developing nations’ debts, which they have repaid many times over in interest charges to the West’s banks.

* Take a "fair trade, justice for all" position at the WTO and other global negotiations. Let’s have Canada support countries like Brazil and India, against the US and European trade bullies.

* Switch Canada’s method of measuring "progress" from GDP to a genuine progress indicator that reveals what’s really happening, not just how much we’re spending.

* Remember that "Canada" does not have a "U" or an "S" in it. Remember the words "True North strong and free"!

Send your card to:

The Right Honourable Paul Martin, Office of the Prime Minister, 80 Wellington St, Ottawa, K1A 0A2


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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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