No. 137 - Serving the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island
CANCER IN SPRINGTIME
It may be snowing
in Newfoundland, but here in Victoria, spring is pouring her
beauty over every cell in our bodies. The fresh new leaves and
blossoms of the maple trees sing arias to our senses, while the
skunk cabbages add a glorious bass as they thrust upwards from
their dark, moist, woodland homes.
In Garry oak meadows
across the region, the camas flowers reach out to embrace us
in their deep blue heaven. All across the northern hemisphere
(apart from Newfoundland), nature is responding to the warmth
and light with a symphony of green.
So what must it feel
like to be told the awful words "you have cancer",
at a time like this? Across Canada, over 12,000 people will be
told these words during May.
What must it feel
like to know that when everything is busy being born, you may
be about to die? Almost half of those diagnosed with cancer will
die from the disease. During May, 5,700 Canadian men and women
with cancer will lose the struggle to live, and never see a day
Throughout the developed
world, cancer agencies and healthcare workers have been struggling
with this for decades. Whatever’s causing it, it’s not going
away. The World Health Organization predicts that the global
incidence of cancer will rise by 50% by 2020. The American Cancer
Society says the US incidence will double by 2050. The Canadian
Cancer Society says the Canadian incidence will rise by 60% by
And yes, it’s costing
us money; some $14.2 billion a year, according to Health Canada.
That could go a long way to pay B.C.’s ancillary health care
workers the income they deserve, as they stand on the picket
lines in defence of a living wage.
So what is causing
it? Some families may have a genetic predisposition that makes
them more vulnerable, but our genes are not changing; our genes
are not causing it.
We know that smoking
causes lung cancer, but what about the rising incidence of breast
cancer, prostate cancer, and colo-rectal cancer? What about the
teenagers and 20 to 24 year-olds, who are experiencing a steady
rise in lymphoma, and malignant brain tumours? What is it that
we do in our "developed" northern nations that causes
cancer, that is not happening elsewhere in the world?
The answer is twofold.
The rising incidence of cancer is being caused by ionizing radiation
from nuclear power plants and other forms of radiation, and by
the mass assault from chemicals that find their way into our
blood, lungs, and body tissues. Chemicals from pesticides, air
pollution, flame retardants, plasticizers, PCBs, water-resistant
coatings, formaldehyde, cleaning agents, fungicides, plastic
wrap, pharmaceuticals, etc, etc, etc. In France, between 70%
and 80% of all cancers are now thought to originate from chemical
Studies show that
families who use chemical pesticides have a six-fold greater
chance of their children getting lymphoma. Dogs whose owners
use weed killers in their yards are twice as likely to get the
canine version of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The Ontario College
of Family Physicians, after a comprehensive review of pesticide
research, is strongly recommending that people reduce their exposure
to pesticides, because of consistent links to cancer, reproductive
problems and neurological diseases.
Once the cancers have
formed, the fact that modern western diets lack nutrition, because
chemical farming leaches the goodness out of the soil, makes
it harder for our immune systems to fight back. Obesity makes
things harder yet, since the toxins accumulate in body-fat.
At the core of the
epidemic is the reality that we are being pickled in toxic chemicals
from our first moments in the womb. In Europe, when the World
Wildlife Fund took blood samples from 47 people, including 39
Members of the European Parliament, they found 76 persistent,
bio-accumulative, toxic industrial chemicals in their blood.
A similar study in San Francisco found 53 carcinogens in the
blood and urine of the people they tested.
So what should be
We need to elevate
the cancer crisis to the level of concern that we give to global
climate change, or terrorism, and build a global movement around
We need to phase out
all use of pesticides for cosmetic purposes, phase out all nuclear
power, and ban smoking in all public places.
We need far more rigorous
control over the industrial use of chemicals. In Alabama, a state
Representative is proposing an eco-tax on all toxic emissions,
which makes complete sense, until they are phased out.
We need a popular
movement that will come like the fresh wind of spring and wash
our contaminated culture clean of toxic chemicals and radiation,
purifying our pregnancies, homes, schools, cities, farms, shops
and factories. This epidemic is preventable; totally preventable.
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A big thankyou to
Diana Knox, Jonathan Francoeur, Julia Roberts, Karen Chapple,
Turbett, Denise Dickson, Lynn Conall, Barbara Hourston, Bob Milman,
Garry Oak Meadow Preservation Society, Dorothy Eastwood, Germaine
Taylor, Thomas Jones, & Ian Graeme.
$5/line (non-profits, low-income free)
1" box $40, $2" box $70. Insert $180
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"Peace starts within each one of us. When we feel
love and kindness towards others, it not only makes others feel
loved and cared for but it helps us also to develop inner happiness
and peace." The Dalai Lama
Healing, Freeing and Celebrating our Selves,
our Relationships, and the Earth
THE CITIZENS ASSEMBLY
And behold, there came a great season to the people
of British Columbia, when their government said "Go forth
and examine the ways we elect our representatives, and if ye find
it to be antiquated, or in any way strange or unfair, let us then
decide if we want to change those ways, by binding referendum in
May 2009." A great gathering of citizens was assembled, and
in May they arrive in the city of Victoria, to ask the people "What
do YOU think?" This is your chance, folks! On May 15th,
you can speak to the Citizens Assembly. Be sure to book your place!
See Green Diary.
OFFSHORE OIL AND GAS
Likewise, the government asked the people if they
wanted to pollute the ocean and shorelines of BC by lifting the
moratorium on exploratory drilling for oil and gas. Not trusting
them to give the answer they wanted, they appointed a pro-industry
panel. None-the-less, they are inviting us to speak to them, and
so we must. They are in Victoria Thur 13th to Sat 15th at
the Coast Harbourside Hotel, and you can register to speak by faxing
the form at www.moratoriumpublicreview.ca as
soon as possible, or call Scott J. Gedak email@example.com 1-866-386-1323.
Here’s my take. Drilling for oil and gas in our offshore waters
is like excavating the floor of a cathedral for hidden heroine
or cocaine. We are heavily addicted to a substance which we know
to be highly dangerous to the planet (through global climate change),
and like most drug addicts, the oil industry pushers are seemingly
willing to do whatever it takes to get more. Second, based on our
current world usage rates, the entire predicted supply of recoverable
oil (2.6 billion barrels) is just 36 days supply for the planet
as a whole. Third, if every barrel sells for $100, the estimated
revenue to BC, at 2% of the total, will be $5.2 billion. Spread
over 20 years, this is $260 million a year. Divided by 4 million
people, this is $65 per person, enough for one restaurant meal
per year. Is THIS what we’d risk our coast, our ocean, and our
planet for? For more details, see www.oilfreecoast.org
BC SUSTAINABLE ENERGY ASSOCIATION
Do you want to see more use of wind, solar, biodiesel,
and other kinds of sustainable energy in B.C.? Do you hear alarm
bells ringing with regard to the floods, forest fires, droughts
and heat waves that are being caused by global climate change,
which we know is caused primarily by our use of fossil fuels? Do
you want to see more use of sustainable energy in B.C., as an alternative
to the use of oil, gas, coal, and the latest menace, the Site C
megahydro project in the Peace River?
If your answers are ‘yes", we invite you
to join the new BC Sustainable Energy Association (www.bcsea.org).
We’re new, we’re ambitious, and we’d love to have your participation.
Our vision is one in which all of B.C.’s energy comes from clean,
renewable, efficient sources, respecting the integrity of nature,
and the needs of humans and other species and their habitat, both
now and in the future.
The potential for wind, tidal, microhydro, solar
hot water, and other kinds of sustainable energy in B.C. is enormous.
Combined with a continued drive towards greater energy efficiency,
there is enough renewable energy to meet all of B.C.’s electricity
needs. We also need to develop sustainable alternatives for the
ways we power our commerce and industry, and the ways we travel.
In order to develop this potential, we need a much stronger voice
for sustainable energy, and much greater public awareness. If we
work together, we can do it.
Will you join us, as a member? Our annual membership
fee is $35 ($10 low income), with differing rates for businesses
and other groups (see www.bcsea.org ).
These are our goals: to help British Columbia become a world leader
in the generation and use of sustainable energy; to promote the
use of sustainable energy to the people of B.C. for electricity,
transportation, industry, and all other uses; to provide a forum
through which members can meet, share ideas, and develop joint
initiatives; to speak with a strong collective voice to municipal,
provincial and federal governments on the development of clean,
renewable, efficient energy and the reduction of B.C.’s greenhouse
gas emissions and other pollutants; to provide one-stop shopping
for information on B.C.’s sustainable energy resources; and to
form local chapters throughout B.C., so that members can organize
These are some very big goals. With your support,
we can build a membership that will help us realize them. You can
sign up electronically at www.bcsea.org, or mail your subscription
to BC SEA, 395 Conway Rd. Victoria, B.C., V9E 2B9.
We want to make a difference. We want to help
BC become a leader in this field. We want to become one of the
small groups of thoughtful, committed citizens that changes the
world. Will you join us?
THE CORPORATION, PART 3
You’ve seen the movie; you’ve told all your friends
about it. But what are the solutions? How do we build a future
in which corporations behave like socially responsible concerned
citizens, instead of freebooting pirates? That’s the theme of two
participative evenings that the Centre for Integral Economics is
holding this month, with a panel of Donna Morton, Anita Burke,
and Guy Dauncey, on May 18th and May 26th.
It’s one of the biggest challenges that we face, as a planet; so
please come and join us, as we begin to explore the solutions!
See Green Diary for details.
THE GARDEN PATH NURSERY
Plants & Seeds
Specializing In Heritage, Rare &Unusual
Plants. 40 Varieties Heirloom Tomatoes
Open Daily 10am – 5:30pm
395 Conway Rd, West Saanich
Carolyn Herriot (250) 881-1555
One thing should be really clear for those of
us who are concerned about sustainability. If we want to preserve
green space in a populated area such as ours, we have to have a
strategy for affordable housing. The more attractive a community,
the more people want to live there. This creates a greater desire
to protect green space, which puts the squeeze on development,
which increases the price of housing, which creates a big problem
for people on lower incomes. There is an urban planning motto which
says "No density without greenery". We need another which
says "No green space without affordable housing."
The Victoria Community Housing Trust, established
by CEDCO in 2002, has purchased two residences that are leased
to the Vancouver Island Health Authority for supportive housing:
a 21-unit residence for formerly homeless and at risk people, and
a 24-unit residence for older men and women who face physical and
mental challenges. The Trust is committed to securing more housing
for those in need, and is offering a free 20-minute presentation
to interested groups or organizations: "Housing in Victoria:
The Good News, The Bad News and the Good News". For all the
details, give David Stott a call at 360-0852. Housingtrust@cedco.bc.ca
The solution is easy, if we are willing to make
the effort. It involves homeowners contributing through their taxes
to a fund to buy land for Community Land Trusts. If I were Mayor
of Paradise, I’d also charge $1000 per $100,000 on property sales,
to fund a Community Land Trust which would buy land for sustainable
ecovillages. It’s needed on Salt Spring; it’s needed in Tofino,
and it’s needed in Victoria. If we don’t do something of this nature,
we can be fairly accused of campaigning for green space on the
backs of the poor.
If a tree fell in the forest while we were busy
using paper, would we really care? Many of us do, so here’s four
things you can do yourself to help save the forests, and use less
1. Print on both sides. Never recycle a clean-sided
sheet of paper. Use it again!
2. Change your computer’s default settings so
that your page is 0.5" at the top, 0.55" at the bottom,
and 0.9" on either side. Compared to the normal settings,
you’ll use 14% less paper, which really adds up over a year. Using
MS Word, go under ‘Format’ to ’Document’, and change your defaults.
3. When you are printing something out, reduce
it to 10 point first.
4. Buy your white paper through the monthly Reach
for Unbleached Copy Paper Buying Club. When you buy their chlorine
free, recycled paper, every 40 cases saves 17 trees, 4,100 kWh
of energy, 20,000 litres of water, and 3 cubic metres of landfill;
and reduces air pollution by 75% and water pollution by 33%.
You can find all the details at www.rfu.org/buyingclub.htm#Bulk .
BODIES INTO FERTILIZER
How to dispose of dear Aunt Harriet, who has just
died? Expensive hardwood coffin? Nope. Cremate her, releasing toxic
fumes of mercury from her many fillings, along with cancer-causing
polyaromatic hydrocarbons? No. Enbalm her, using formaldehyde which
will leach back into the soil? I don’t think so. Bury her in a
hemp bag? Maybe, if there’s a funeral director who’ll agree. But
now, from Sweden, approved by the Church of Sweden, comes the ultimate
eco-burial: immerse her in a bath of liquid nitrogen to remove
the water, then place her in a container that biodegrades within
six months. An 80 kg body produces about 20 kg of powder which
makes splendid potting soil, says Susanne Wiigh-Masak, the method’s
inventor. She has tested the method with pig and cow carcasses,
and says she planted roses above the containers with excellent
results. "We have a common responsibility to take care of
the nature that was created by the God we believe in". The
Swedish government is expected to approve the method soon.
ACTION OF THE
US MISSILE DEFENSE
For 30 years, Canada has been opposed to placing
weapons in space, circling the Earth. We have always been relied
upon to support efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons. But
now the new Martin government is seriously considering joining
the US in its crazy Reaganesque program to place nuclear weapons
in space, re-igniting the nuclear arms race. The Defence Minister,
David Pratt, has said that Canada is considering making our home
and native land available to the Americans for interceptor rocket
launchers or radar stations. The Americans plan to spend $53 billion
on this by 2010. And we wonder why things are falling apart? If
we really want global security, we should use our Canadian goodwill
to rejuvenate multilateral efforts to stop the spread of nuclear
weapons, and build on our experience in peace-making. The latest
Ipsos-Reid poll shows that 58% of Canadians oppose the US project.
Action: Write to Paul Martin, and remind
him that Canada stands for different values, not US craziness.
The Rt Hon Paul Martin,
80 Wellington St, Ottawa, K1A 0A2
Tel (613) 992-4211
Fax (613) 941-6900 firstname.lastname@example.org
THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF WEB
Some noteworthy sites that have passed my way
From Here to Economy.
Can capitalism be harnessed to solve environmental
problems, or is capitalism itself the problem?
Greenpeace Tissue Product Shopper's Guide to Ancient
Forest Friendly Tissue.
Over 150 tissue products that are sold in Canada
are listed in this guide, with information on or not each product
is ancient forest friendly.
One Less Tonne (of CO2)
At www.onelesstonne.ca you can click and choose
among 20 actions, committing to change the way you use energy and
thus reduce your personal emissions by one tonne or more. With
every action you pick, you get a tally of your emission reductions
as well as the money you will save through reduced electricity
or fuel costs.
One Tonne Challenge
Launched by the Government of Canada. The government’s
challenge calls on each Canadian
to cut his or her annual emissions of greenhouse
gases by one tonne, or about 20%, part of Canada’s national blueprint
for reducing emissions in line with the Kyoto Protocol.
Urge Paul Martin to Keep Canada out of Star Wars
An Interview with God
This is a photo essay by a young woman on a motorcycle
as she travels through the Chernobyl nuclear reactor site in the
The new Global Ideas Bank aims to promote and
disseminate good creative ideas to improve
society, and to encourage the public to participate
in creative problem-solving.
The Great Warming
The new TV series (Discovery) on the impacts and
solutions to global warming
Leonardo da Vinci’s Car
Five centuries after his death Italian scientists
have finally managed to interpret the design for a car by Leonardo
da Vinci and recreate it: precursor to the modern automobile.
Implement, the City of Seattle's sustainable building
A practical how-to-tool that assists in implementing
a sustainable building policy.
The Paper Calculator
Calculates the U.S. average energy, wood consumption
and environmental releases across the full life cycle of five major
grades of paper and paperboard. Allows you to compare the environmental
impacts of papers made with different levels of post-consumer recycled
content, from 0% to 100%.
The Global News Quiz
Spot the Terrorist!
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