No. 141 - Serving the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island
CELEBRATING THE CAR-FREE CITY
People need people.
We need the smiles, the glances, the ebb and flow
of daily relationships. They nurture our souls, touch our emotions,
and feed the sense that we are human.
For all of the many million years that we have
been humans, we have lived together as a clan, tribe or community,
living in caves, huts or villages. We walked everywhere. We saw
other villagers every day, and were immersed in the relationships
that villages create, for better or worse.
One day, we may wake up and realize that throughout
the Years of Driving, we were breaking one of the fundamental principles
of human existence: that people need people.
We will realize that the freedom the car gave
us to live apart from our families, and to live without an immediate
surrounding community, was slowly and steadily eroding the connections
that are so vital to our emotional health.
When we are healthy, married, and flush with money,
we may not notice it. We can drive downtown, go shopping, bump
into a friend, and feel the better for it. Life is fine! All thanks
to the car.
But if you are elderly, not so healthy or flush
with money, or single, the loss of relationships begins to hurt.
Where are all the neighbours? What happened to the village, that
our ancestors took for granted?
When we lived in Oak Bay in the 1990s, we organized
a street party for our neighbours. A retired lady who used to be
a teacher told me she had seen a moving van across the road, and
had gone out to greet her new neighbours. "Welcome to the
neighbourhood!", she said. "That’s very kind of you," the
neighbour replied, "but we’ve been living here for seven years,
and we’re just moving out."
In the 1980s, when I lived in the small town of
Totnes, in south Devon, England (population 10,000), the whole
of the downtown was in effect a pedestrian experience. The urban
density was high, and the streets were too narrow to get very far,
so everyone walked. Being single and self-employed, I needed company,
so every morning around 10:30 I would leave my townhouse and wander
into town. Invariably, I would meet five or six people I knew,
and stop into a café with one for a cup of tea. Everyone
had a similar experience; it was a great place to live.
This is why the car-free experience in Europe’s
cities has been so successful. This is why people love the Mediterranean ‘passeo’ (the
daily walk-about), and street markets. It’s not about shopping.
It’s about people: bumping into friends, and having time to chat.
We know that driving is having an alarming effect
on the world’s climate. We know that our exposure to diesel and
gasoline fumes is linked to increases in asthma, heart disease
and cancer. We know that children who live close to a gas station
have a four times greater risk of getting leukemia.
We also know that cars are killing people: 57
people a week in Canada (23,000 a week worldwide), compared to
just 1 death a week from flying. When a small plane crashes and
the pilot dies, there’s a big media story and a year-long investigative
report. When a small car crashes and someone dies, or a pedestrian
or cyclist is killed, there’s 4 inches on an inside page. When
did our lives become so cheap?
When you combine the grim realities of global
climate change with the certainty that oil is about to become a
very expensive scarce resource, as we pass the peak in the world’s
oil supply, it becomes very clear that we must start planning for
the world beyond oil, and beyond the motor car.
For sure, there will still be cars; small electric
and biofuel hybrid vehicles that you can loan through the city
car-share group. But for most city trips, let’s design our cities
first and foremost for walking, then for cycling and transit (trams,
trolleys, and LRT), and then for cars.
Let’s use this opportunity to plan our cities
so that their primary function becomes once again a people place,
not a glorified network of highways surrounded by houses, where
humans scuttle around in fear of being hit.
September 22nd is World Carfree Day
(see www.worldcarfree.net and www.carfreeday.ca). On this day,
in cities around the world from Shenzhen in China to Bogota in
Columbia, cities are celebrating life without the car. Here in
Victoria, on Sunday Sept 19th, Fairfield Village is
celebrating Car-Free in the Village, to give us a taste of how
pleasant it can be (see inside). Come on down: and call all your
local councillors and planners, to suggest that they come on down
And also, here in Victoria from Sept 7th to
10th, the big North American conference Pro-Walk, Pro-Bike
is happening, giving us the benefit of the best ideas and the best
examples of cities designed for walking and cycling.
Right now, we are still enjoying the opium fog
of driving freedom, with onboard CDs, and we are in full denial
about the costs. But really, we don’t know what we’re missing.
When car-free cities truly arrive, we’ll say "But this is
so great! Why didn’t we do it before?"
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A big thankyou to
Katey Bloomfield, Maureen McArdel, Louise Ditmars, Yves Parizeau,
Lauren Lupton, Brian Connon,
Alan Dolan, Michael Clague, Raymond Smith, & Mike Isbrucker.
$5/line (non-profits, low-income free)
1" box $40, $2" box $70. Insert $180
* Haggis Farm is looking for a baker to
make bread and other organic products. Must be self-motivated,
healthy, want to live on Saturna Island. Flexible hours, 25 to
35 hours a week. Starting pay $10 an hour. Extended health/dental
benefits after two-month period. Training provided. Please send
resume with current references. Ready to hire immediately. 250-539-2591.
Jon Guy Box 42, Saturna Island, V0N 2Y0
* The Dogwood Initiative, a nonprofit
environmental land reform organization based in Victoria, needs
volunteer board members, videographer, fund development assistant, & a
special events coordinator. We can offer a fun social work environment,
experience in the non profit sector, and opportunity to make a
difference as we work to make BC a global model for sustainable
land reform. Moira Campbell 370-9930 www.dogwoodinitiative.org
* Cowichan Eco Lumber for sale. Cedar and
fir, various full and retail dimensions and lengths. Custom milling.
* Organic Bulk Food Buying Collective.
As the first step in starting an ethics-based food co-op, we have
created a buying collective. Want to be part of our first order?
Contact us at www.IslandVeg.com/coop or
* Compassion In Action Week is November
7th-14th, an event of fun, colour and compassion
to bring Random Acts of Kindness to the streets of Victoria! It
would be great to organize kind acts for the planet as well, such
as a clean-up of a park or natural area. We need volunteers to
realize this dream, and would love your help, however great or
small. Call Mark 592-5122, email@example.com
* Help! Haro Woods, just north of UVic,
is being taken over by invader plants such as ivy, holly, laurel,
blackberries and broom. In many places 90% of the native shrubs
and cover have been squeezed out. The Cadboro Bay Residents Association
is rushing to the rescue with volunteer work parties every Sat
and Wed, 9am to noon, to preserve this urban gem for the future.
Can you help? Call Norm Mogenson, 477-9114.
* New community garden in Hillside/Quadra.
Volunteers wanted! Call Jackie 361-9446.
* City Green welcomes a new EnerGuide for
Houses advisor, Josh McLean, serving the South Island North of
Victoria. We are excited about our expanded delivery capacity and
happy to welcome Josh to the EnerGuide team. In celebration the
first 20 EnerGuide for houses customers who mention EcoNews will
receive 10% off their EnerGuide for Houses evaluation. For more
information on EnerGuide for Houses or any of City Green's program
visit our web site at www.citygreen.ca or
call 381-9995 in Victoria or toll free 1-866-381-9995 anywhere
VANCOUVER’S GOING GOLD
Congratulations to Vancouver City Council, which
has approved a Green Building Strategy requiring all new civic
buildings greater than 500 sq. meters to achieve LEED Gold, the
second highest standard in the green building certification programme.
This includes a 30% improvement in energy consumption. This is
on par with the Federal Government's commitment to Gold for all
buildings over $10million. The Council also adopted LEED Gold for
eco-development at Southeast False Creek. If they can do it, so
can every city! Here’s their 3 secrets of success:
(1) A supportive majority on council
(3) Strong community back-up.
TLC AT THRIFTY FOODS
Thrifty Foods is an incredible blessing to us
all, living here on Vancouver Island. First, they always seem to
do everything right. Then they make the commitment that 50% of
their fresh produce will be organic by 2010. Now they are supporting
The Land Conservancy in their "Back to School" campaign,
with $2 donation coupons in all stores. The proceeds will help
the TLC pay for land purchase projects such as Burgoyne Bay on
Salt Spring, and Wildwood Forest near Ladysmith. Children can enter
a contest to win $750 worth of Back to School supplies, and each
winner’s class will win a trip to Wildwood. The contest ends Sept
7th, so get thee hence to Thrifty’s!
LOBLAWS SHOWS THE WAY
Who says we can’t achieve Kyoto? Refrigeration
typically is 50% of a supermarket's energy costs, but the system
in the new Loblaws store in Repentigny, Quebec, is putting the
chill on more than frozen veggies. By using new technology developed
by CETC Varennes, the store will reduce its energy consumption
by 50%, and its greenhouse gas emissions by 75%. If Loblaws can
do it, so can every supermarket! How about it, Thrifty’s?
ISLANDS IN THE SUN
And the rain. But don’t we all love them? Our
Gulf Islands are exquisite treasures, that have won the hearts
of thousands. But behold, here cometh Developer! American With
Big Wallet! And unless we are exquisitely careful, there goes the
forest, and the foreshore. For the past 14 years, the Islands Trust
Fund has been working to protect special places on the Islands,
and they are currently celebrating their 50th protected property.
Since 1990, islanders have donate 37 conservation covenants and
13 properties to the Trust Fund. Doesn’t it warm your heart? But
there’s still so much to do. They are currently developing a Regional
Conservation Plan, and welcoming more donations. To learn more,
see www.islandstrustfund.bc.ca .
CITY GREEN HOME VISITS
Would your home pass Ecology 101? Or does it provide
a haven for lurking nasties and bad habits from the old industrial
age? A Healthy Home Visit will get you up to speed for the age
of ecology. Call Kirsten Young at City Green to book a visit on
lawn care, food gardening, natural pest prevention, composting,
water conservation, and ways to reduce your use of toxic chemicals.
All for one friendly donation! 381-9995
CATHEDRAL GROVE NEWS
Janine Bandcroft writes: The camp and campers
(at Cathedral Grove, on the road to Port Alberni, in protest against
the planned new car park) are in good spirits. They have plenty
of food, and are thankful for the regular deliveries from local
residents. There are currently seven platforms in the trees, and
the forest defenders are preparing to hoist an eighth. The traffic
is basically non-stop along the highway, and they zoom along since
the speed limit was raised from 50 to 80. The protesters make a
good point - if the government really cared about safety they'd
lower the speed, put more signs up, and hire crossing guards. The
camp would appreciate any donations of tarps, propane, fuel for
their lanterns, and food for their communal kitchen. Go, see for
yourself, make up your own mind!
Ken Wu writes: Victory! The BC Liberals
have backed down from implementing their proposed Working
Forest Initiative. This is a great day for the
people and ecosystems of BC, and the first big victory the conservation
movement has achieved under the Liberal government. However, the
fight is not over. Minister Abbott has told me that they may still
attempt to establish legally-binding Timber Targets, ie the guaranteed
logging zones of the Working Forest. Under the current plan the
Provincial Forest will remain; there will be no Working Forest
order in council; and Timber Targets that arise from regional land-use
plans will remain policy. However, the government reserves the
right to implement the Timber Targets in the future, and is still
committed to the concept of the Working Forest. This means they
will likely try again to implement it after the provincial election
in May 2005, unless we keep speaking up. So please, continue circulating
those petitions. We now have 34,000 signatures. www.workingforest.org .
TOP SUSTAINABLE STOCKS
Do you want to invest wisely for a sane, sustainable
world for your children to enjoy? Here’s the 2004 list of the world’s
Top Twenty Sustainable Stocks, chosen after much research by the
folks at SustainableBusiness.com: Baldor; Canon; Chiquita; East
Japan Railway; Electrolux; Green Mountain Coffee; Henkel; Herman
Miller; JM Inc; Novozymes; Philips Electronics N.V.; STMicroelectronics;
Svenska Cellulosa AB; Swiss Re; Timberland; Triodos Groenfonds
NV; United Natural; Vestas; Wainwright Bank; Whole Foods. See www.sustainablebusiness.com/progressiveinvestor
Investing in Clean Power
3pm or 7:30pm
The Empress , Balmoral Room (downstairs)
$5 to The Land Conservancy
Reservations: call 405-2420
THE GARDEN PATH
ORGANIC PLANT NURSERY
~ Fall Sale of Winter Vegetables ~
Sat Aug 28 – Mon Sept 6
10am – 5:30pm Daily
395 Conway Rd, West Saanich
(off Interurban by Camosun
Carolyn Herriot 250-881-1555
IRAQ: THE REAL TRUTH
If you want an insight into what’s really going
on in Iraq, and why, go out and buy a copy of September Harper’s
magazine, which has a superb report in it by Naomi Klein entitled "Baghdad
Year Zero: Pillaging Iraq in pursuit of a neocon utopia".
Naomi has been to Baghdad, and spoken to many people. What she
exposes is the attempt by the US administration to reshape Iraq
as a free market neo-conservative ideological utopia, allowing
the wholesale take-over of Iraq by foreign (ie US) corporations,
using Paul Bremer as an economic engineer. Witness: 500,000 soldiers,
doctors, nurses, teachers, publishers and printers fired, and motivated
to join the resistance; Iraq’s borders flung open to foreign imports
with no duties, inspections or taxes; Iraq’s 200 state-owned companies
starved into uselessness so that they’re cheapened, ready for a
take over by privatization; corporate income tax reduced from 40%
to a flat rate 15%; foreign companies allowed to own 100% of Iraqi
assets outside the natural resource sector; foreign companies allowed
take 100% of their profits out of the country; leases and contracts
that can be signed for 40 years; foreign banks welcomed into Iraq
on favorable terms; trade unions and collective bargaining restrictions
retained from Saddam Hussein’s days. The Economist calls it "A
capitalist dream". A Republican consultant enthused "One
well-stocked 7-Eleven could knock out 30 Iraqi stores; a Wal-Mart
could take over the country." The trouble is, it’s all going
wrong, since so many Iraqis are smart to what’s going on, and are
just furious, which is one of the main motivating factors behind
THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF WEB
Some noteworthy sites that have passed my way
Mark Fiore. Fissionary: www.markfiore.com/animation/nukes.html
Organic Events coming up in BC: www.organics.bc.ca
Cathedral Grove: www.cathedralgrove.se
"CathedralGrove.se" is a website created by Karen
Wonders and Stephan Rshl. It is part of the "WaldAktion British
Columbia" Programme, a cooperative project between the German activist
group "Koordinationszentrum Natur und Umwelt e.V. (KNU)" and the
environmental art history fellowship at the Institute for the History
of Science at Goettingen University.
New Information Suggests Bush Indecisive, Paranoid,
"Bush is an untreated ex-alcoholic with paranoid
and megalomaniac tendencies."
Environmental Health News: www.environmentalhealthnews.org
Published daily by Environmental Health Sciences,
a not-for-profit organization founded in 2002 to help increase
public understanding of emerging scientific links between environmental
exposures and human health.
The Volkswagen one-litre car: www.benerridge.freeserve.co.uk/economy.htm
Can we Live Without Oil? www.yesmagazine.org
Special issue on an oil-free future.
The Daily Grist: www.gristmagazine.org/daily/daily082704.asp
Top environmental news from around the world,
packaged with humour. Five neat stories, every day; one of the
emails I always read. So do 100,000 other people!
CAR FREE IN FAIRFIELD
Jaye Haworth writes: Come to Cook Street
on Sunday September 19th to celebrate Car-Free in the Village, Fairfield’s
fifth annual event marking World Car-Free Day. Imagine Victoria’s
most popular commercial village with the sound of laughter, music,
commerce and socializing, instead of the drone and steady stream
of cars. You will be able to shop, walk, relax, and play in a pedestrian-friendly,
car-free environment. The event will have two zones: a commercial
zone in the Village with animated commercial interests, community
information kiosks and music, and a play zone south of May Street.
From here to Dallas Road, you can ride your bike, rollerblade,
practice Tai Chi, play hopscotch, make chalk drawings, or dance
in the middle of the street. Yee-ha! The purpose of Car-Free
in the Village is to show the benefits of a car-free environment
in the urban core, like the commercial centers of many European
cities. But volunteers are needed! Call 388-3541 firstname.lastname@example.org
I Find the Best Mortgage Deals
from the Best Lenders
I source mortgages from lenders who commit to community
Programs and investment, corporate social responsibility, sustainability,
and social and environmental responsibility
Ian Baker, Mortgage Consultant
Beyer Mortgage Services,
ACTION OF THE MONTH
Right now, the Liberals are holding planning meetings
behind closed doors in Ottawa to discuss buying into the Pentagon's
missile defence scheme. Three Liberal MPs (Carolyn Parrish, Bonnie
Brown, and Lynn Myers) are leading other MPs to confront Paul Martin.
Action: Add your name to a letter of support
at www.ceasefire.ca, and then write to Defence Minister Bill Graham
and Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew (Pettigrew.P@parl.gc.ca).
Tell them to to keep Canada out of Bush's Missile Defence System.
Send a copy to Paul Martin, email@example.com
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