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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. 141 - Serving the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island - September 2004


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 too.

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?"

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.

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

Donations can also be sent by PayPal, please send to GuyDauncey@EarthFuture.com, be sure to 'earmark' it to EcoNews.

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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.


THE ECO-CORNER
$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. Michael, 250-748-2866.

* 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 call 380-1865

* 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, peacebearer@care2.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 in BC.


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
(2) Enthusiastic staff
(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!


WORKING FOREST??

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 . 250-388-9292


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

September 21st, 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 College)
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 resistance.


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, Delusional: www.capitolhillblue.com/artman/publish/article_4704.shtml

"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 carfree@fairfieldcommunity.ca


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, Inc.
(250) 592-8969


ACTION OF THE MONTH
MISSILE DEFENCE

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 (Graham.B@parl.gc.ca) 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, pm@gc.ca


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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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