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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. 142 - Serving the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island - October 2004


THE CRUCIAL CHALLENGE

Wouldnít it be nice if this nagging problem of global climate change would just go away? Like a head-ache, you would wake up in the morning and find that itís gone?

Alas, it is not. Itís going to go on pounding away for the next twenty, fifty or hundred years, until we get the message. And itís going to get worse, as the Earthís temperature and the temperature of the oceans rise.

This yearís sockeye salmon run on the Fraser is the worst for 50 years, because the river water is too warm, killing the fish and making the survivors lethargic.

This yearís hurricane season is the most intense for years because the Atlantic is warmer, generating the monster storms which have been thrashing Florida and the Caribbean.

This yearís ice-melt in the Arctic is the fastest, because the summer temperatures have been the highest on record. As well as song birds, theyíve now got wasps, neither of which have been seen in the Arctic before.

This yearís mountain pine beetle epidemic in central BC is going to be the worst on record, because without the cold winters, thereís nothing to kill off the pine beetle larvae.

In September, National Geographic brought out a special issue on Global Warming, which is exceptionally well written and researched. One of the stories told about the break-up of the Larsen sea ice-shelf in Antarctica, and wondered if this might cause the continentís glaciers to migrate faster towards the sea, where they would contribute to global sea-level rise.

In mid-September, the scientific report came through that yes, the glaciers were in fact moving faster: six times faster. The West Antarctic ice-sheet has enough ice in it to cause sea levels to rise by 20 feet. More than 100 million people, worldwide, live within three feet of sea level.

National Geographicís Editor, Bill Allen, knowing that the issue would cause some angry readers to cancel their memberships, wrote "Iíd have a hard time looking at myself in the mirror if I didnít bring you the biggest story in geography today."

With global climate change, we face a crisis of enormous proportions that has only just begun. The changes we are seeing so far come from a global temperature rise of just 0.8 C. The predicted 100 year warming is in the range of 2 to 5 C, possibly 7 C.

It is no wonder that Britainís Tony Blair said recently "If what the science tells us about climate change is correct, then unabated it will result in catastrophic consequences for our world. The science, almost certainly, is correct. (Ö) Now is the time to sound the alarm firmly and put this on the agenda."

Here in BC, we have a Premier and a Minister of Energy and Mines who, like the popes and priests of the Middle Ages, do not accept that the science is correct. They prefer the view that there are still too many uncertainties, so there is no need to act. I dearly hope my information is wrong, in which case I will publicly apologize to both.

As a result, BC has no climate change action plan, no commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, no support for wind energy, and lots of support for coal-fired power, coal-bed methane, and new highways.

When our leaders fail to lead, we have to lead ourselves. And nowhere is this better demonstrated than in Vancouver, and on Salt Spring Island.

In Vancouver, the City has approved a Cool Vancouver plan to reduce the cityís corporate greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, and the city-wide emissions by 6%, both below the 1990 level by 2012. For the community as a whole, this is a 27% reduction below todayís levels.

Vancouverís plan emphasizes all the normal things, such as walking, cycling and taking the bus to work; walking your child to school; reducing the number of cars in your household; buying the most efficient vehicle; installing efficient appliances; and making your home more efficient, with initiatives to back them up.

All of these changes involve us. There is a lot that a city can do to improve transit, make it free, build more cycling routes, encourage car-sharing, etc. But they all involve us. If we donít get on board, the train will go nowhere.

On Salt Spring, the Earth Festival Society has embraced that challenge in a way that every neighbourhood, town and city in Canada should learn from.

The average Salt Spring Islander produces 6.2 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year, not counting flights and food. They have established a One Tonne Challenge that includes food and flying, as well as driving and electricity, and they have invited households to calculate their emissions and pledge to reduce them by one tonne.

So far, 331 households have signed up, which is getting close to 10% of the Island (500 households). www.saltspring-onetonnechallenge.org.

The challenge is that every one of us should sign up, and pledge to reduce our emissions. If we are leaders in any way, our responsibility to do so is greater. The website is here: www.climatechange.gc.ca/onetonne

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, Marjorie Vachell, Peter Schofield, Lona McRae, Mimi Otway, Trudy Thorgeirson, Judy Gaylord, Joseph Lacroix, Kathleen Woodley, James Holtz, Martin Wedieman, Wally Du Temple, Marya Nijland, and Brian Pinch.


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

* Apple/pear juice from locally harvested unsprayed fruit for sale at LifeCycles. Freshly pressed, pasteurized using UV light, must be used within a week, or frozen. $5 for 2L, $4.50 bulk. Victoria Fruit Tree Project. Laryl 385-7425 laryl@lifecyclesproject.ca.

* The Georgia Strait Alliance, looking for co-tenant to share office space at #12 Centennial Square. Centrally located, $400/month, 2 private offices, one shared + kitchen. Utilities etc negotiable. 381-8321.

* To Rent: to congenial woman, bright bedroom with use of living room, garden, kitchen. Oak Bay, near UVic & Camosun buses. 592-3753.

* Gala Dinner & Art Auction for Restorative Justice Oak Bay, Uplands Golf Club 6:30pm Oct 16th, $50. Join the Mayor of Oak Bay, bid in live and silent auction on abstracts, landscapes, sculpture, prints ($10- $2,500) by local artists and artisans. Restorative Justice brings victims and offenders together in facilitated conferences, healing harm and changing lives. www.rjob.ca. Call Roger Colwill at 598-0077 for tickets

* For Sale From eco-managed woodlot, 1/2 cord dry seasoned 16" alder firewood. Fir also, 652-2613.

* For Rent. Small house in countryside, 1/2 hour from town. Available till Summer 2005. Power, water, phone, woodheat, quiet. No pets, no kids. $650/month. 652-2613


TREE OF LIFE

This will be a day to remember. Itís a huge musical and environmental art event that needs you to help make it happen. On Saturday Oct 9, 500 people will travel up-island to gather on the site of an ancient forest, to celebrate life and build community.

Once there, they will sing with the Gettingí Higher Choir and create a huge living sculpture of the Tree of Life. The result will express gratitude for our forest ecosystems, and be documented to help the Rainforest Action Network and the Western Canada Wilderness Committee inspire communities struggling to preserve their own endangered forests.

If you want to join this spectacular, once-in-a-lifetime event, register at www.treeoflifecelebration.org , or call Cassbreea Savage at 250-388-9292. And see www.spectralq.com .

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Do you long for a faith community with a green heart?

You'll be welcome at our place

www.victoriaunitarian.ca/eco.php

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FAIR KICK SOCCER

All over the world, kids love soccer. But 80% of the world's stitched soccer balls are made in the Sialkot region of Pakistan, produced largely by children working in appalling and poisonous leather-working conditions. Itís fun for the kids who kick the ball, but not for those who made it.

Now you can help change all that. Fair Kick Soccer, based here in Victoria, is importing certified Fair Trade soccer balls made by a company in Pakistan that has agreed to pay their workers a fair wage, not to employ children under 15, and to make sure their workers can attend school while working part-time.

The balls are top notch FIFA standard, and good for the highest level of competition. Theyíre available in Victoria from Janine Gagnier, Fair Kick Soccer, 250-727-6860 adjuajanine@telus.net .

After covering their costs, Fair Kick donates all of its profits for UNICEFís school kits for children in Iraq, and the rescue of child soldiers in Africa. You can also sell the soccer balls as a fundraiser for your school, team, league, or non-profit society. For photos, see www.web.net/~tdrop/soccer.html

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VALUES BASED BUSINESS

If businesses around the world all adopted fair trade, socially responsible, environmentally sustainable practices, how good would that be?

There are a number of businesses here in Victoria doing just this, including Elite Dry Cleaners in Fairfield, and Small Potatoes Urban Delivery, and now we have the Values Based Business Network, which educates and encourages better business practices, for the wellbeing of all.

Membership is open to any person or enterprise which supports its mission and purpose. Thereís a big event on Thur Oct 28th at St. Anneís Academy, so itís a good chance to see what itís all about. See Diary. Roger Colwill 598-0077.

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MONEY GROWS ON TREES

According to a report commissioned by the US Sierra Club, the US National forests are ten times more valuable if used for recreation and to protect wildlife and water quality than if used for logging, mining, and grazing.

Measured by these new standards, the forests are worth $234 billion and generate 2.9 million sustainable jobs. By contrast, logging, mining, and grazing are worth $23 billion and provide 407,000 jobs. "Leaving trees standing in most cases can contribute far more to local, state, and national economies than logging," said Ernie Niemi, co-author of the report.

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BIKE TO WORK WINNERS

Congratulations to Victoriaís Tenth Bike to Work Week participants this June. There were 5,135 participants (a 37% increase from last year), 828 new cyclists, and 39% of the participants were female (national average is 25%).

The Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management Resources Information Branch RIB Riders came 1st out of 118 large teams, with 47% of the Branch cycling in to work.

UVicís Physical Education Pedalers came first out of 138 medium teams, with 80% participation, and Russ Hay's Bicycle Shop came first of 63 small teams, with 100% participation.

The mini team prize was shared by CFB Esquimalt (NDQAR), Fiber Options, Deep Green Consulting, the Bureau of Pensions Advocates (Legal Eagles) and sowelu (dowelu), all with 100% participation.

The average distance travelled by all cycle commuters was 8.3 km. All in all, the results confirm Victoriaís status as Canadaís cycling capital. If you want to get involved with the cycling community, and join the 7,000 cyclists who use their bikes on a daily basis, check out the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition at www.gvcc.bc.ca or call 480-5155.

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Patricia Lane *
Lawyer/Mediator

Finding common ground for over 20 years.
Mediated agreements are cheaper, faster and much easier on relationships.

250-598-3992

*denotes law corp.

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CALLING ALL ECO-MARINE PEOPLE

Plan ahead! Next March 29th to 31st, in Seattle, thereís a big Puget Sound Georgia Basin Research Conference which will be the premier marine science gathering, and a venue for scientists and decision makers from a wide range of disciplines to share results and information on the ecology of the whole marine ecosystem, using both science and traditional knowledge.

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ORGANIC SCHOOL FOOD

The kids at Lincoln Elementary, in Olympia, Washington State, are trading their chicken nuggets and cheeseburgers for organic lettuce, pita pockets and blueberries, under a new policy passed by the Seattle School District banning junk food in the schools and encouraging organic food in school cafeterias.

The biggest hurdle has been the cost, since the organic food generally costs more, and the schools are struggling to pay for books and teachers. The secret has been to eliminate dessert, allowing Lincoln Elementary to cut its lunch costs by 2 cents per meal, while offering a full organic menu.

The response from parents and students has been great, aided by alarm bells about obesity: The latest US government statistics show that 31% of kids aged 6 to 19 are overweight, and 16% are obese. Junk food vending machines are going, too. Stoneyfield Farm now stocks school vending machines with healthy foods, organic fruit leather, and soy milk.

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VANCOUVERíS BIG BOX BAN

Speaking of progress, Vancouver City Council voted this summer to ban big box stores in Kitsilano, and is studying a city-wide cap on store size. The move blocks an attempt by Home Depot to establish a 72,000 sq ft store covering an entire city block, which was opposed by local residents. The new rules limit store size in Kits to 10,000 sq ft, and 30,000 sq ft for groceries and pharmacies.

In an Op-Ed in the Vancouver Sun, Councillor Anne Roberts wrote: "Ten smaller shops with doors and windows along the block creates a more pedestrian-friendly environment. Ten smaller shops attract neighbourhood residents to walk to shops on a daily or weekly basis. Ten smaller shops are likely to be locally owned, and money spent there is likely to re-circulate throughout the local economy."

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SAANICHíS SHORT STREET

Saanich has approved a very innovative approach to urban development at Short Street, a small L-shaped street of mostly single-family homes next to the Town and Country Shopping Centre, with easy access to transit and the Galloping Goose bike trail.

Redevelopment has been in the cards since 1999, when the Short Street Action Plan recommended a narrow, pedestrian dominated approach.

A development has now been approved for a 5-storey U-shaped building, with commercial space on the ground floor, and 72 residential units above, set in a pedestrian, traffic calmed streetscape. All residents will receive a yearís free region-wide transit pass and free membership in the Victoria Car Share Cooperative, paid for by the developer, who will also buy a vehicle for the Car Share cooperative, with a dedicated parking spot. In return, the developer was allowed to create 32 fewer parking spaces (a 21% reduction).

There will also be secure underground bicycle parking, and outdoor lock-ups. This is first-class, sustainable progress.

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WIND POWER FUTURE?

The Sea Breeze Power Corporation has received an Environmental Assessment Certificate for its proposed 450 MW wind farm at Knob Hill, on the northern tip of Vancouver Island. Thatís enough power for 350,000 people, and would make a wonderful start to a decade of wind energy projects in BC.

So far, however, BC Hydro has taken a very skeptical approach to wind energy. When Sea Breeze applied to have their wind power considered as a replacement for the Duke Point gas-fired power plant, BC Hydro turned them down, arguing that wind energy was not reliable. Wind turbines blow on average for 8 hours a day, but that has not stopped their integration into the grid all over the world, where 39,294 MW of wind turbines are spinning with totally satisfactory results.

The normal agreed "firm power" rating for wind is 20%, meaning that a 450 MW plant has a firm power rating of 90 MW, but BC Hydro assigned them a rating of 0%, effectively arguing that wind power was useless.

This is very frustrating, and is leading Sea Breeze to explore what I consider an exciting new proposal to integrate the Vancouver Island grid into the US grid by an undersea cable to the Olympic Peninsula. This would allow us to export the wind and tidal energy thatís waiting to be gathered, as well as supply Vancouver Islandís needs. Some people argue that we should not be exporting power to America, but global climate change doesnít pay attention to national borders, so we must do whatever it takes to get green energy rolling, and shut down the coal-fired and gas-fired power plants.

The BC Sustainable Energy Association will be working on all these issues over the next year. There is a Victoria Chapter of the Association being formed this month (see Green Diary), so if you want to join, go to www.bcsea.org .

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WONDERFUL WORLD OF WEB

Some noteworthy sites that have passed my way:

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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
ian.baker@beyermortgage.com
www.beyermortgage.com
In some difficult situations a broker/lender fee may apply.

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ACTION OF THE MONTH:
WOLVES

"Welcome to beautiful BC, where wolves are hunted, trapped, poisoned, sterilized." You may have seen The Raincoast Conservation Societyís posters in downtown Victoria.

Why is it that some humans need to go out and kill other creatures? Are they so restless, spiritually, that they have to take another creatureís soul, and wear it as their own? The sports hunters are not hunting for food, but for "pleasure". Real tourists carry cameras, not guns. Let the wolves be! For the guides, itís a living.

In the great wild spaces of northern BC, in the Muskwa-Kechika, twice the size of Vancouver Island, the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection has become the Ministry of Hunter Protection in its bid to boost the numbers of moose and elk, to keep the hunters happy.

The moose and elk populations are not in any danger, but the wolves like to eat them, so they have to be controlled. Not by shooting (weíre making some progress), but by surgical sterilization and fertility lowering drugs. Itís a tough task, because the dominant breeding pair one year may not breed next year. So when sterilization fails, the wildlife managers can resort to shooting. For more information, see www.raincoast.org

Action: Write to Gordon Campbell, and ask him to stop the wolf sterilization program.

The Hon Gordon Campbell, Box 9041, Station Prov Govít, Victoria V8W 9E1 Email: premier@gov.bc.ca

Tel (250) 387-1715 Fax 250-387-0087


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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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